Laing brothers Rylan, left, and Spencer pose in front of one of the paper mache dinosaurs their father made as part of a school initiative at Cambridge Elementary. (Photo: Amy Reid)

Out with a roar: Dinosaurs take over forest at Surrey school on last week of class

Six colourful creatures painted by Grade 3 students led youngsters on an expedition in the outdoor classroom

Cambridge Elementary’s Division 18 didn’t spend the last week of school winding down, but rather went out with a roar, painting a half dozen paper mache dinosaurs for a special “expedition” in the school’s outdoor forest classroom.

Along with their equally enthusiastic teacher, the Grade 3 students spent Monday painting six paper-mache dinosaurs, which one father spent weeks crafting.

“I’m always painting, and our glue guns are going all the time,” said Ms. Vogstad. “So we helped but it was Spencer’s dad who did the most. We painted them.”

And researched the animals, of course.

“I think in Division 18 we have about three dinosaur experts,” Vogstad chuckled. “Sometimes people think the last week of school, things are slowing down, but no, no, no, we are still engaged.”

Kim Laing – wife of Robert Laing, who did “a lot of the heavy lifting” in creating the dinosaurs – said it was a “10-hour odyssey of painting” at the school on Monday.

“And the kids were encouraged to be fanciful with their painting,” Kim added.

And fanciful they were. The end result was six colourful dinosaurs, complete not only with paint and realistically-shaped teeth, but also descriptions of each animal on a board in front of it.

Water creatures were suspended in air by string, as were any airborne creatures.

Once all that hard work was completed on Monday, the school’s kindergarten and Grade 1 students spent Tuesday venturing through the forest, on an expedition to find all the dinosaurs and also armed with booklets to fill out after learning about each creature.

“So what the name of it was, how do I move, what do I eat, and what time period,” explained mom Kim. “This guy’s a plant eater, a long neck. Walked and swam. He’s an herbivore.”

There was also a “fossil dig” set up for the young students to explore, she noted.

The Laing boys – Spencer, Grade 3 and Rylan, kindergarten – took the Now-Leader on a tour of the forest Tuesday afternoon.

“This one’s not very well camouflaged,” said Rylan, smirking.

Spencer boasted of his efforts in helping with the paper mache – although it seems he’s had enough.

“I got sick of paper mache after a while,” Spencer remarked matter-of-factly. “If you work too hard straight on paper mache, you’ll get tired of it.”

Mom Kim said paper mache is a passion her husband has enjoyed for about 20 years and estimated it took him about two months to get these creatures crafted.

“So what he does is he takes newspaper and he makes the mold using newspaper and duct tape. Then you paper mache the mold. Then you have to cut parts of it off, the mold, and then put them back together again…. the legs come off separate, then you have to piece it all back together again. That’s why it’s such a process.”

Three of the dinosaurs were actually from Spencer’s sixth birthday party.

“We pulled three out of the attic and rebuilt them, then we built three more. So he’s done a 10-foot skeleton that’s a Halloween costumer. It comes to the Cambridge dance. It’s like a marionette. Then he’s done a nutcracker for the entrance to the Christmas dance,” said Kim.

Sadly, with rain in the forecast, the dinosaurs were expected to be removed from the forest on Tuesday.

“So I think the question now is what we going to do with the dinosaurs? Back in the attic I guess,” said Kim.

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(Mom Kim Laing with her sons Spencer, left, and Rylan. Photo: Amy Reid)



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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