Sunday, May 30, 2010
Ninna is a paleontologist this week, or so she will tell you. We received a bag of hand-me-downs last week, and one of the items was an unopened "dinosaur egg." It's made of pretend dirt (gray plaster), and it comes with a double-ended pick and a brush. You use the pick to dig for dinosaur bones, and the brush to clean them. There are about 8-10 dinosaur bone pieces inside, and when you've found them all, you assemble the complete skeleton.
Well. This was apparently MADE for my daughter. She has worked very hard and very seriously at this paleontology project for days now. She sits down and intently picks away (making a HUGE plaster dust mess, I might add), looking for dinosaur bones. Because I can never leave well enough alone and have to turn everything into a theme, I added in a book and a song to this activity.
Since day one of the dig, we've been listening to They Might Be Giants' "I am a Paleontologist" many, many times. If you've never heard their kids'/science songs, RUN to YouTube immediately. They are so, so amazing. And each one has a well-made cartoon video. One of the few things that Ninna does watch on a screen is some of their videos every so often. She loves science topics, and the music and videos are really high quality (and entertaining enough for mamas, too, unlike a lot of what is termed "kids' music.")
So while she is picking away, Ninna is tickled pink to be listening to them sing "I love digging in the dirt, with just a pick and brush."
For the book part of this theme, we have The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs. We have a couple of the Magic Schoolbus books, and Ninna loves them (actually, she is obsessed with one of them, but that's another theme in itself.) I don't usually read all the "asides" in these books (if you've seen one, you know what I'm talking about) because a lot of them aren't age-appropriate and frankly, they're kind of annoying to read, but the adventure part is always fun. The first time I read this, I was appalled when I turned the page and saw one dinosaur eating another bloody dinosaur, but Ninna didn't mind at all--though she does say that the book has "a sad part."
I can't express how deeply this has engaged her. If you have a preschooler and you ever see one of those eggs, buy it! Ninna walks around saying things like "when we go to the playgroup, do you think they're going to know I'm a paleontologist?"
I'm happy that while she's deeply engaged in a scientific activity, I can still see a little girl's imagination filtering the experience.