Learn About Time for Kids: What Time is it Mr. Dinosaur

Dinosaurs lived a very long time ago so let’s use them to learn about time for kids. Developing a sense of time will take lots of time and experiences.

strategic allocation of attentionA sense of time is a challenge for kids although they will have some general ideas. Most of them have figured out the day-night cycle, and day is light while night is dark–unless they live really far up north. It can be quite confusing for kids when we ask them to wait just a minute or hang on a second and the time gap can be much longer than either. We often ask if kids had a good time. When we’re in a hurry, we may very well say we don’t have time. No wonder it’s so complicated.

Nevertheless, kids need to hear the various words for time such as second, minute, hour, day, week, month, and year, even if they don’t understand them. Kids may use some of the words and will likely have a few words for the days of the week and they will often ask how many sleeps until something special. If parents are home on weekends, Saturday and Sunday become favorites.

dinosaur games for kidsA fun game to play for time is What Time is it Mr. Wolf, but since it’s Dinovember, we can change it to What Time is it Mr. Dinosaur. Kids can play this inside, if there is a big, open space or outside. Dinosaurs are too big for houses and even schools.

One person is the dinosaur and stands in the middle while the rest of the kids line up at one end. The kids ask the dinosaur, “What time is it, Mr. Dinosaur? The dinosaur says various times and the kids take that number of steps. For instance, if the dinosaur says 4 o’clock, kids take 4 steps. If the dinosaur says 2 o’clock, the kids take 2 and so on. Until…the dinosaur says “It’s lunch time!” and the kids run back to the start before the dinosaur eats them up. Of course, the dinosaur roars and the kids squeal.

This is a favorite game of kids all around the world. The “It’s lunch time!” surprise can be changed to other times too, like Hugtime, or Tickletime. It could also be “Put away 3 toys time!” to make clean-up lots of fun.

learning about timeThere are special clocks for kids with pictures or faces that change for day and night. These help to learn about time for kids. With the time change on the weekend, how many clocks and other devices were there that needed to be changed at your house? Today, is there time to play?

Art Activities from Children’s Books

When it comes to art play and fun for your child, could you use some inspiration? How about some kid-tested ideas for art activities from children’s books?

Not all children have opportunities for art play. These kinds of activities are sometimes seen as a waste of time, or not academic enough. As a parent or caregiver, unless you are an artist, you may not know what to do. Combining children’s books and stories with art can help with both of these. Art and books stimulate development of visual and language skills. Stories and books switch on imaginations making it much easier to be creative.

Following are some possibilities for art activities based on children’s books. As a reminder, these are not craft projects that kids do step-by-step to copy a specific product. Instead, these are experiences and kids will come up with their own creations.

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson, has been a popular story for decades. After reading this story, kids might like to draw or paint with just purple. If your child likes a different color, maybe it’s for a new story called _____ (Your Child’s Name) and the ______ (Favorite Color) Crayon. This one is Dee and the Black Crayon.

Dinosaurs are pretty popular with kids. Find any book about dinosaurs and using play dough or plasticine, kids can make their own dinosaurs. How do dinosaurs move? For some dance art, let kids move their bodies like dinosaurs.

The musical Cats was based on a book and played on Broadway for years. Can you and your child read about cats and then do some cat pretend play? There are hundreds and hundreds of other theatrical performances from books. Kids could add music.

Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are is another story for lots of movement art. Kids can also draw, paint, or create monsters from play dough or from items in the recycling . Check out the scrap materials and treasures.

Any suggestions for what to do for Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier? Paint some dots or use dot stickers. Paint dabbers make great dots.

Parents do not need to be artists to include art fun for kids. Has this inspired you to think of some other art activities with children’s books?

Making Valentine Cards for Preschoolers

Making cards with kids is almost as much fun as getting valentines; some simple ideas and creativity turn it into a play-of-the-day. These three examples may inspire you and your kids.

potato-printsThis year, a friend’s really big sister used some potatoes in an experiment for a science fair. Her little sister used the left-over potato halves to make some potato print valentines. To make these, cut a notch in potato to make a heart shape. Kids hold the potato and dip it into paint, then stamp onto a card or paper. If the potato is too big for a little hand to grasp, stick a fat popsicle stick into the potato to use as a handle. This looked like so much fun, that the really little one came to check it out. When dry, kids only need add their name.

monster cardsHere are two other suggestions for cute valentines. Last year, Big Sister made some monsters on cards and we glued on googly eyes. The caption was “I only have eyes for you.” Monsters can have any number of eyes, legs, and arms, and be any color. Scribbling with paint or crayons makes great monsters.

dinosaur valentine cardsFor some dynamite valentines, find some small dinosaurs at the dollar store. Adult hands print “You are dino-mite.”  Kids print their name. Attach the dinos with a twist tie poked thru the card or just with tape.

Children start scribbling and making marks on paper (or walls) as early as a year and half old. At this stage though, the interest is the action of their bodies rather than the action of writing. Older toddlers and preschoolers are figuring out how these marks and print have meaning. They need lots of experiences communicating with something in print to understand what the process is about. The long valentine is by a 5 year old who knows print goes in a line and has the letters in his name.

pre-writing valentine

Valentines is a tremendous way for children to be involved in writing and sending messages. Have you some other suggestions for making valentines with kids?

Valentines and Dinosaurs

This play-of-the-day combines 3 ingredients: a book, movin’ and groovin’, and dinosaurs; what an awesome combination for kids and valentine fun. Dinosaurs appeal to kids of various ages. In the story “I Love You, Snugglesaurus” by Sandra Magsamen, a dinosaur encourages kids to do a variety of actions, such as jump and clap. When reading … Continue reading Valentines and Dinosaurs

Dinovember: Dinosaur Ice Eggs – Turkey Baster Tool

Dinosaurs can be used in many different play experiences for kids. For a play-of-the-day, freeze some small plastic dinosaurs in egg shapes for some sensory melting fun. Since turkeys are connected to dinosaurs, use a turkey baster as a melting tool. Small plastic eggs are available in the dollar store. To get the two halves … Continue reading Dinovember: Dinosaur Ice Eggs – Turkey Baster Tool

Dinosaur and Turkey Fruit Snacks for Kids

Giving kids something to do in the kitchen while adults are preparing a meal helps them feel included and can keep them safely occupied. If you are busy today, here is an idea for a nutritious fruit snack that can be either a dinosaur or a turkey, or you can make one of each. After all, … Continue reading Dinosaur and Turkey Fruit Snacks for Kids

Are Turkeys and Dinosaurs Cousins? Easy Craft for Both

This same craft idea can be used for either a turkey or a dinosaur, which is quite appropriate because it turns out turkeys and dinosaurs are related. After yesterday’s blog post about dinosaurs, manners, magic words, and the holiday of Thanksgiving, a quick on-line search showed there’s evidence of a link between dinosaurs and turkeys. … Continue reading Are Turkeys and Dinosaurs Cousins? Easy Craft for Both

Dinovember: Dinosaurs, Manners and Magic Words

Before the approaching holiday season goes from busy to even busier, it’s helpful for kids to practice some basic social skills. Even dinosaurs need to learn manners. Integrating Dinovember and the holiday season is easy to do with the book Suppose You Meet A Dinosaur, A First Book of Manners by Judy Sierra and Tim … Continue reading Dinovember: Dinosaurs, Manners and Magic Words