Welcome to Dinovember and some dragon fun activities—after all dragons are like dinosaurs and we’ll start with some children’s dragon books and stories. Since we’ve done some dinosaur activities before we thought we’d try something a little bit different. Dragons.
Dragons can be pretty scary, although Mike the Knight’s dragon Sparkie, is quite friendly. Toothless isn’t terribly scary either. We don’t often talk about dragons, but Little Sister knew they breathed fire and roared. A great way to learn about something new is with books so we found some at our local library.
Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el and Tim Bowers is a very funny story of a dragon with a special birthday. This is the day the dragon will breathe fire just like all the other dragons. Or will he? Somehow, what comes out is quite unexpected, like whipped cream, teddy bears, and bandaids. This is a surprise to the dragon’s family and, feeling like a disappointment, the dragon runs away. With a friend, he tries a variety of solutions, like research, and eating hot foods and spices. The road to acceptance is bumpy, but it does happen. The family is quite proud of their unique dragon.
Little Sister has asked for this story over and over. Now, whenever we need something and don’t have it, we wish we had a dragon to breathe it for us. What a fun story with a great message. It’s okay to be different.
Same and different isn’t an easy concept for kids but it is an important thinking skill. The amount of information that our brains take in every day is overwhelming. The brain uses strategies to reduce this amount. One of these is same and different. For example, instead of remembering 10 details about dinosaurs plus 10 about dragons, we can remember the 10 about dinosaurs and add a couple of how dragons are different. That makes a smaller amount.
I asked Little Sister how dinosaurs and dragons were different. She replied that dragons breathed fire and had wings. How they were the same was harder. She told me another detail about dinosaurs: they were big. I asked if dinosaurs had tails and listened as she told me about long tails. I followed up by asking if dragons had tails. She knew that they did. Together, we figured out that dragons and dinosaurs both have tails so that’s something the same.
Elmo and Abby talk about this. Kids need lots of experiences with same and different. The brain figures this out itself. We can support this learning by talking about same and different, showing it, and reading books. Do you have the same idea or a different one?