Little Hands Learning is a children’s activity box subscription service that supports your child’s learning and development through the magic of books. September’s dinosaur-themed box contained the 32-page book, ‘Curious Kids: Age of the Dinosaurs’ by Christine Engel. This book was different from anything we had received in our Little Hands Learning box so far. I can’t fully describe the look on Penny’s face and the ear-splitting screech that followed as soon as she opened it. ‘Age of the Dinosaurs’ is a pop-up book, full of vibrant illustrations that will immediately capture your child’s attention and interest. Our narrator is Terry, a Pterosaur, who tells us all about six different dinosaurs that roamed the earth during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. The book is incredibly informative and all the facts are presented in bite-size chunks making it more practical for children to digest. Plus, the facts are actually fun and interesting so it’s a wonderful read for both children and adults.
September’s box included the following materials: detailed activity cards with easy-to-follow instructions, tips, keywords and interesting talking points; grass seeds, small plastic dinosaur, potting soil, dinosaur world silhouette, lolly stick, PVA glue, measuring tape, dry salt dough ingredients and green thyme playdough
Activity 1- How Big?!
On the surface, this is a simple activity but it’s actually one that can spark endless opportunities for learning that can be adapted to suit a range of ages and stages of development. There are four activities suggested with the pack: making comparisons (using the facts within our book to compare the length of household objects to the measurements of the dinosaurs), ordering (use the objects found in the ‘comparisons’ activity and arrange them from smallest to biggest), measuring (use your tape measure to measure your own teeth/head/foot and compare these to the measurements of each dinosaur), predicting and measuring (look for objects that match the measurements given in the book, predict and use the tape to confirm how accurate you were). These activities all intertwine and overlap. This simple resource can unlock hours of learning, exploration, and conversations as well as developing children’s imagination, problem-solving, and motor skills.
Activity 2 – Jurassic Park
This was Penny’s favourite activity. She created her own tiny Jurassic Park and has watched it grow for the past few weeks. We found an old jar, collected stones, covered them with the soil provided, scattered our grass seeds, and used our silhouette to recreate the landscape shown in the book. Penny loved creating a pocket-world for her dinosaur. I love how this activity encouraged her to go outside and scavenge for natural resources and it warms my heart to see her checking on her tiny dinosaur daily and giving the grass a ‘haircut’. As her tiny Jurrasic Park is contained in a jar she can clearly see how the layers are formed, how stones help the water to drain and how the grass seeds develop day by day. Minimal adult interference was required and because of this Penny really took ownership of this activity and is truly proud of her creation.
Activity 3 – Fossils
This activity required Penny to mix the dry salt dough ingredients together to form her dough and then use different natural resources (leaves, twigs, shells & flowers) to make imprints. She also used the dinosaur’s feet and tail to create shapes and patterns. We then baked them and created our own fossils. Penny didn’t know what a fossil was, so we took the time to have a wee chat whilst on our walk to find interesting shapes and textures to use.
Activity 4 – Land of the Dinosaurs
Our final activity gave Penny the opportunity to build and explore her very own small world. She kneaded, rolled, and flattened the sensory playdough over and over before creating her world. It was scented with thyme and the texture was soft and bouncy. It provided a nice, calming moment for her. I think she found this very soothing.