Like many children his age Joseph loves dinosaurs. He currently makes daily requests for information about dinosaurs, much of it from watching films, animations and snippets of documentaries. He has dinosaur toys that he uses to act out battles, comparing their varying physical attributes and requesting predictions as to which dinosaur will win from Ollie and I. We play role-play games as dinosaurs too, acting out 'fights' with a bit of rough-and-tumble.
Joseph is interested in the way the earth looked when the dinosaurs were around and is fascinated by volcanos and extreme weather. When he draws, he often depicts scenes of stormy clouds and flashes of lightening that break the trees, with erupting volcanos and dinosaurs roaming.
A couple of days ago Joseph was making his usual request for dinosaur related videos on YouTube and asked to watch people going to see dinosaur bones in the museum. Afterwards we decided to make our own dinosaur bones. We collected sticks at the park and the boys all had fun painting them white.
I had planned that we might make a dinosaur skeleton picture by sticking them to black paper, but Joseph had other ideas and was determined to make something 3-D! We constructed a head, neck and body by tying the sticks with string. This was as much as Joseph wanted to do, he didn't feel a need to give his model any legs so we didn't! He said it was a Duckbill Dinosaur and that it's head was a crest. He put his dinosaur on a pile of blue wool and said this was the water! Joseph is a fan of Julia Donaldson's book 'Tyrannosaurus Drip' and it seems that he was inspired by the Duckbill Dinosaurs in this!
Joseph said he'd like to make a land for his dinosaur to live in, inside a box with volcanos! I'm sure this will be our next project. After the dinosaur was made he wanted me to film him playing with it, and then filmed me talking about it. When we made puppets recently at a workshop at our local gallery he asked to film his results in action there too. I'll upload these videos in a separate blog post.
The huge asteroid that hit earth during the time dinosaurs roamed the earth fascinates Joseph, and this weekend sees an impressive meteor shower in our skies that he has been talking excitedly about. He has asked us to set an alarm for the middle of the night so that he can watch them!
In just a few days Joseph's fascination with dinosaurs has touched on elements of history, biology, geography, literature and astronomy as well as role-play, art and craft and physical activity, just at a glance! What I really love about this is that I feel as though I am simply playing with him, enjoying his company and helping him peruse his ideas. We're simply having fun together, and this is possible because I know that wherever this play and his ideas flow, he is learning something thats meaningful for him.