Do you love dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures? Do you think it would be cool to discover the fossil of a never-before-seen creatur...

'Addison Rue is a Paleontologist' Book Review plus Dinosaur Tar Pit Sensory Play


Do you love dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures? Do you think it would be cool to discover the fossil of a never-before-seen creature? Or maybe solve the mystery of why the dinosaurs all died? Have you ever dreamt of being a paleontologist? Well, Addison Rue has. 

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In "Addison Rue is a Paleontologist" by Samantha Cruz - the first book of the series, "Addison Rue and the Big Dreaming Book" - Addison Rue drifts off to sleep and finds herself right in the middle of a dig site! She realizes that she is a paleontologist and as so it is her job to learn about the past by studying fossils. As luck would have it, there are bones buried in her dig site! What does she uncover? You'll have to pick up this book to find out!

As homeschoolers, books like "Addison Rue is a Paleontologist" are fantastic for introducing unit study topics and building interest. After reading the story with my children (author Samantha Cruz kindly gifted us a digital copy for review), we were ready to become paleontologists. Or, almost ready...

Before we could excavate dinosaur fossils, we had to help them get trapped in tar pits where they could be preserved so as paleontologists we could uncover them millions of years later. To make our tar pits, we turned to our favorite non-Newtonian substance - oobleck.

Tar Pit Oobleck

- cornstarch
- used coffee grounds
- water
- (optional) coffee

1. Pour cornstarch into plastic bin. We used cold cuts containers and poured 2 cups of cornstarch into each one. (I HIGHLY recommend making a separate bin for each child, it makes things so much simpler.)

2. Add some used coffee grounds. We added about a 1/4 cup to each bin.

3. Add water (and coffee, if desired). I've often read a good ratio of cornstarch to water is 2:1 so we added 1 cup of liquid. However, our oobleck was too runny and we needed to add more cornstarch. Next time we do it I would start with a 1/2 cup of liquid and add a tablespoon at a time until we get the right consistency.

4. Stir it all together and start playing! We collected toy dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures as well as some bugs. As soon as you drop one onto the oobleck it slowly starts sinking in!

Since it's summer, this activity was definitely best done outside - much easier cleanup! I also put out a pot of water for rinsing hands/toys and a washcloth for each of them for drying. Lil C and Squidgy had tons of fun burying the animals in the "tar pits" and just messing around with the oobleck. We were definitely out there for a couple of hours at least.

When we were all done playing for the day, we dropped a bunch of animals into the oobleck (I also added a couple rocks, shells, and shark teeth) and put the bins aside to dry for a full day or two. Come back tomorrow to find out what we did next!