Welcome to day 10 of DIY Summer Camp at home. Our theme this second week of DIY Summer Camp is all about reptiles, including slithering snakes, terrific turtles, dangerous dinosaurs, amazing alligators and lively lizards. This makes for some fun activities that you can do right in your own backyard. Or, even better, you can send the kids out to do, while you relax.
Dangerous Dinosaur Dancing?
Dinosaurs were giant reptiles that lived a long time ago. Since there are no dinosaurs living now (that we know of, anyway, LOL), we can’t go to the zoo to look at them. But if you ever wanted to use a field trip in your DIY Summer Camp, a trip to a natural history museum to view dinosaur skeletons might be the best option!
If field trips aren’t in your schedule, try these activities.
Activity: Dinosaur Track or Finger Painting
For this activity, you’ll need:
- a variety of finger paint, in different colors
- (optional) mini dinosaur figurines (available at any dollar store)
- (optional) tooth picks
- construction paper (thicker paper suits fingerpainting better!)
- wet wipes for clean up
What you do:
Set out paper plates or a palette of paint in a variety of colors. Use dinosaur figurines to make dino “tracks” walking across your paper. If you don’t have the figurines, use finger tips that “walk” across the page to do the same thing. Then use the toothpicks to turn the dots into different kinds of tracks, by creating “toes” or “claws” on each print.
Activity: The Floor is Lava Game
What you need:
- construction paper
- a spinner with different colors (Tip: make your own!)
What you do:
This game is a fun twist on the game of Twister! Scatter your construction paper around the floor (or outside!). Then spin the spinner. Everyone has to step on that color of paper, without touching the floor, because… The Floor is Lava!!
Snack: Dino bones
What you need:
- mini marshmallows
- mini pretzel sticks
- white chocolate
What you do:
Stick mini marshmallows on the ends of the pretzel sticks. Line a cookie sheet or tray with wax paper. Melt white chocolate in the microwave (1 cup of pieces + 30 seconds, and stir. Your time may vary!). Dip each marshmallow/pretzel stick combo in the white chocolate until coated. Place on the wax paper. Chill until set. Enjoy your “bones”!
Activity: Measuring the Dinosaurs
For this activity, you’ll need an empty street, masking or painter’s tape, some looooonnng rope and a measuring tape.
First, measure each child and yourself. Mark out those measurements on the sidewalk or side of the road.
Now measure out some of your favorite dinosaur lengths to compare. Here are some suggested lengths to get you started:
Activity: Creating Salt-Dough Fossils
To do this activity, first you need salt dough. You can use whatever recipe you like, but here’s an easy one to make:
2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup warm water in a bowl and mix. If you use a whole wheat flour, you’ll get a darker dough, which might make your fossils look better.
Now you’ll need something to make your fossil impressions. You can use the mini dinosaurs you used for the finger painting craft earlier. Or you can use tooth picks, forks, marker lids, shells, and whatever else you want to design your own skeleton fossils.
Try making leaf impressions for leaf fossils. Or use a textured cloth for “skin” fossils. Make dino-track fossils. And if you really are stuck, make “corprolite” which is another name for fossilized poop!
Dinosaur facts for you to share
Dinosaurs are fascinating for kids. So beware — today’s Summer Camp might spark a long term obsession with dinosaurs for your kids. Get them started with these facts to share:
Species & Location
Dinosaur skeletons and fossils have been found on every single continent in the world. To date, over 25 000 fossils have been found, since the 1820s, representing over 700 species. Some dinosaur species are based on the evidence of just a single tooth, but scientists have discovered complete skeletons as well.
Dinosaurs ranged from herbivores to carnivores to omnivores. Most dinosaurs were herbivores, eating plants like elephants, giraffes and cows. The largest ones, according to scientists, would have had to eat 30 kilograms of plant material every single day! That’s a lot of leaves!
Carnivores hunted and ate other animals – dinosaurs, mammals, whatever they could catch. They probably were also scavengers, eating the meat of animals that were killed by other carnivores or that died in other ways.
And some dinosaurs were omnivores, eating insects, eggs, plants, seeds, twigs, meat, and whatever else looked yummy to them.
One of the most interesting fossils we find are those of dinosaur eggs. All dinosaurs laid eggs, like most reptiles. Dinosaur eggs ranged in size from tiny (just 3 cm long!) to huge foot-ball sized eggs.
Finding fossilized eggs is extremely rare, so we don’t know a lot about them. Generally, though, herbivore eggs were round, almost ball-like. And carnivorous dinosaur eggs were elongated. Scientists aren’t sure why.
Given that things like hair, fur, feathers, scales and skin generally don’t get fossilized, we aren’t sure exactly what dinosaurs looked like. There is some evidence to suggest that many dinosaurs had rough skin, like elephants, and some had feathers.
Most dinosaurs had tails, as tails helped them stand and move. And many had spikes, horns or spines, possibly as defense, but more likely as decoration or ornamentation, for use in mating.
End of the day: read aloud time.
There’s nothing that settles kids down like storytime at the end of the day. So after all the dinosaurs and fun today, grab a classic read-aloud and read a chapter every night this week.
Try one of these:
- The missing ‘gator of Gumbo Limbo
- What the Tortoise Told Alice
- Willard Price: Python Adventure *Note: suspenseful!
Come back tomorrow for another day full of reptile-filled adventures. And don’t forget to subscribe so you get every day of the DIY Summer Camp at Home right in your inbox.
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