Notes from the Black Lagoon

Ode to the Paper Plate Craft

Posted on: March 12, 2008

Another successful story/craft hour has come and gone. This week, we read stories about dinosaurs!! And it was a hit. As one little boy put it, “ROOOOOAAAR!”.

Paper Plate DinoParents were amazed by the our paper plate dinosaur craft which, in turn, amazed me! Paper plate crafts are as old as the day is long! I guess many parents don’t think to do crafts with their kids at home (which is, I suppose, why they turn up at the library) or are too wrapped up in the bells and whistles of hi-tech crafts to remember the old stand-bys. But who doesn’t love a paper plate craft? They’re easy, fun, cheap and can be reinvented at any time. The perfect craft IMHO.

After doing many sessions of Story/Craft, I’ve sort of developed a little philosophy behind the crafts the I choose. My main operating principle is that story/craft needs to be bonding time for parents and children (parents accompany children for all story times at the TPL). Some parents seem to expect US to entertain their kids while they rest. However, I see myself as a facilitator during story time. Yes, I read the stories and do the movement activities with the kids, but when it comes to crafts, that’s where parent/child interaction can take center stage. I don’t go around and do craft with the kids. That what parents are for! I tend to instruct everyone from the front of the room and then go set up our snack while the parents and kids craft away happily. As a result, I tend to choose crafts that require both parents and children to complete certain elements. Enter the paper plate dinosaur. I had parents cut out the tail, neck and legs from one paper plate while children colored the “body” on another paper plate. Children had to color the cut-out parts as well and then glue a googly-eye on the head. As soon as parents staple the colored neck, tail and legs to the body, the whole thing is done! Easy, cheap, and fun!

Oh yeah, we also read stories and watch a movie BEFORE we even get to the craft. Here’s what we read today:

Dinopets Dino Pets by Lynn Ploude

A little boy tries very hard to find the right dinosaur to be his perfect pet. Naturally, none of the dinos he chooses work out, but it’s hilarious to watch what goes wrong with each one. All the escaped dinos become tired of being lonely and come back to the boy’s house for a happy ending. Sweet and funny for the preschool crowd.

Dad’s Dinosaur Day by Diane Dawson Hearn Dad’s Dinosaur Day

Mikey’s dad takes a break from fatherhood and becomes a silly dinosaur for a day. The usual school day routine is turned topsy-turvy as Mikey rides his dad (in disguise at T Rex) to school, feeds him the scraps from all the kids’ lunches and stops at a tree for a snack on the way home. Mikey likes all the fun he’s having with his new dino-dad, but soon tires of all the responsibility of having one. Kids will recognize Mikey wants his old dad back and he wants to be a normal kid again. Everything ends well as his regular Dad shows up at the breakfast table but the fun may start again as Mom is suspiciously missing!


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