The girls and I had an adventurous albeit nerve wracking morning. It was adventurous because we journeyed into the Australian Museum to take part in Carla’s Dinosaur Dig. The nerve wracking bit involved taking a potty training three year old into the city sans nappies.
Carla’s Dinosaur Dig is a special event for kids aged 3 to 5 years who dig Dinosaurs. I’d imagine that covers just about all of them. Our hostesses Ella and Danielle greeted the excited participants with roaring enthusiasm. The young ladies soon had the kids eating out of the palms of their hands. (Which was awkward due to their hands being inserted in a soft T-rex puppets). The group was lead into the Learning Centre for a dino-riffic story and a bit of a chat about paleontology. My five year old (P1) enthusiastically joined the discussion shouting out answers to many of Ella’s questions. “Does anybody know how the dinosaurs died?” “They got hit by a meteor” exclaimed P1 prompting giggles from the Mums and Dads in the back row. “The dinosaurs were around a long, long time ago. Does anybody know how long ago?” P1 called out “Yes it was a long, long time ago. 69 years”. Again the back row tittered audibly. By that measure my father in law should be renamed “Grandpa-osaurus”. (Sorry John). P1 was on the right track. She merely forgot to add six zeros to her figure. Meanwhile my three year old (P2) was completely silent. She sat there mouth agape in wonderment.
After discussing how paleontologists dig up buried fossils the kids got to work on some digging of their own. They extracted plaster dinosaur claws from the specially set up “mud pits” and got creative painting them. Then it was time to “kit up” with camouflage vests and toilet roll binoculars for the expedition to the dinosaur gallery. Here the kids marveled at the towering dinosaur skeletons (sadly only models not the real deal), smaller fossils and models of dino hatchlings. The tour concluded with a well earned dinosaur stamp and a ferocious T-rex temporary tattoo. The forty five minute running time was perfect for the kids attention spans.
The kids, particularly the four and five year olds, were delighted by the session. They were having such a good time it was difficult to believe that the whole thing was actually educational. Dinosaurs are to the pre-school set what Justin Bieber and One Direction are to tweens. They are super stars. Just as teenagers attend concerts wearing their favorite band T-shirts, hoards of littlies showed up to the museum proudly displaying dinosaurs on their clothing.
There was more to explore and we hung around the learning center examining the specimens on display at a leisurely pace. My girls were so enthralled that I had to bribe them with a visit to the Museum shop to get them to leave. I am pleased to report that by mid afternoon we made it home high and dry.
Mumabulous Verdict: 9/10
I really loved this activity. Ella and Danielle had a great touch with the kids. They presented the material in a manner that was simple and engaging for pre-schoolers. At the same time the adults were kept interested and entertained. The hands on activities were fun and relaxed and the explorer kits added a nice touch of theater.
For more information go to http://australianmuseum.net.au/Kids-at-the-Museum