Did you know that Los Angeles’ La Brea Tar Pits are one of the world’s best and most important sources of Ice Age fossils? Yup. Pretty cool huh? We love science around here and are always looking for new and interesting ways to bring more science into our lives. The La Brea Tar Pits got me so inspired that we brought them right here to our backyard for play group this summer. Turns out small world dinosaur tar pits are the perfect sensory activity for kids to explore the world of dinosaurs. This is a fascinating activity to do with kids, especially boys, who love to get their dinosaur on and their slime on. See the directions below. And if you live in Los Angeles, this is a perfect activity pre or post a La Brea Tar Pit visit.
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What I love about sensory activities like this is that they engage all the senses. You can smell, taste (yuk but edible) feel, listen and of course, touch this awesome tarry slime and it’s oh so gooey.
There are so many ways to introduce kids to science. Have you heard of Animal Jam? Animal Jam is an online virtual playground for children who love animals and the outdoors, and is the result of an ongoing creative collaboration between Smart Bomb Interactive and National Geographic Society. As a teacher, I’ve read National Geographic Kids with my students for years. Anything they put their stamp on, count me in for. Animal Jam is just another example of their commitment to quality science centered education for young children. Definitely check them out. I love Animal Jam Academy too. Tons of great learning activities and cool animal videos too.
Oh, yeah, the recipe. It’s so easy! Cornstarch, water and black tempera paint. That’s it. Mix the water through a big heap of cornstarch until it starts to feel wet throughout. The more water you add, the more loose the “tar” will be. Then add a bunch of black paint and mix it through. You’ll have a nice tarry grey. This stuff, often referred to as ooblek or gak changes from a solid to a liquid when moved and is totally amazing. Parents are always wowed when they touch it for the first time and kids love it. If you have any kids around who are especially sensitive to touch, I recommend keeping a bucket of water nearby so they can easily wash their hands. My daughter stepped right in and totally got stuck, which was awesome and lead to a great conversation about the sticky tar. We gave all the dinosaurs a bath in the bucket at the end, which extended the fun. This is a great activity. Hope you give it a try and have fun visiting The La Brea Tar Pits next time you are in LA!
This post is sponsored by Animal Jam.