Dinosaur Theme Study: Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

January 17, 2011

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Meet MacGyver, obsessed with all things prehistoric. This pterodactyl costume was made during kindergarten homeschool recess. I had absolutely nothing to do with this creation.

I try to incorporate MacGyver’s interests into our homeschool curriculum as much as possible. Accordingly, all of our theme studies start with his interests. When January rolled around his kindergarten year, I gave him three study choices based on his current interests: the human body, our solar system or dinosaurs. I thought for sure he would select the human body. I threw in the study of dinosaurs at the last minute as he had just begun checking out dinosaur books from the library.

After much SERIOUS deliberation, MaGyver surprised me and picked dinosaurs. Little did I know that this dinosaur theme study would turn into an ongoing two year obsession. In this post, I will let MacGyver share his project ideas for a dinosaur theme study. Be prepared his ideas are endless and much more creative than anything I could dream-up.

Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: Prehistoric Actual Size by Steve Jenkins and a set of Dinosaur fact cards by Creative Edge.

Why we love this book:

This book GIVEAWAY is in honor of MacGyver’s love for all things prehistoric. Steve Jenkins’ books are the perfect blend of art and nonfiction; two of MacGyvers favorite things. As usual, Jenkins’ collage art is intricate and very engaging. Each prehistoric creature is accompanied by a brief amount of text and the creatures’ measurements. And of course, the illustrations are actual size! This book lends itself well to art, science and math studies. Do not pass-up this book.

Kindergarten dinosaur display: MacGyver drew each part of the dinosaur skeleton and then assembled it into this 3-D dinosaur diorama. This would be considered a diorama, wouldn’t it? I’m not sure how he came up with this idea. Not from me!

Kindergarten dinosaur puzzles: MacGyver drew each body part of the dinosaur independently.

Next,  he assembled the dinosaur puzzle pieces into a complete dinosaur. He has made tons of these dinosaurs puzzles. Recently, a friend gave him craft foam sheets. He immediately cut these sheets into dinosaur body parts and assembled them into 3-D dinosaurs.

First grade actual size dinosaur measurement: Again, this was done just for fun during the summer prior to first grade. MacGyver researched the actual size of a dinosaur. Then he drew his dinosaur on poster board.

With a little help from Mommy, MacGyver marked off ten feet on the sidewalk to get an accurate measurement for his life-size dinosaur. We have measured many dinosaurs, big and little, inside and outside of our home.

First grade dinosaur sculpture. MacGyver uses Model Magic to create dinosaur “fossils” and also life like dinosaurs.

Miniature Model Magic dinosaur sculpture.

First Grade Halloween Costume: MacGyver cut the pieces for his costume out of poster board. Then taking his inspiration from Steve Jenkins, he collaged the feathers for his dinosaur creation.

Dinosaur costume with collage feathers.

First grade Pterodactyl on a pulley: MacGyver designed this pterodactyl to fly along a string . . .

between two trees in our back yard.

Summer Art Class paper mache dinosaur sculpture: During the summer, MacGyver took a week long art class. Not surprising, he selected the week that focused on dinosaurs. The class put together dinosaur bodies using recycled items, like laundry detergent bottles and lids, Styrofoam and masking tape. Lots of masking tape! The paper mache body was painted with acrylic paints.

Summer School Art Class acrylic paints on canvas: The assignment was to paint a dinosaur in a prehistoric scene.

Second Grade acrylic paint on canvas: After finding an old canvas at Grandpa’s house, MacGyver painted another dinosaur in a prehistoric scene.

Second Grade Prehistoric “robots”: These prehistoric creatures are made out of paper and straws. The straws bend to act as the joints in the dinosaurs limbs, creating a robot effect.

I could have posted at least 50 more dinosaur project photos. MacGyver has made dinosaurs out of everything from Wikki Stiks to a moving dinosaur out of K’NEX. I hope he’s given you just one new idea to add to your dinosaur study.

Life with Jeannine

We’re GIVING AWAY one hardcover copy of  Prehistoric Actual Size by Steve Jenkins and a set of Dinosaur fact cards by Creative Edge.

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

What is your favorite prehistoric creature? Just joking, leave any comment and you’re entered! Just for the record, MacGyver’s answer would be compsognathus. Try to say that three times! (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, January 20, 2011

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, January 21, 2011. Check back it might be you!

Tomorrow an amazing dinosaur field trip is coming your way!

join us atWe Play

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

maryanne January 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I’m partial to pteranodons after watching Dinosaur Train, but as a kid I was all about Triceratops!

And I am SUPER impressed by MacGyver’s creations!!!

Deb January 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Wow – MacGyver is a rock star! How creative he is!

We are fans of Dinosaur Train around here, too – My daughter LOVES Tiny, Shiny, and Don. Pteranadons for us.

Tara January 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm

MacGyver’s creations are awesome!!
My boys love the T-Rex!

Alice January 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I like all the HUGE plant eating dinosaurs. I want to ride on one!

Ellie January 17, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Does the dodo bird count as a prehistoric creature? Sadly, they’re extinct now, although one will forever live on in literary world of Alice in Wonderland. Anyway, that’s my favorite!

Anissa Telle January 18, 2011 at 1:16 am

Wow! I am SO, SO, SO impressed with these. I especially like the pulley idea. We are learning about Simple Machines next week so I think I may try to rig something like that up for them to design. Maybe V-Day cards or snowflakes flying through our school room as it will probably be too cold to do this outside.

I guess the smilodon since I like cats in theory (can’t have one in practice) and they have such an ironic name b/c they are actually quite the predator despite their happy name!

I love to look at fossils too but I guess that doesn’t really count since it is a wide variety of prehistoric creatures…LOL!

keepcatebusy (Cate) January 18, 2011 at 4:01 am

What an amazing post – such a creative and intellegent boy! It’s interesting how many boys just love dinosaurs!!
visiting from we play :-)

PS: my favourite dinosaur is the triceratops btw :-)
oh but I’m from australia so can’t enter lol

Mom and Kiddo January 18, 2011 at 5:00 am

I confess to liking the plant eaters. I just love all these activities, esp. the Pterodactyl on a pulley.

Tricia January 18, 2011 at 5:25 am

Of course I had to comment – Cutie Pie would love your little guy! I can’t wait to see what the dinosaur field trip is! We’re all about dinosaurs over here right now (Mom is the Only Girl)…they’re all over our house still from Cutie Pie’s birthday party on Saturday – he won’t let me put them away!

Jackie January 18, 2011 at 6:33 am

Wow! What a creative boy you have! My nephews (K, 1st grade) are also obsessed with dinosaurs. So of course my son is too! And now I have to try and learn to pronounce all the names like ankylosaurus. That’s the only one I thought I could get close to spelling right so it’s our “favorite” I guess!

JENNIFER KING January 18, 2011 at 8:21 am

Love dinosaurs-as does my son! We are planning on getting a model to build as well in a couple months! All those big teeth and huge fet-he loves it!!!

Brandy January 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

I don’t know much about dinosaurs, but they always make me think of the Flintstones….so willing to use dinosaurs in their day to day lives…along with saber tooth tigers, etc. LOL!

Debi January 18, 2011 at 9:36 am

So many fabulous ideas, here. Thanks for sharing! I think my 6 yo would love to draw a huge dinosaur outside on the pavement – or create a pulley. Too cool!

Robin January 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I love the plant eating dino’s.

Merelyn January 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm

He is so amazing!!

Heather @ Cultivated Lives January 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm

My middle guy is obsessed with triceratops. What fun activities! :)


Christie-Childhood 101 January 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I love that these activities are both interest based and child led. And that in the course of his dinosaur study MacGyver was clearly learning about so much more than just dinosaurs!

Grandma and Grandpa Pfeil February 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm

As one would expect, we are oh so very proud of our grandson. When he joins me in my shop I have to keep an eye on him, for he would love to get into my power tools. When he gets old enough this will open up a new world for him. God only knows what he will come up with. I bet we will end up with a ten foot dinosaur in our yard. I can only imagine that it will move, moan, groan and screech.


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