Encourage grandkids to learn more about science and nature during playtime

Dear readers: As I mentioned yesterday, I'm off playing in the desert with my grandsons. In light of that, I offer you here a guest post of sorts — playtime suggestions courtesy StatePoint Media.

dinosaur toys

Have any budding scientists in your family? If your grandchildren are fascinated by nature, dinosaurs, and other cool science subjects, you can help foster their interests by turbo-charging their playtime to fit their favorite topics.

"Learning is not just for the classroom or a formal setting," says Dr. Lise Eliot, early childhood development expert and member of VTech's Expert Panel. "Teachable moments happen naturally every day, and you can create some of your own, too."

Here are some great educational playtime ideas for your budding paleontologists and naturalists:

Dino-mite makeover: Help transform your grandchild's bedroom or play area (or your guest room) into a prehistoric retreat with dino clings on the walls, stencils, and dinosaur bedding. Help your grandchild identify the different dinosaurs on each.

Field trips: Visit the dinosaur exhibit at a local museum. Some museums even have sleepovers where kids can sleep under the dinosaurs. Or take a trip to the zoo or aquarium. It’s the perfect way to expose children to a wide variety of animals that may be new to them. Bring along a notebook and let kids sketch animals and make scientific observations about the animals' behaviors.

Dinosaur-themed toys: "Toys can be so much more than a distraction," says Eliot. "Look for toys that let kids play creatively and engage in imaginative play."

New innovative toys let kids act out prehistoric scenes. For example, Switch & Go Dinos Turbo, from VTech, a leader in age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children, feature fun and creativity. The toys combine dinosaurs and vehicles, providing a 2-in-1 imaginative and stimulating play experience.

A new dynamic remote control dino, Bronco the RC Triceratops, transforms with the push of a button and gets a turbo boost for a burst of speed. Also check out Digger the Woolly Mammoth, a prehistoric powerhouse that transforms into an excavator. Kids can press the action buttons to hear cool, educational dinosaur facts and phrases, providing a fun and enriching playtime. More information can be found at www.vtechkids.com/switchandgodinos.

Reading time: Foster a love of reading while encouraging kids' natural wonder by visiting your local library and exploring subjects like dinosaurs, earth science and astronomy. By locating books that pique your grandkids' interests, you can help develop a lifetime love of learning.

With a bit of creative grandparenting, you can maximize playtime, cultivate interests and encourage learning in one fell swoop.

Today's question:

What science and nature activities do your grandkids most enjoy?