Adrian 39 months Feed

Dinosaur Puzzles Roundup (Dino Unit study)

Once Adrian turned three years old, puzzles have been captivating him, offering countless hours of mindful concentration, while developing his physical, cognitive, and emotional skills. In the process of solving a puzzle, he is also developing fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. He learns to think logically: for example, with larger puzzles he starts with the "corners" and then a "border" before filling in the pieces in the middle. He is also developing problem-solving skills: "Where does this piece fit?" Moreover, puzzles help with shape recognition and assist in enhancing memory. Finally, puzzle-play encourages goal setting and patience—both of which are rewarded when the puzzle is completed!

We are very excited to have come across a new way of puzzle making DIY craft, where a child discovers a new world of artistic possibilities by creating a mosaic art with a prehistoric "Do It Yourself" kit. T-Rex Wooden Mosaic Kid's Wall Art Kit (buy here) comes with 97 different size cylinder-pieces mosaic, and is designed to increase child's hand-eye coordination, awareness of pattern, and logical sequences.

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The puzzle board and pieces are made of wood, finished with non-toxic finishes. This puzzle is designed for children three-years of age or older. Once the sticker is removed, the illustrative pattern is exposed on the board.

DSC_00088Art plays an important part in developing individual creativity by engaging child's imagination and artistic capabilities. Here, a child, one colorful piece at a time, would arrange colorful wooden cylinders on a sticky patterned wooden base, creating a mess-free mosaic of the most famous and fearsome prehistoric dinosaur ever - the T.Rex. Unlike regular puzzles, where pieces do not interlock permanently together, with this craft-puzzle, a child gets one chance to create his/her masterpiece since once the cylinder is placed on the board, it is not meant to be removed since the board is super- sticky. (Just like with regular art, once the paint 🎨 is laid on canvas, there are no "do overs".) 

DSC_0007 copyThis puzzle is perfect to help develop pincher motion, finger strength, dexterity and fine motor skills through precise placement and arrangement of cylinders, some of which are so tiny!
DSC_0007 copyThis puzzle is very engaging, offering limitless artistic possibilities.   
DSC_0007 copyThe inspiration for this puzzle: a vicious T. Rex with movable jaw (buy here).

Once Adrian had completed his design, Julia weaved blue and red strings to complete the frame, and Adrian is eager to hang his "art" on the wall in his room to showcase his mosaic decor. What a fun way to create and be mindful, while incorporating our Dinosaurs friends! FYI these puzzles come with other dinosaur patterns (such as Triceratops, Apatosaurus, etc), as well as non-dinosaur ones such as 🦀 Crabby, Duck, and a 🐔 Rooster.

For our Dino unit study, Adrian also enjoyed a 48-piece Dinosaurs 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle (buy here).  

Each 12-piece puzzle features bright and colorful artwork of a different dinosaur: Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus, T-Rex, and Triceratops. The set comes in one wooden storage box, and is perfect for children three and older. 

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The pieces of each of four puzzles are coded with four different shapes on the back for easy sorting, and are stored in a four-compartment wooden box with a sliding lid that doubles as a convenient puzzle board. 

Adrian also assembled another puzzle: the North America Water Hole Puzzle (buy here), which was challenging. 20 puzzle-pieces are small and very similar looking, but the effort was worth the challenge once Adrian could contemplate the completed waterholes set that comes with a surprise: four mini dinosaurs!

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This Waterholes set illustrates dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles that lived on or in the water. Spinosaurus is believed to have mainly stayed near water. Ichthyosaurus, which was just two meters long, could be found under water. And Mosasaurus, a much bigger marine reptile, resembling a crocodile with dolphin fins and measuring up to 18 meters long, lived in the water.

DSC_0192Quetzalcoatlus, with its long beak to peck for fish in shallow water, could be found above the water surface.  

Lastly, Adrian assembled a 35-Piece Dinosaur Playground Puzzle (buy here), with extra durable puzzle pieces and a bright and colorful artwork.  

DSC_0006Adrian has been really enjoying puzzles since despite independent play, puzzles are fun, offering a creative way to be mindful, peaceful, and in the moment. Children and adults need quiet time, and what is a better way to spend such "solitude" time than solving a puzzle, while developing cognitive and fine motor skills, association and hand-eye coordination, task completion, problem-solving and so much more.

For more puzzles, read here National Puzzle Day post.

Read more about our Dino Unit Study here under Dinosaur Box. 


Dinosaur Matching Memory Game (Dino Unit Study)

Today, we are playing Dinosaur Matching Memory game that I created. We are using one-to-one correspondence with two sets of sorting cards. Match-Up Memory game is a classic (it can be made for any unit study), and it is simple and fun to play. The game can even be played alone, or enjoyed among siblings and friends! (Parents can join-in too! I had so much fun playing it with Adrian while Julia was at school.) 

Besides improving concentration and training visual memory, Matching Memory Game increases short-term memory and attention to details. The game also improves the ability to find similarities and differences in objects and helps to classify objects that are grouped by similar traits. Lastly, matching memory game is a language material, so a child playing it will inevitably be building and improving his/her vocabulary.

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Our Dino friendsSpinosaurus (buy similar here), Tyrannosaurus-Rex (buy here), Styracosaurus (buy here), Triceratops (buy here), Apatosaurus (buy here). Also, please visit my aStore💖 (New!) click on the left side-bar, where under the category "Materials we are💗Loving Now" I hand-picked best value sets of dinosaurs that will save you some💲  money. I would also love to hear your feedback as to the layout :)
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Adrian has been showing more and more affection for Apatosaurus (buy here). Adrian likes that Apatosaurus resembles a giraffe (his favorite animal), and that it was a plant-eating (herbivore) dinosaur, who spent most of its time grazing. (Apatosaurus lived in the Jurassic Period around 150 million years ago.) Despite its small head and even smaller brain, Apatosaurus was one of the largest land animals to have ever walked on🌏 Earth! To counter-balance its huge body and long neck, Apatosaurus had a long whip-like tail. Some Apatosaurus might have lived to be a 💯 hundred years old!

Did you know? The Apatosaurus is also known as the Brontosaurus. Confusion was caused when bones of the giant dinosaur were first discovered in 1877 by Othniel Charles Marsh. After naming the new dinosaur Apatosaurus (meaning deceptive lizard), Marsh later found a larger set of bones and incorrectly thought they were a new species which he then named Brontosaurus (meaning thunder lizard). However, the second set of bones were just the adult version of the Apatosaurus already discovered.

With a length of 25 meters and hip height of more than three meters, this dinosaur weighed almost 40 tons. How heavy is it?40 🐻, 80 🚘 or 6 large 🐘!!! Fully grown brown bears and polar bears weigh approximately 1 ton, so that is 40 polar bears and 80 cars (most cars weigh approximately 1/2 ton). And a fully grown elephant can weigh up to 7 tons, so Apatosaurus weighed about as much as 6 large elephants!   
DSC_0018Spinosaurus just like T.Rex has a movable lower jaw! (Buy similar here.)
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I created this Dino Memory Game with a help of an online printing company. Cards are made of a high quality durable cardstock, and can either be made in glossy or matte finish. (I prefer matte finish to conceal the fingerprints.) And the best part is that the game arrives ready to use - no need for printing, cutting, or laminating! If you would like to purchase this Dino matching game, please email 📧 Me 💖.

Adrian had so much fun with this memory game! Also, if played with siblings or friends, the game teaches patience and how to wait for your turn, improving social skills and building on respectful communal interaction. 

p.s. Read interesting facts about these dinosaurs in a Dinosaur Box post here.


What's on our Dinosaur 📚Bookshelf (books we ❤️love 📖 reading for our Dino Unit Study)

We love ❤️ to 📖 read, but we are also very selective with which books we end up buying. Julia and Adrian love going to libraries, and we end up with about ten books a week. We have been reading many dinosaur books, and the list below summarizes the books which are worth buying. 

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We are using this two-sided playmat, which is reversible, offering countless hours of pretend play.

The National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs (buy here) is our absolute favorite! We love National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books Series, which is amazing! (We have every singe book in a series.)

DSC_0116Full two-page illustrations are so exciting to a child! Triceratops (buy here).

DSC_0095The size comparison: dinosaur to a person is easily comprehensible to a child.

DSC_0095Apatosaurus (buy here).

"The prehistoric world comes alive with dinosaurs small, big, giant, and gigantic, with stunning illustrations by Franco Tempesta—who illustrated National Geographic Kids The Ultimate Dinopedia. Bursting with fun facts and age appropriate information, each spread features a different dinosaur, along with simple text in big type that is perfect for little kids." 

DSC_0095 Brachiosaurus - Adrian's favorite! (Buy here.)
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DSC_0095Spinosaurus  (buy similar here) - also has a movable lower jaw - just like T.Rex!

DSC_0116Tyrannosaurus-Rex (buy here) even hasmovable lower jaw! 

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DSC_0116Styracosaurus (buy here). 

The National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs (buy here) is the winner🏅since it is very interactive, engaging a child with interesting questions❓such as "What do you do if you can't reach something you want?" while referring to a Plateosaurus (Leaf Chomper). Each page-spread has beautiful full-page illustrations and captivating fun fact in a bubble 💬 such as "The biggest dinosaurs had small brains about the size of two chicken 🐣🐣 eggs," or "T. Rex's teeth were the size of 🍌bananas." At the end of the book, there is a 🌏 world dinosaur 🗺 map showing where fossils of these dinosaurs were found. Lastly, "parent tips" ℹ️ section offers tips for carrying young readers' experience beyond the page, such as: size up dinosaurs, create a time-line, observe dinosaurs (e.g. birds by some definitions are dinosaurs.)

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These are the few other books 📚 we have enjoyed:

In the middle: My Big Dinosaur Book (buy here) is a big board book ideal for babies and toddlers, since it has a lot of bright illustrations with just the names of the dinosaurs, thus helping little ones build their vocabulary without overwhelming them with additional information. 

On the right: Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur? Cat in the Hat's Learning Library (buy here) is a fun rhyming book, enjoyed equally by Adrian (3 years) and Julia (7 years-old). Julia can read it independently, so it is a nice beginner-book for anyone enjoying Cat in the Hat as their guide while exploring the prehistoric world of dinosaurs.

"The Cat in the Hat makes a surprise appearance at Dick and Sally's house riding atop a brachiosaurus! Soon, he's off, along with Dick and Sally, millions of years back in time to see how fossils were created. Then it's on to a tour through the Cat's own Super Dino Museum-a fabulous place where the correct pronunciation of a dinosaur's name wins you a peek at the real living thing!" 

On the top: Leap and the Lost Dinosaur interactive LeapFrog Tag Book (buy here). The book teaches about dinosaur facts, science skills and fossils, and comes with 15 interactive dinosaur playing cards that teach about dinosaur diets and defenses. "Explore the prehistoric world and help Leap and Professor Quigley reunite an adorable dinosaur with her family in this  LeapReader book." (Please note that the book works only with Tag Reading System which is sold separately.) 

Which dinosaur books do you enjoy reading?

p.s Read interesting facts about dinosaurs in a Dinosaur Box post here.


Exploring Dinosaurs 🐾 Foot-prints & Fossils (Dino Unit Study)

We are continuing our Dinosaur Unit study. Today, we are learning about dinosaur fossils and foot-prints hands-on. My children love modeling dough, especially three pounds of it! (We are using this dough.) Adrian also likes to engage his animal figurines in play, so today, he is a paleontologist, exploring ancients fossils (even making some) and tracking dinosaurs foot-prints. 

DSC_0033Spinosaurus (buy similar here). 

This dangerous carnivore weighed several tons and could be up to 17 meters long (that is the size of the sperm whale or almost as long as two school buses!) The Spinosaurus had many sharp straight teeth in its crocodile-like mouth. He was a vicious predator, and his meals usually consisted of other dinosaurs or fish. Scientists think that the smartly designed sail on his back fulfilled several functions: it possibly helped the cold-blooded dinosaurs to vital temperature regulation by collecting or distributing heat; it also might have served to impress potential mating partners.

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The skeleton of Spinosaurus was easy to identify by its sailed-back bone. (We are using these assorted dinosaur fossil skeletons.)

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We also discussed how fossils are "made" and preserved. As sediment covers the remains of an animal, the parts of the animals that did not rot (likes bones and teeth) were encased in the newly-formed sediment, turning into fossils over time. However, as the bone slowly decayed, water infused with minerals seeped into the bone and replaced the chemicals in the bone with rock-like minerals. This process of fossilization results in a heavy, rock-like copy of the original object - a fossil, which has the same shape as the original object, but is chemically more like a rock!

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Adrian is using these ancient fossils which include ten sculpted miniatures, including a Dino Footprint, Giant Crab, Ammonite, Raptor Claw, Fossilized Frog, Trilobite, T-Rex Tooth, Fossilized Fish, Dino Skin, and Sea Scorpion.

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Triceratops (buy here) lived in the late Cretaceous Period (around 65 million years ago), and although appearing threatening, Triceratops was harmless as it fed on plants and trees. The name ‘Triceratops’ comes from the Greek language, with ‘tri’ meaning three and ‘keratops’ meaning horned face. It needed its three horns to protect itself from T.Rex, who lived during the same time period. As a herbivore, the front part of its jaw was shaped like a parrot's beak which it used to tear apart the plants it ate. The three horns were made of keratin, the same protein fingernails and hair are made of. The horns over its eyes were nearly a meter long. Because its head weighed as much as a small car and made up almost one-third of its body, it also had a very heavy tail to keep its ten-meter long body in balance. Its legs were very strong, like those of a modern elephant.

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Triceratops, with its three horns and bony frill around the back of its head, was also easy for Adrian to match to its "fossilized" skeleton.

DSC_0033Brachiosaurus - Adrian's favorite! (Buy here.)

The Brachiosaurus was a herbivore (plant eater) and lived in North America. With chisel-like teeth and a very sharp sense of smell, this plant-eater always found enough to eat. Unlike most other dinosaurs, the Brachiosaurus' front legs were longer than its hind legs, which made it easier for this herbivore to reach its food. As 12-17-meter-high sauropods that specialized in grazing on the treetops, Brachiosaurus could effortlessly harvest cones and fresh leaves no other dinosaur can reach. This giant was feeding almost constantly to sustain its enormous bulk. Standing nearly 40-50 ft. tall/ over 6 metres, as tall as a three-to-four story building, measuring 90 ft. long/23-27 metres, as long as two buses, and weighing 70-90 tons, he was enormous sauropods, thus making Brachiosaurus the largest land animal that has ever existed, at least during their time. For a while, it was considered the biggest prehistoric animal on Earth, but this title belongs to its cousins the Titanosaurs and possibly the Diplodocoids. However, Brachiosaurus was the largest animal that ever walked North America. There is even an asteroid that was named after him.

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This Tyrannosaurus-Rex is so detailed - he even hasmovable lower jaw! (Buy here.)

Tyrannosaurus’ comes from the Greek words meaning ‘tyrant lizard’, while the word ‘rex’ means ‘king’ in Latin. T-Rex lived in an area of the Earth that now makes up western North America in the late Cretaceous Period, around 66 million years ago. The 13 meter long Tyrannosaurus Rex was a two-legged predatory dinosaur. Although the T-Rex looked quite threatening, it could hardly use its front legs armed with just two claws since they did not even reach his mouth. It had more than 50 teeth measuring more than 15 cm in length, which it used not for chewing but rather for tearing since it swallowed its food in large chunks. To improve depth-perception when searching for food, the eyes of the T-Rex were oriented toward the front such that the fields of vision of both eyes overlapped.


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T-Rex walked on two legs, balancing its huge head with a long and heavy tail that sometimes contained over 40 vertebrae. He had small arms that were extremely powerful and featured two clawed fingers, however, the size would have made it hard to grip prey, suggesting that T.Rex may have been a scavenger. On the other hand, evidence in favor of it being a predator includes its forward pointing eyes, which give better depth perception and make it easier to hunt. So, did Tyrannosaurus Rex use its stunted arms to push itself off the ground after restful naps, or to clasp struggling prey close to its chest? Or is it possible that this predator's arms were completely useless, and would have disappeared entirely (as happened with snakes) after another few million years of evolution? No one has a clue. However, Adrian could match its skeleton due to this obvious attribution. 

To learn more about our Dinosaur friends, read a post about our Dinosaur Box here.

p.s. Read here our Identifying Animal Tracks in "snow" ❄️ dough post (similar activity, but with forest animals).


Valentine's 💗 Inspired Learning Space, What is on our shelves, Activities roundup

Happy Valentine's💝 Day. I hope you had a lovely celebration. Today, I will show you a sneak peek into our Learning Space (our classroom), as well as a summary of our Valentine's inspired activities. 

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When we moved into our new house (in September of 2016), and I walked into this room and saw these tall double windows and a cathedral ceiling, I knew it will be our learning space. Montessori classrooms are known for their light, airy and child-tailored environment, and I hoped to resemble it in our home-setting. (Adrian is sitting at a Safari table, on this chair. View Table/Chair Height Guide in this post.)
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We read this Valentine's book, which is perfect for a three-year old. The story of Saint Valentine is very sad, and this "Rookie" series book  has just enough information with big colorful illustrations on each page-spread.

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On this shelf we have:

  • Pipe-cleaner beading activity (read a post here, also see below),
  • Odd and Even activity (read a post here );
  • Polar bear unit study (in preparation for International Polar Bear day on February 27);
  • Penguin tray (read our Polar Regions Unit Study here).

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Below is a summary of our Valentine's inspired activities with links to their respective posts. I also organized the activities by areas of Montessori curriculum.  

PRACTICAL LIFE

Hearts from BeadsThreading (red and white) beads on pipe cleaners, making hearts. (Read a post here.) 


MATH

DSC_0024Read a post here about Valentine's inspired - Hearts 💯 Hundred Board.

 

DSC_0097 Read here a post on Odd and Even, and also see two videos where Adrian explains the concept he learned.

 

DSC_0046 Read here Valentine's inspired - Number Bingo for Early Math (Numbers 1-50)


SENSORIAL

DSC_0008Read a post about our Valentine's inspired Love ❤️️ Sensory Bin here.


ART/CRAFT

DSC_0041See a video of Adrian making a Threaded Heart Craft here. 

DSC_0007Read here Valentine's 💝 inspired - Blue Truck 🚙 Foot -Print Art Project (Sending Loads of Love 💗❤️️💕)

DSC_0003-2Julia and Adrian's feet Art Projects, along with 36 Classroom Valentine's Day Gifts (see below).

DSC_0066Read here a post about Classroom Valentine's Day Gift Ideas.

 I hope you liked our Valentine's inspired unit. I would love to hear which activity was your favorite!

p.s. Below are more posts about our Learning space:

  • Read here Evolution of our Learning Space post;
  • Read here Children's Space - Kitchen nook post (this post has Table/Chair Height Guide);
  • Read here a post about Adrian's Infant Space;
  • Read here about Our Christmas inspired learning space.