Friday, December 11, 2009

Dinosaur Day

I've been wanting to start a blog for years now but have never known where exactly to start. It seems hard to just pick up without background. Yet as I put off blogging time and time again I realized I just lose more time. So I decided to start today, as it has been an eventful day for us. Well, as eventful as a day at home can be.
In August I gave birth to twin boys, Cort and Reid. Pierce, my three year old, has suddenly gone from being 100% of my attention to only 33% on a good day. Especially since I am nursing the twins. Pierce's life has been turned upside down! He was pulled out of daycare (which he doesn't seem to mind at all) and I feel guilty most days that he doesn't receive the structure that he received there. So I decided it was time to have a special day devoted to Pierce. Full of fun enriching activities (but yet that would be free, as we are on a fairly tight budget since I only work a few hours a week). And so I came up with the idea of having a dinosaur day. Pierce hasn't been very interested in dinosaurs, but it seemed we had lots of materials around the house to make the most of a day fully focused on dinosaurs.
Our preparations started the night before with doing some papier mache on water balloons to be dinosaur eggs. This involved flour, water, and a few drops of peppermint oil as a preservative. Pierce thought it was a little messy.

This morning Pierce woke up to a breakfast of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches shaped like dinosaurs, thanks to a brontosaurus sandwich cutter we had. The dining room table was layered with our fun supplies for the day.

Pierce, Reid, and Cort all wore their dinosaur pajamas for the day. Pierce is in a stage anyhow where he hates to get dressed for the day, so this worked out well for him.

Last night I did some searches on the internet to print off some interactive materials to use today. I found a game where you print off different sized dinosaurs and the child puts them in order from smallest to large and from largest to small. As I'd never done anything like this with Pierce before, I wasn't sure how he'd do. But he jumped right in and knew exactly how to sort them. In fact, he asked to do this over and over again. :-)
After the game we read the book How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight. This book has gorgeous pictures and is simple. Pierce particularly liked the page with the dinosaur that is crying over having to go to bed. He asked to read the book several times throughout the day. We followed the book with a little puppetry of two t-rex puppets that we happened to have around the house.
We then did an activity that I printed off the internet where you match the dinosaur to its shadow. Pierce had a little trouble with this one, which surprised me since he's very good at puzzles. We then worked on his writing skills, which are nonexistent. I've been trying to teach him the letter P for a while now. I found online a site where you can print off dinosaur alphabet pages. It had letters you can trace to learn to write them. I printed off the P page and Pierce did really well and was so proud of all the Ps he drew.

After that it was time for a little down time for mom. So I put on The Land Before Time for Pierce to watch while I ran on the treadmill. We are fortunate enough to have a tv set up in the basement where our treadmill is located, so I can have Pierce with me while I run. We also have a crib set up down there, so I can bring the twins down if they are not napping. It's been hard to get back in shape after having twins, and I'm still working on it. I try to run at least 4 days a week (and am trying to lift weights as well but have been slacking in that department this week). Currently I'm running about 20 miles a week, half of which are on the treadmill.
Pierce and I then worked on making a volcano. This was the classic chemistry experiment we all did as kids. It didn't foam as much as I'd hoped, but maybe that's because I had to use a jelly jar since I didn't have a soda bottle. The instructions came from

Following the volcano experiment we broke for lunch, which consisted of dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, sliced tomato, and pear. We each had a gingerbread man for dessert, not having any dinosaur cookies lying about.
Pierce and I then tried to do a hidden picture of a dinosaur dig, where you find objects hidden within the picture. This one was printed off the internet from Highlights magazine. Their hidden pictures are hard! We never did find all the objects, and this was probably too advanced for Pierce, although he certainly understood the concept of it.
Then it was time to paint our dinosaur eggs. Pierce didn't want to wear his smock, but I made it mandatory if he wanted to paint, so he finally gave in. He loves to paint! After they dried we added fabric paint drizzle.

We read Danny and the Dinosaur, a book I remember from my childhood. Pierce liked the part where the dinosaur got tangled up in the clothesline. Then we did Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs sticker book. Pierce had no problem finding the corresponding stickers for their slots and had a lot of fun with it. He likes Sid.
We plan to make dinosaur pizza for dinner tonight to end the day. In all, he really had a great time. It was a little draining for me although I enjoyed it as well. I think maybe once a month or so I may try to do a special day like this for Pierce so that he gets to remember how important he is! And I apologize for an entirely toddler-devoted post. They won't all be this way.


Anonymous said...

Love this idea!! I'd love it if you could pass along the websites where you found the dino letters! My boys are ALL about dinosaurs these days.


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Here you go, Jessica!

Anonymous said...

I post a comment earlier but it must not have gone through. I enjoyed so much reading about your day with Pierce. I'm sure he enjoyed having 100% of your time today.
You were so creative coming up with fun ideas. I'm excited to read more about the two bears and three cubs


Anonymous said...

What a great day for Pierce. Your dinosaur day was so much fun for him. Those activities were all so cute!
I think the writing will continue to be difficult until Pierce uses a correct pencil grip.The pictures look like he is using a fist grip to write. I will try to find some triangular shaped crayons or big pencils so we can work on this. Much more difficult to correct a bad habit after it is established.

What are you going to do for next month? Do you still have the Five In A Row manual? You could plan a day around a classic children's book.


Anonymous said...

Just reading about this day tired me out and brought back many memories of my time as a young mother. I always believed in "stimme time"--a time when kids were the entire focus of the day. Hard to do with a three year old and two baby twins. Good for you. I am sure Pierce does not feel forgotten. He could not with all the love that surrounds him. Oh, and I never did take care of animals!

Unknown said...

I like this idea, being that my boys are 8 and 10 I may remember this for grandkids!