Summer reading is done and Dinosaurology kicks off a series of -ology programs that I will be running for the next few months. I chose dinosaurs to begin with because it is a popular topic, I have a lot of books to display, and it is something I am interested in myself and I think sometimes that extra enthusiasm about a program really makes a big difference.
Our first activity was a dinosaur scavenger hunt. Just an hour or so before the program I hid several 8.5 x 11 sized dinosaurs throughout the library. Each one had the dinosaur name and a secret letter. The kids got a checklist with all the dinosaur names to find and the secret letters spelled out a code.
When the kids returned from the scavanger hunt and turned in their paper with the secret code they got to choose a small capsule and a dixie cup of water to “hatch” a surprise dinosaur.
When all of our dinosaurs had hatched we moved on to some fossil education. I had all of the kids come to the front and center of the room where I talked very briefly about fossils and passed around some fossils for them to touch. A coworker brought in a mammoth tooth, an egg, and some coprolite. Not surprisingly coprolite was probably the favorite and somehow it was a thing that every kid had to smell it to make sure it didn’t smell like poop.
And finally the most fun part of the program is the actual dinosaur excavation! To prepare excavation kits I had buried plastic dinosaur toys and shells in a mixture of plaster of paris and sand. It dries hard, but not as hard as store-bought kits so they are a bit easier for the kids to do. Each kid got a toothpick and a paintbrush to help dig out their dinosaur.
Activity 1: Dinosaur Scavenger Hunt
Activity 2: Dinosaur Capsules
Activity 3: Fossil Education
Activity 4: Fossil Excavation