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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Make Your Own Dinosaur Museum

Now, before you go all “But I’m not a paleontologist” or “But my kid doesn’t like dinosaurs” on me, just know that this is a project that requires very little pre-knowledge and is adaptable to nearly any collection your kid has (with the probable exception of those trampy Bratz dolls). Got diggers? Wild animals? Princesses? Gadgets? Got a kid with a collection of somethings? (Really, got a kid at all?) You’re all set.

And if you are suffering from any (or all) of the following, you need this project:

* the weather is too terrible to venture out – for the tenth straight day in a row

* the house is a mess

* the baby is sleeping, and the pre-schooler wants “something to do” [insert high-pitched whine here]

* all the play places and museums and other indoor distraction zones are CLOSED because it is New Year’s Day and who wants to venture out on a day like that, when they’ve already been home on vacation with the pre-school set for two weeks, and the Christmas cookies are stale, and the doting grandparents have all gone home, and there isn’t enough snow to build a snowman? I mean, really, WHO?

Step 1: Assemble all the possible entrants for this collection. This may take some time (a good thing), and it may take some organizing of the toy bins and other detritus left over from the recent toystraveganza (an even better thing).

Step 2: Look online for particularly excellent pictures of said objects (try Google Images). You’re making museum signs. Copy and paste small versions of these pictures into a word-processing document. (As long as you aren’t planning on charging admission to this museum anytime soon, you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement here.)

Step 3: Ask your child to narrate all he/she knows about the pictured objects. Depending on the child’s age, you may have to prompt with lots of questions. You may even choose to have said child do a little research and find out actual facts and dates to put on your signs. Or, if your kid is Son’s age, let all the information come out of his/her head. Write down what your child says, verbatim. Here’s a sample of what fine things can be produced with minimal parental intervention:

Tyrannosaurus Rex

I love Tyrannosauruses because they are super-scary, and I like scary dinosaurs. I know what they eat. They eat meat. I know about their teeth. They are super sharp, and I like sharp things, and they hurt people. I know about their claws; they are super sharp. I know about their mouth; it opens super wide, and I know about the eyes because they blink.

(Image credit: Feenixx Publishing)




Step 4: Arrange all the objects and their signs and take lots of photos of the new museum.

Step 5 (optional): Get the toddler up from her nap, show her the museum, and watch her create crisis by knocking everything down.

Step 6 (depends on Step 5): Mediate the first round of Smackdown!: Toddler vs. Preschooler Edition 2008

Step 7: Repeat whatever steps from above you prefer, as long as you all maintain interest.

* * *

Okay, so the incredibly gorgeous snowfall we had overnight proves to anyone who lives near me that I didn't write this whole post this morning...I started it last night when the greeny-brown grass and leaden sky were looking all Michigan-wintery and dull, dull, DULL. In fact, we made our museum yesterday. Today, we're making snowmen. But I stand by this project. And I'm off to help Son make a veloceraptor sign to go with the T-Rex one. Happy (Museum-y) New Year!

15 comments:

MIQuilter said...

I WANT A DINOSAUR MUSEUM!!!!!! but it seems like an awful lot of work when you don't have a child to con into all the tedious details.. so I think I'll play Diablo instead. Maybe next time I'm over at MT's, I'll just visit her museum.

MultiplesMommy said...

You know, if you were REALLY bored, you could also add the pre-museum activity, aka The Dig. Take all collected dinosaurs and bury them in a) the sandbox (in good weather) or b) a big tub/box of packing peanuts left over from Xmas. Then you have to bring out the mini shovels and clean paint brushes to create a full-fledged dig. Once you've uncovered the scary, scary historical creatures, you can mount them in your museum. See, 2 days worth of "our cabin-fever is raging out of control" activities. Now, if only I could convince MY kids that digging up dead princesses and mounting them in a museum is a super-terrific thing to do...

MommyTime said...

Well, MIQ, you might be able to convince Son to help you make one...or one of some of your favorite collections of things...though I don't think he'll be quite as into a cookbook museum!

MM, I like the dig idea A LOT. However, I do agree that this lends itself to Son's collections more than it does the Disney Princesses on Ice type collections...dead princesses don't seem as cool. HOWEVER, if you billed them as Sleeping Beauty and all her Sleeping Sisters, you might be able to make a go of it. Sleeping is so much better than dead, you know!

MIQuilter said...

I dunno about that... I actually LIKE the idea of dead princesses...... you could also wrap them in sheets and call them mummys... princess mummys are good,aren't they?

MultiplesMommy said...

No, no, no, MIQ, it's "killed by pirates is good". So, if the princesses are killed by pirates, that's fine. But mummified ones are a little gross. I don't think I want to have a conversation with Big Sis that goes like this, "Ok, dear, now carefully remove the princess' liver and put it in the clay jar over there. Great! Now wrap her in this sheet covered in chemicals...." Eeewwwww.

MIQuilter said...

you're such a spoil-sport.... next time you bring the kids for a visit though... we're going to mummify SOMETHING.

MIQuilter said...

oh, and MM - if you really don't want to have a mummy museum I have a couple other ideas.... Fashion Show? Daddy Museum.. (I know, har har)

MultiplesMommy said...

MIQ, it sort of scares me to know that you're only half joking with your offer to mummify something with my children. 'Course, given my kids ability to love something TOOOOOO much, there usually are a few fatalities when they collide with nature. Like the frog in your pool, may he rest in peace...

MommyTime said...

See Scribbit's Winter Bazaar for more great ideas for indoor play.

Scribbit said...

That's a great idea--it reminds me of a video my oldest did when she was five where she wrote a story about dinosaurs and narrated it.

MommyTime said...

Ohh, Scribbit, I love the video narration idea. That would be great even with a child too young to write. Maybe we'll try that tomorrow!

Wacky Mommy said...

SO smart. We're going to make exhibits with our: dinos, racecars, books, Little Pet Shop and anything else we can find.

I love the pictures, they're purty. All we get in Oregon is rain, mostly.

MommyTime said...

Thanks, Wacky Mommy. Glad to have you stop by! I have thought about expanding the museum into other "wings" too...but that would require cleaning off the top of several other dressers. Not that they don't need cleaning, mind you. But if I clean them, what will I procrastinate about next week? So I haven't made this suggestion to Son just yet...

MommyTime said...

Also, WM, I've always wanted to visit Oregon. I hear it's gorgeous. You are lucky to live there.

MultiplesMommy said...

No, no, no, MT, you don't have to clean off any dressers to expand the museum! Just tell Son that you are going to have some TEMPORARY exhibits that are visiting from other museums. Then, make an exhibit on the floor. When you're done, and Son has moved on to playing Cars or trains or annoying Daughter, you dump everything into a big tupperware container. Presto! A traveling exhibit!

 

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