Big Bend National Park is one of my favorite places on earth. Just look at that big peaceful sky. I can’t wait to return and fill myself with that peaceful feeling again.
When visiting Big Bend, we spend our days hiking and exploring. We have made many fascinating discoveries. One of our waddlee-ah-chaa philosophies is to get children out into the world to experience life. But equally important is to bring the world and the outdoors into the classroom or home for children to experience up-close and personal. Not all children have opportunities to get out into the world. So I try to bring the world to them!
On my trips to Big Bend I often find fossils. Since MacGyver is big into prehistoric life and fossils, I had a brainstorm for the Pre-K classroom. This week the class is studying tools. Based on this study, I set-up a fossil dig in the sensory tub.
Step 1 – Sensory Tub Introduction: During circle time the children passed around my fossils from Big Bend.
As they examined the fossils, I introduced vocabulary: fossils, paleontologist, dig, excavate, tools, paint brushes, sifter, gentle.
We talked about the tools paleontologists use and how slowly and gently they must dig out and handle fossils.
Step 2 – Center Time Exploration: Two at a time, the children take turns using the tools to excavate fossils. The sensory tub will be set-up throughout the week for the children to take turns exploring.
Gently, gently the dirt is brushed away from a fossil imprint of a sea creature that once lived in Big Bend.
The children were thrilled to use tools like real paleontologists and to unearth and handle real fossils. And for someone who is passionate about the education of young children, this experience of bringing outdoor fossil exploration into the classroom was a thrilling learning experience.
Thank you to MacGyver for giving me a new way to look at tools. And for jump-starting my out-of-the box thinking about tools.
In our “at school” section we have a striking dinosaur book GIVEAWAY: Wings, Horns, and Claws by Christopher Wormell.
What is one of your favorite “outdoor” sensory tub explorations?
Life with Joyce