Inspired by one of our new favorite dinosaur books, Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones, we created a big volcano with one of Everett's favorite friends, Jessup. The boys helped me mix up the salt dough in a big bowl on the floor then we brought it up to the table and mounded it up over a small soda bottle to form our volcano.
I pulled out our small plastic dinosaurs and animals for the boys to squish into the newly formed island before exploding hot pink lava out of it's volcanic top.
It's certainly not an original idea (although Everett and I hadn't done it before) but there's a reason this activity is done over and over again. There is so much value in the experience. The boys learned a little bit of chemistry through the dough mixing and lava making. They experienced textural changes through out the whole process- the powdery flour turned to sticky dough, the lumpy mounds of "land" turned squishy and pock-marked by dinosaur feet and "lava." And for Everett, the connections that create reading comprehension from story book to hands-on activity and back to story book when we re-read Skippyjon at quiet time.
Most of all, it was so much fun! Our lava really shot out of the top a few times and the boys had a great time trampling the volcano island with the animals and dinosaurs. I couldn't help but hear the tiny chihuahuas of Skippyjon Jones singing,
Itchee Gitchee Gumba!Dinos do the rumbaWith jumbo jawsAnd giant claws,WIth horns and beaks,And scaly peaks.Itchee Gitchee Gumba!Chimichangos do the rumbaWith great big heartsAnd tiny parts,With knobby kneesAnd lots of fleas.Itchee Gitchee Gumba!
*** Other great dino books that we own or have read....
Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! (Boynton on Board)
Dinos To Go : 7 Nifty Dinosaurs in 1 Swell Book
For older toddlers and above:
Dinosaur vs. Bedtime (Board Book)
Oh, Say Can You Say Di-no-saur? (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
Dinosaurs Love Underpants
When Dinosaurs Came with Everything (Junior Library Guild Selection)
If the Dinosaurs Came Back (Hbj Big Books)
National Geographic Readers: Dinosaurs
Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings