Monday, December 15, 2008

Walking Like Dinosaurs

Monday, Dec. 15 2008

Imagine a time when there were no cats, no dogs, no tigers, no elephants, no stores, no zebras, no daddies, no mommies, no Sylers and no Violets . . .

Like most 3.5 year olds, Sy is a Dinosaur FANATIC. We have been doing lots of internet research recently on our favorite pre-historic non-lizards. We especially like the one provided by London’s Natural History Museum

and the Discovery Channel’s “dino viewer”

Sy spent about 1.5 hours the other day looking up dinosaurs based on their shape, the period during which they lived, and the continents on which they were discovered. He has learned to navigate both sites with the arrows, looking at sketches, models, and motion simulation. It’s cool enough that he can read “go to” and “next dino” while doing his “work,” but what he then does with his dino knowledge is absolutely thrilling.

Sy’s dinosaur research has led to a slew of new make-believe scenarios. In just the last few days, we have played:

  • “Walking like dinosaurs”: here, we must recreate the dinosaur movements we have researched online as we trudge around the house playing Velociraptor, Triceratops, Protoceratops, Tyrannosaurus, Maiasaura [good mother lizard - she’s my favorite] and Oviraptor [egg thief]: Maiasaura has to protect her eggs while Oviraptor tries to steal them; Stegosaurus uses his spiked tail and Triceratops uses his three-horned head to defend themselves from an Allosaurus/Velociraptor attack.
  • “Paleontologist”: using action figures or Haba figures, we go on a dinosaur excavation and, using our large Dinosaurs floor book, discover various fossils (pictures of dinos) under the rocks (pages of book).
  • “Lego dinosaurs”: we build Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus, T-Rex and Velociraptor with Legos; we build separate “houses” for carnivores and herbivores (complete with troughs for meat for the former and plants/trees/flowers for the latter), and we use our action figures to feed the carnivores meat in their troughs.

This play currently takes up hours of our time and can be rather exhausting. In fact, he just woke up and asked if I’m ready to be Maiasaura again. How can I say no to that?