Recently, Preschool Storytime at the Shellbrook Public Library has been all about the alphabet and related occupations. For instance, a January theme was N is for Nurse, an occupation that most children were familiar with. However, in early February, the library decided to dig deeper with P is for Paleontologist.
Children ages 2 - 6 enjoyed stories about what a paleontologist does and the dinosaur bones they discover. Their interest primed, the tots then each excavated a dinosaur 'egg' to see what species was inside.
The eggs had been made ahead of time by Branch Librarian Dian Campbell who embedded tiny toy dinosaurs in a baking soda and water paste that dried hard. To excavate, vinegar was poured over the eggs. By prodding the fizzing eggs with sticks, each preschooler successfully uncovered a unique dinosaur. After identification and discussion about specific dinosaur features, the preschoolers created their own fossils by making tracks with their dinosaurs in a soft flour and water dough that was sent home to air dry.
"It was a great, educational success," said Campbell. "The children loved it and their parents were wonderful. When it comes to Storytime crafts, they are just as enthused as their children. They jump right in."