Activities for a Dinosaur Theme
Ideas and activities that enhance preschool and kindergarten curriculum about dinosaurs. Young children in early childhood classrooms learn about prehistoric creatures as they participate in these hands-on preschool activities.
Preschool Activities about Dinosaurs
Preschool and kindergarten children learn the names of various dinosaurs and some characteristic of each during this activity from Cathy W. that introduces one theory of how dinosaurs became extinct.
Description: Teachers pre record on a cassette tape a story which introduces the dinosaur's environment (place your plants on the set). Introduces each dinosaur puppet with some feature characteristics such as; plant or meat eater, protection against predators, etc. Place each dinosaur in turn, on the set.
Mention the theory of a meteor hitting the earth (lower a rock), causing ash to float in the air and block the sun (set up black construction paper all along the set). Mention that this killed off the plant life (take away the ferns), which in turn killed the plant eaters (remove plant eaters) and eventually the meat eaters (remove from the set). Dinosaurs became extinct.
A table turned on its side with a table cloth provides a good set. Tape the pieces on the edge as you place them on the set.
Perform the play as per the tape, adding / deleting pieces as necessary. The tape can be as elaborate or simple as appropriate for your class. After the play, review pertinent facts addressed in the play.
Comments: I used this with 3 different preschool
classes, with children ranging
from late 3's to 5 years old. I have
also used it in a kindergarten class. The children enjoy the puppet show
and are very attentive. They are able to remember all kinds of facts
about each dinosaur, the environment in which they lived, and what made
Materials: Large plastic dinosaurs, paper cups, sand, plaster of paris, toothbrushes, small paint brushes or any item you can think of to brush off the sand.
Description: In advance, teachers fill paper cups about half way with damp sand. Using the large dinosaurs make impressions in the sand with the footprints of the dinosaurs. Pour the plaster of paris over each impression and let dry. When the plaster is dry peel off the paper cups. Place in a sensory table with more sand. It doesn't matter if sand is still connected to the plaster. Add brushes to the table so the children can brush the sand off the fossils.
Comments: It is fun if you can make enough for each child. They love showing their parents their dinosaur fossils and then taking them home.
I'm a Mean Old
I'm a mean old Dinosaur
Comments: I thought this might scare
my three's, but they all giggled
Materials: 5 big dinosaur paws cut from cardboard, ABC's letters on the wall or on small papers.
Description: Teachers install the paws on the floor. Then, tell the students that there is a big volcano that just blew up and that to reach security, they have to cross on the footsteps. To be able to pass from one paw to the other, they have to name the letters you show them.
Comments: This is a good activity when you start a dinosaur theme and you can put more or less letters, depending on the moment of the year and what the students already know.
Comments: Ham it up!
5 Dinosaur Song
5 Dinosaurs driving in their cars (drive
1 dinosaur driving in his car
5 dinosaur driving in their car
Comments: If you get really into the motions,
the kids love this song! We sing it every day of Dino Camp!
Materials: Playdough - we made it chocolate scented to look like mud, juice can, plastic dinosaurs and plastic plants, blue gel glue and rocks. I got a bag of dinosaurs and plants for under $2 at Walmart.
Description: First we read the book "Dazzle the Dinosaur". Then we discussed where Dazzle lived and why the dinosaurs wanted to return to the cave. We discussed real dinosaurs and pretend dragons.
Next, we used the bottom cardboard from a case of soft drinks, I sprayed it black and green. The kids used playdough for mud and dirt, added rocks and plants and used the blue gel glue for a watering hole. We also covered a small juice can with playdough for a volcano. Then, we put the environment on display for the week and on Friday we had a "dino" party and made the volcano explode using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda.
Have extra vinegar and baking
soda available the kids wanted to see the volcano explode several
times and they wanted to show the parents at pickup time also.
Comments: The dinosaur theme is all time favorite!! It usually lasts for 2 weeks because the kids are so interested in it.
Measure up to
Materials: A book about dinosaurs with sizes included, masking tape, and a tape measure.
Description: Check the sizes of various dinosaurs in the dinosaur book, then use the tape measure to measure out the distance across the floor. Use the masking tape to create a line on the floor the same distance as measured.
I usually use two or three dinosaurs: to show a small one and a large one, like T-Rex or Apatasaur and a smaller dinosaur. I mark the name of each dinosaur next to the tape line and then have the children lie down at the end of the tape line and mark their name off at where they measure against the line. When finished the children can see how tall or long they were compared to the dinosaurs.
Comments: I have found that
the children really enjoy this activity and are very eager to show the
results to parents. The longest dinosaur I have ever used to measure
against was an Apatosaurus and the tape line extended the entire length
of a hallway and into another room! The other teacher, let us borrow the
Materials: Playdough of different colors, different plastic dinosaurs and 5x7 piece of poster board.
Description: Playdough helps strengthen the muscles in children's hands and at the same time is very enjoyable for them to play with.
To start I make several different colors of playdough out of a home made recipe. Before I start this project I have had the children sit down and draw their favorite dinosaur on paper. We have already discussed the different parts of a dinosaurs body: legs, head, neck, tail, spikes, horns, etc. Now we are ready for the fun part!
1. Put a plastic dinosaur in middle of each table.
2. Give each child a piece of poster board and let them pick out any color or colors of playdough. I provide enough playdough so that the children can easily shape at least three balls.
3. Tell the children to create their own dinosaur and name it.
4. Put the dinosaur on the poster board and write on it what the child named it. Also make sure the child's name is on it too. I like to display the dinosaurs out in the hallway and then I send them home.
Comments: Remember whatever the child names the dinosaur is great!! DO NOT change it in any way or form. Also do not change what they make even if it doesn't look like a dinosaur. They are always proud of what they create. This is their creation, not yours.
Lots of playdough recipes are in the Rainbow
Comments: After this I have the children try to come up dinosaurs and matching actions for us to do. The children love it!Spread your arms, way out wide,
Story time reading: Patrick's Dinosaurs by Carol Carrick.
Materials: Sand, clean chicken or turkey bones and Plaster of Paris.
Description: Teachers can
have children become a paleontologist (a scientist who specializes in
finding and studying ancient fossil remains) by bringing clean chicken
or turkey bones to school. Place each bone in wet, packed sand to
make an imprint. Remove the bone and pour Plaster of Paris into
the imprint (or mold). Let it harden and then remove it from the sand.
Have the children label and display their fossils.
Five enormous dinosaurs
Preschool learning activities, themes and ideas that enrich year round early childhood curriculum