We celebrated Ansel and Danielle’s birthdays last Saturday.  While Ansel was playing with his new train we started talking about Thomas the Tank Engine and how so many of the things children have always liked are now connected to a specific brand — trains have always been something children are fascinated with and now it is just not “a” train but “Thomas”.   When my sons were little it was just the “toy” not a branded toy.  Tools were tools with a construction worker not Bob the Builder, trains were trains, and dinosaurs were dinosaurs until Land Before Time.  When the movie came out Pizza Hut started giving away the dinosaur puppets that went with the movie.  It was no longer a Triceratops but it was Cera and her friends Littlefoot, Spike, Ducky and Petrie.  And of course, a Tyrannosaurus named Sharp Tooth.  I had decided I was not going to fall for this commercialization of children’s interests in dinosaurs.  Ha!  Never say never.  I rationalized that we all liked pizza and if they got a toy from our Friday night pizza dinner then so be it …but it was only because we were already going to have pizza — right?!?  It was not because the boys were begging to go and get another dinosaur puppet for their collection.  Soon they had collected all of the dinosaur puppets except Sharp Tooth.  And you cannot have a proper dinosaur collection without a Sharp Tooth!  So we go to Pizza Hut only to discover they are out of that puppet.  I start to call around to find a Pizza Hut that still has a Sharp Tooth — I cannot believe I am doing this, I say.  Well, two little boys standing next to me in the kitchen as I make the phone calls have convinced me it is something I need to do.  I finally find two puppets and, yes, the manager will hold them for me if I make the order over the phone….huge smiles and laughter as we climb in the car and drive to ….. Mercer Island!!  We had a great pizza dinner. with a favorite relative who lived nearby and the boys had giant smiles on their faces as they played with the complete set of dinosaurs in the backseat as we drove back home.We still have the dinosaur puppets and Ansel will be playing with them, as well as Zoe.  They have never seen the movie and have no idea what their YaYa and PaPa had to do to complete their Dada’s collection.  Fun, and funny, memory.

This week we will be learning about dinosaurs, bones and volcanoes. The children will be building a volcano and adding dinosaurs to the volcano before it ‘blows up’. We will use descriptive words while we discuss big and little,
loud and quiet, in and out. The kids will be using tools (technology) as they add the dino-bone powder to the volcano as you make your volcanoes at home during class.  You can also dig for ‘bones’ in your sensory bin and examine fossil prints in your playdough. Children love being paleontologists and learning about dinosaurs.

We have been talking about things that match, size and colors.  This week you  can talk to your child about size and comparisons. You can ask questions that compare things the child is familiar with: big as an elephant, small as a kitten. Talk about the difference of loud and quiet. When is a cat loud? What is loud in the house – the vacuum? the hair blower? the blender? Give them an opportunity to make loud sounds and quiet sounds with a tool that can do both. A tooth brush can make both loud and quiet sound. The soft brush side of a toothbrush will make one sound while the plastic handle side makes another
sound. What can you use a toothbrush for? At preschool we would have been using toothbrushes to dust off the sand from the bones in the sensory table.  This is also the month that we talk about brushing our teeth and how important that is.  You can talk about how they use it as a tool to brush food off their teeth An easy way to show them how a toothbrush works is to brush ‘dirt’ off of an item or toy.
Dinosaur Week will be filled with STEM activities: Science: study of dinosaurs/volcanoes, Technology: paleontologist tools, Engineering: building
the volcano, Math: adding/counting/comparing/categorizing. All of this while we play with dinosaurs!  I love Dinosaur Week!