September 04, 2006

Past Projects: Dinosaur Shadow Box

It's a holiday today, and I've had a case of blog-block lately with school taking up most of my time. I thought I would share a few past projects with you (since I don't have time for a long post). This will be the first in a series of fun projects from previous school days that we enjoyed. If you find one that strikes your fancy, add them to your lesson plans for this year and enjoy doing crafts with your kiddos!



We had a lot of fun with this project and although the boxes are in storage, they sat on top of my son's dresser for a long time. You can do almost anything in a shadow box... but the glittery volcano really gave this scene sparkle. Instructions for this project (and printable dinos) can be found at enchanted learning.

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous said...

What a fantastic shadow box! That project obviously turned out very well. Thanks for the suggestion and the link -- I know plenty of homeschooling parents that will get a kick out of doing this project with their kids.

SARSAS said...

thats really a nice one bee i really liked that . im also a mom of two who writes at
so do visit me and leave a msg if you like what i write

Sprittibee said...

Thanks for the comments! Glad you liked the shadow box. My kids really loved them.

Christopher Cala said...

I just have to say that I think this is a great diorama that can be used for visual display. It appears that quite a lot of time and effort was put into it. I am currently an education major myself, and, within the year, plan on teaching children from grades one through six.

While I think this could be a fun object for students to look at, it (at least to me) is an activity that will come to hinder a child’s performance in and out of school.

For adults, this activity may seem enjoyable: something to clear the head and release the stress and tension of the daily grind. But think about how it would be for a child to construct this. When considering that a child’s motor skills aren’t really even fully developed until their early adult years, this task would unquestioningly frustrate a child to the boiling point.
Also, it should be noted that there is no creative aspect to this activity. The child is merely coloring inside the lines; cutting out patterns presented before them; and gluing them into a shoe box. Where’s the imagination? Where’s the critical thinking? Where’s the exploration? What exactly are they learning?

Now, I should point out that I am not in any way trying to be disrespectful. After three years of schooling as an education major, I just have to say that this activity is developmentally inappropriate for any child, especially one at the kindergarten level (as assumed in the subtitle KinderCrafts).

Again, please don’t take this message the wrong way. But looking from a developmental standpoint, this activity is extremely inappropriate, and detrimental to a child’s well being.

Thank you.

Christopher J. Cala

Sprittibee said...

Christopher... your comment was just too funny. At first, I thought maybe you were joking, but now I think you may have been serious. I sent it to my friend who came over with her two boys to do this project with me at my house and here was her response:

"Heather, my kids are still in therapy. Whenever they have nightmares, the first thing out of their mouths is "It's those dioramas you made us do two years ago!! I'm still frustrated to the point of boiling!"

Pulease. This guy is too funny. If he can't see the imagination and creativity in purple-glittered volcanoes and Crayola dinosaurs, then he's living in his own la-la-land.

Note that he's only a 3rd year education student. It's his duty to point out the flaws in his fellow human-beings. Presumably he's without children of his own. He won't know anything about the real world until he actually gets out and about in it."

Without sounding rude, I would like to say that I'm not sure where you got your information on the facts about children and motor skills... but it has been my observation in life (as a child previously and now watching my own children) that they are capable of doing a lot more than we think they are. I watched other people draw as a child and became able to draw at a VERY early age. I was drawing very well on the back of church attendance cards when I was practically still in daipers.

My children enjoyed the project in this post because of these fun things about it:

1. They got to see their friends (two other little boys came over to do this with them)

2. They got to take time away from regular schoolwork to do an art project (I think kids need stress release also)

3. They got to paint the back of the box blue (sky) - I don't know if you know this yet, but kids love paint. They don't care WHAT you let them paint, they love it! My kids also helped me paint my kitchen walls (another job for adults).

4. They got to rip up construction paper and watch me cut some. They got to cut their dinosaurs out, and they got to wad up paper to use as rocks. My kids were in First and Second grade during this project. It was near the end of the school year. They still like cutting, wadding up paper, and tearing it. How is that beyond their motor skills? Where in the world did you get your information that a child's motor skills are not fully developed until their early adult years? Have you seen the painting that I did at the age of 11 on my Favorite Paintings post? How do you explain Mozart and all the other child prodigies? You should let a child do and explore things and not limit them by what YOU think they can accomplish. The Native Indians used to teach their children how to ride horses without saddles by the age of 6! Young girls tanned the skins of deer along side their mothers. Pioneer children helped with back-breaking chores on the farm. Children will excel when you respect them as people and allow them to create their own expectations for success. With limited supervision, they are able to do almost anything. My friend's son who is only 8 can cook you a plate of eggs all by himself.

5. They got to color dinosaurs. This is actually a learning experience as well. They were learning what different dinosaurs look like (as I'm sure I didn't know how to draw them all). They got to be creative and color them whatever colors they liked. Kaden made his triceretops rainbow-colored. In case you didn't know this, many kids ENJOY coloring books. My daughter is STILL coloring in some of her free time of her own free will. She's 7. Sometimes I will even color with her! Coloring may not be the most creative thing you can do, but it is enjoyable and a mindless stress reliever.

6. They got to create a river/pond and bank with sand and modpodge. This part of the activity was very fun. I helped them to design their water and they got to dust the glue with sand and modpodge over their blue water to make it become glossy and shiny like real water. The kids really like to look at that part of the diorama. It is hard to see in the picture, I realize. We had sand in the garage in a bucket that they used, and they went upstairs to their rooms and got a few playground rocks they had collected and added some of them as well. To a 6 and 8 year old, this would seem creative, I'm sure!

7. They got to make puffy clouds and add glitter to their purple volcano. Glitter is always fun for a kid. I don't care what your "professors" have taught you. Girls especially love glitter. My son is a volcano nut, so this was his favorite part of the diorama as well.

8. The kids had something PRETTY that they COMPLETED together and with ME and FRIENDS that they could LOOK AT to REMEMBER how much FUN THEY HAD. They are quite attached to them. They would NOT let me throw them out. They are in storage right now because they made me pack them so they could see them again when we finally bought another house.

I look forward to getting them out again and letting them put them on their dressers.

Crafts are really not such a bad thing... you should get married and have a few kids of your own... and then do some with them!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, have to agree with Christopher. I am an art teacher for many years and he is correct in many ways. Coloring books and coloring pages are NEVER developmentally appropriate for any age child! Did you know that 75% of people draw the way they were taught in Kindergarten? For example, ask any adult to draw you a sun. Bet it has those annoyingm non-existent rays sticking out of them! Still not convinced? Have them draw a tree or a flower (bet it looks like a daisy), or a car (either a beetle or a sedan), or a boat (bet its a sailboat). Getting the picture now? Pretty scary, isn't it. However, with the abolishment of coloring books, perhaps future generations can be spared this fate. If your children like to color, great. Buy them a blank sketchbook and teach them that their own ideas are what counts. So your child wants to draw a dinosaur but says they don't know how. Don't demonstrate for them (after all, that would be your dinosaur). Just walk them through the basics...draw a body, draw a neck, draw a head, draw the legs, etc. This will encourage a discussion between you and your child regarding what kind of dino, etc. Using reference books is okay to make a specific dino for older children, but look for photo-like images, not drawn or painted.

Now, what Christopher left out was ways to make this project more creative. Instead of using predrawn dinosaurs, try Crayola Model Magic. Even the youngest children can work with this and the results will be fantastic. Since children love to paint, let them paint them when they are dry, whatever color they want. You can also make the volcano, if they choose to have one, out of model magic. Twisted brown craft paper and tissue paper leaves make great leaves. Find out about the vegetation that was available during different periods (there was no grass). Maybe they sky isn't going to be blue, perhaps it is night or during a meteor shower. Get all the cues from the child and offer them no example to copy. I guarantee, they will amaze you!

I am not trying to be harsh either, but if you check with NAEYC or any other set of standards, you will see that we are correct in the coloring book issue. Please remember that your child's original ideas are more valuable than any other "make and take" or copycat project, no matter how well you feel they completed it. Also, of the course they children appeared to have a fun experience while doing this. Children love dinosaurs and they love to please. However, teaching them to please themselves is one of the most important lesson they will ever learn. Hope you will consider my advice.

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out to "anonymous" that I have one child in public school and 2 that are homeschooled. I don't see that in any way are my homeschooled children stunted and less creative. In fact, they are more creative, can draw, color, and paint better than most of their peers at church that go to public school taught by you so called education majors. I have had an opportunity to see how you people teach with my oldest child and I am not impressed. My homeschooled children are consistently a level or more above any child I have met that goes to public school. And to note, I live in a county that is supposedly one of the best for schools. Get your facts from the real world, not a textbook written by ignorant people such as yourself.

Anonymous said...

I'm the mom of a second grader that wants to greate a shadow box to display her animal project in it's habitat is FOREVER grateful. I am a very limited in my creativity and appreciate the model and templates. I've read many of the postings positive and negative and found them hilarious. As a mom and educator I know that no one size fits all and mothers generally no better than anyone else what's best for their child. Books and studies are fine for children that fit that mold. Unfortunately most research begins with the answer in mind :>.



Some posts on this blog contain affiliate links or sponsored links. I receive a small commission whenever a product is purchased through an affiliate link. Sponsored links are paid for by a company who wishes to improve their Google ranking, but I always check to make sure these are reputable sites and never allow any links that are questionable to be placed.

The links in my "Sweet Linkage" section are either sponsored links or personal links that I find interesting (including the links to the blogs that both of my teen children run).

I occasionally run ads on my blog in exchange for money or traded advertising, or receive products in exchange for a review or giveaway posts. I also participate in campaigns by brands that offer to pay me to write about their products after using them. Any post that is sponsored will be noted as such. All opinions expressed on are my own, and any review, give-away, sponsored post, graphic ad, or product that I mention or link to are ones that I believe are reputable and worthy companies.


blog design:

blog archives