So you know we all love The Natural History Museum and of course the iconic Dippy the Diplodocus. So when we heard that the NHM had created a set of learning resources based on Dippys tour of the country I knew we needed to try them out.
First off, the most important thing you need to know is that the resources are totally free, just head over to https://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/dippy-on-tour/adventures-with-dippy-learning-resources.html and download the parts you are interested in. There are activities, worksheets and games designed for kids between 4 and 11. They have been created to connect to each of the stops on Dippys tour, but they have been made in such a way that you can do them without actually visiting Dippy (although if you get the chance you definitely should do, you can see read about our visit to see Dippy at the National Museum Cardiff in our last blog post)
We picked the activities connected to the Cardiff part of the tour to start with and the kids have loved working through them, remembering things we saw at the museum and that’s been a great way to get them engaged. But we’ve also enjoyed doing some of the activities inspired by other parts of the tour, everything you need is available through the website so there’s no need to actually visit each place to be able to do the work.
You all know that we unschool, so I don’t plan lessons or do any structured learning with the kids,I follow their interests and pace and see where that takes us each day, sometimes it means we have battles to see who can build the best house on minecraft, sometimes it means reading book after book after book, or watching wildlife documentaries or painting or walking through the woods or visiting a museum, and some days it means sitting around the kitchen table to learn something new, to build a project together, or to have friends round and work through something together.
The Dippy on Tour Learning Resources have been great to fit into our lives, the various activities that we have worked through have been fun and engaging, and the kids have learnt new things in a fun way. You can do one activity, or a whole section, you can pick bits from different areas, or do the whole collection, whatever works with your life and family learning style. Now obviously I’m writing this from a Home Ed perspective but I can totally see how the resources would be brilliant within a school setting to, for the most part its actually written for use in a classroom so its ready to go for in school learning in a more formal way. Personally Ive broken it down more and we’ve worked together to pick out which bits to do each time, together.
One of the hardest things about home ed is thinking of new ways to do things, and keeping everything fresh (a problem I imagine teachers also face when lesson planning) so to have a bit of that taken care of for me has been like a breath of fresh air. The kids have really loved the way the activities are set up and actually doing the activities themselves has actually been fun, from building forests to creating our own dinosaur feet, they have had fun whilst leaning lots of new things, and its been great just heading to the website and downloading the things we’ve needed.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that some of our favourite things to learn about are animals, nature and dinosaurs, both boys absolutely love learning everything to do with our planet and these resources have been a great add on to everything else we already do. For me I believe that learning about nature and the world around us is such a key part of education, we need our children to understand nature and wildlife, to develop a love for it and a passion to live within it in a way that preserves our plant for future generations. Through button and squirt I try to teach kids about the amazing animals we share the planet with so that kids can fall in love with them and want to protect them for the future and I believe that’s such an important thing for kids to build a connection to. Resources like the ones for the Dippy tour really help to cement a love and understanding for nature, and I’m all for it.
One element I love about the resources is that they encourage you to actually get outside and experience nature first hand, whether through bird watching or forest walks identifying plants and trees, there is seriously no better way to learn about nature than to actually be in it, we love any excuse to get outside so this will always be a winner with me.
Actually on a side note, if you love getting out and about the NHM also have a free game that’s all about Nature, and of course Dippy is part of it too, its called Naturenauts, head to https://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/naturenauts.html to join in (Ill do a little write up about that soon too and when I do I’ll add a link here)
So if you home ed, or you’re a teacher planing lessons then you should definitely check out these free resources, I’d love to hear how you get on and see your projects too.