We are very happy to guest post here on Rainy Day Mum with one of our few posts outside of our blog. Glittering Muffins is a Canadian blog that brings you recipes, crafts, activities and more, with our son Nico (a true dinosaur enthusiast and expert) as focal point. Click here for more!
The book we have based our activity on is “How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?” by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. The question is asked in the first half of the book, where the authors illustrate pretty much any kind of bad behavior around the dinner table, just to show that the dinosaurs actually behave really well 🙂 It is really cute and has really nice illustrations (and a really nice little details is that they put the name of each dinosaur into the drawing) and since Nico is into dinosaurs a lot (and that is an understatement), he loved the book from the get go.
So since he is into dinosaurs so much, we rented a few books at the library and the other ones did not really inspire any activities, but this one was interesting since Nico struggles to try new things or to behave while we are eating, so I thought it was a good book for that and what came to me was to do a dino picnic to see, if his dinosaurs would behave while eating.
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So for the picnic I had Nico tell me what would be on the menu and I created a dotted letter menu on Picmonkey, so he could trace it in different colors (writing practice). You can get our version here.
And for the placemats I cut down an 8×11 inch sheet of cardstock into six pieces and at first I thought he wanted to stamp some animals on it, but after doing one he thought it was too long, so we switched to paint dab markers. He did the rest of the placemats without problems.
It felt a little incomplete, so I suggested we’d make a banner (I had to explain what that was), using a drawing paper roll. I quickly wrote “dino picnic” with a pencil on it (nothing fancy, just uppercase letters) and he traced them with his paint dab markers, repeating a three color pattern (tracing letters and color patterns). At first he dotted them, then he just slid along the line. To decorate the rest of the banner we used dinosaur cookie cutters, which we dabbed in acrylic craft paint in paper plates, in four colors he picked out.
While the banner was drying, he traced out the menu, which we had printed on cardstock to make sure it would hold itself better. We made the food using colored construction paper! He made the peas with green paper and a hole punch, I cut grapes, fish sticks, carrots, burger patties and water out of the same paper during that time. To make it go faster, I folded the paper strips in half, then half and half again until I had it in the size I needed them to make what I was making. I made a quick tray, using one sheet of construction paper and scotch tape by folding two long and two short borders. On the side of the long border, where the fold was, I cut down to use the little tab it left from the short side to tape it together and create the higher border.
While I finished that up, Nico set out his picnic in his room, since it was pouring rain outside (don’t you love weather’s timing sometimes?). He put up the placemats and plates on top and lined up his dinosaurs. I brought the food tray over and simply attached the banner to his toy storage drawers with scotch tape.
He got the menu, going from dinosaur to dinosaur, showing the menu and asking them what they wanted to eat from the menu and apparently it was my job to give the correct answers for the dinosaurs (good thing I know them pretty good!).
Nico really enjoyed the whole picnic, since it combined two of his favorites, dinosaurs and picnics and I really enjoyed that I managed to put some educational value into the activity without him even noticing! Well, he kind of did, because when he started to trace the menu, he said that it was almost like school. I told him that it kind of was, but at the same time wasn’t, because he was making something fun.
If you would like to explore some more dinosaur-related activities, here are some we’ve done before:
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