Dinosaur Investigation Table

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Invite your child to explore the world of dinosaurs (or any other of their interests) by setting up this simple Investigation Table.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but my T has a serious obsession with Thomas The Tank Engine. I cannot stress enough how passionate he is about Thomas. We now own ALL the Thomas dvds, books and puzzles that are on the market, as well as a ridiculous number of trains and track pieces. We have had oodles of fun playing trains. I really could probably write an entire blog JUST on train play, but this amazing lady has already done that. I stumbled across her blog a while back and it is truly mind-blowing how many brilliant ideas she has come up with to play with trains and track.  It’s well worth a look if your little one is into trains – she has some fantastic ideas for getting all sorts of learning into your train play.

Anyway, I have reached the point where I feel we (well, mostly I) need to expand our horizons a bit with just *some* non-train play (is that too much to ask?). Of course there is no point in trying to push a child into anything – they will follow their own interests. Luckily, thanks to a new Thomas film that involves fossils, T has now begun to show an interest in dinosaurs. Hooray! This is a very exciting moment for me. I love dinosaur stuff!

When I taught in a Nursery, we always had what we called the Project Table. Here we displayed objects, books, words and pictures related to our half-termly Theme, and the children loved exploring the stuff on the table. I have been thinking about setting one of these up for a while, to encourage him to explore his interests even further. With only one table, which we use for pretty much everything – painting, messy play, drawing, sticking, play-dough, reading, doing puzzles – I need to be able to set it out and tidy it away easily. I also want it to change a bit so there are different activities and play invitations on different days.

Here is how I set it up: I covered the table with a length of green felt and put up a dinosaur poster I picked up for £1 at the library.  Then I added an upturned basket, some toy dinosaurs, shiny blue card for a lake and some brown felt for a muddy swamp.  I used some magnetic letters to write the word dinosaur, as a simple letter matching activity, and added some dinosaur information books.  When I need to clear the table away, all I do is scoop the objects into the basket and fold up the felt.  Here is how it looks right now:

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I just thought I would share this as you could easily set up your own investigation table on any subject really, with a basket, some felt, a poster and some books.  My big plan is to have a sort of dinosaur “play box” to keep all this stuff in, and to create different play boxes for different themes.  As T gets older, I know that he will have more input into how the table is set up, and what goes into it. Right now, I cannot predict how this table will evolve, as it all depends on where his interests and ideas take us…but that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it?

Now that we have it all set up…watch this space for more dinosaur stuff..! And thank you for stopping by, as always :-).

Marianne x

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