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Are you in a book club? I am lucky enough to be participating in a great one this year: The Virtual Book Club for Kids. This weekly share group is all about book-based learning for the preschool set, and it is open to everyone on Facebook. I hope you will join in. This week’s theme is DINOSAURS, and the book is a gooooooood one!
Mo WIllems is one of the most prolific and most-honored children’s book creators working today. Perhaps you have heard of a little duo called Elephant and Piggie? Maybe you’ve seen his pigeon driving a bus? What about his darling Trixie and her sweet Knuffle Bunny?
One of our favorite Mo WIllems books is Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, this week’s Book Club pick. This fractured fairy tale replaces the three bears with—you guessed it—a trio of dinos. (Goldilocks plays herself.) This book is so silly and fun, and it is one of those rare books that makes me laugh as hard as my kids do.
If you haven’t taken a look at this one or shared it with some kids, then you must run (don’t walk) to the local library. It delivers the laughs with a wink and a nod and a bunch of visual jokes that have a way of creeping up on you through multiple readings. (Look for the poster on the dinosaur family’s wall that proclaims, “We are Natural Gas.”) Even the endpapers are funny.
To celebrate this week’s DINOSAUR theme, I put together three printable math activities that are perfect for preschoolers and kindergartners. All of the activities are meant to be hands-on, so my family used the dinos that come in this great assortment from Oriental Trading.
Teaching math with kids books? Check out these posts.
Oriental Trading was kind enough to provide me with the dinosaur assortment for review. I am so appreciative because I was definitely going to buy them anyway! They worked out great for this activity, and I can think of at-least five other ways to use them just off the top of my head (sorting activities, cupcake toppers, classroom rewards, sensory tub...ok that’s four, but you get the idea). The dinosaurs add an engaging twist to the activities, but you could also use plain old poker chips, pennies, or any other small manipulatives.
The first activity is all about counting objects to 10. Each printable half-sheet has dinosaur eggs for children to count. Kids can place a dinosaur figurine (or any counter) on each egg to give the activity a tactile twist, develop one-to-one correspondence, and encourage counting accuracy. The number symbols and words are included on each sheet if you would like to target number recognition skills or sight words, too.
The second activity is a patterns activity. (Quick aside for our public-school primary grades teachers out there: I miss patterns, too! If you need to justify work with patterning to your administration, please refer them to the Standards for Mathematical Practice and this recent EdWeek article.) There are four repeating patterns on the printable (ABC, AAB, ABB, ABAC). I ended up cutting the patterns into strips so my kids were not confused by so many “eggs” on the page.
Finally, there is a fun, easy, tactile “make ten” addition activity. Having the ten dinosaurs set up in a row on the eggs is a helpful scaffold for kids (and another chance to practice counting objects). To make this activity a bit more challenging, slip it into a sheet protector and encourage kids to write equations with markers like these.
So, there you have it! Happy DINOSAUR week. Don’t forget to get your free printables before you go, and be sure to check out more great learning activities from the other Virtual Book Club for Kids bloggers.