Having a Preschool Dinosaur theme is always fun! Kids love learning about these giant creatures who roamed the Earth millions and millions of years ago. We had a fun week learning all about dinosaurs and doing some fun dinosaur crafts and activities, as well as finding some great info in a bunch of dinosaur books. So how do you teacher preschoolers about dinosaurs? By finding ways to make it fun! Here are a few of the fun dinosaur activities we did.
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Awesome Books About Dinosaurs for Preschoolers
Before we get into any activities and crafts, we need to know all there is to know about dinosaurs! Well, maybe not everything, but let’s learn some fun facts about dinosaurs. We read a lot of books about dinosaurs, but here were a few of our favorites.
Non-fiction Dinosaur Books
- Fossils by Carla Mooney – learn all about fossils with a book specifically about them. The Amazon listing is a bit expensive, but you can find this book at the library, or check out this cool book about fossils for kids!
- Fossil Hunters at Work – learn about two “fossil hunters”, and paleontologists. You’ll find out how some dinosaurs got their name 😉
- Dinosaur Giants – a great book about sauropods, which are giant, long-neck dinosaurs who are plant eaters.
- Dinosaur Discoveries – a great book with fun, colorful illustrations. This takes you through the different categories of dinosaurs such as sauropods, prosauropods, theropods, stegosaurs, etc. and describes what makes each type unique.
- Small and Tall Dinosaurs give quick, easy snippets of many individual types of dinosaurs and how big (or small) they were. Pictures and quick facts make it a fun preschool book about dinosaurs.
- I also recommend Super Simple Fossil Projects if you can find it at your library or are able to buy it. It has some fun, easy fossil-themed crafts and activities your preschooler will love.
Fiction Books with Dinosaur Characters
- Edwina – a fun Mo Willems book about a friendly dinosaur. Everyone loves her, except one kid who is trying to prove she is extinct. This book is kinda a classic. Even my older daughter saw it on our counter and said “oh I LOVE that book!”
- Rory the Dinosaur– There are a few Rory and the Dinosaur books. We read “Me and My Dad”- Rory is a young dinosaur who decides to go on an adventure of his own. He’s surprised how well he survives, and the only the reader can understand why.
- Danny and the Dinosaur– this series of books are so cute and nostalgic. I loved these as a kid. We read a few together and enjoyed stories of Danny and his dinosaur learning to ride a bike or go to school together.
Did you know: Dinosaur names come from Greek and Latin Roots. They are often named after their characteristics, where they are found, or after people who discovered them.
Theories of Dinosaur Extinction: What Happened to all the Dinosaurs?
Many scientists believe that a large asteroid hit the Earth around 65 million years ago. The asteroid hit off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. They say the asteroid was around 16 miles wide! With something that big coming that fast and from that far into the Earth, it really changed things up. A huge tidal wave came ashore. Huge dust clouds were formed. Earthquakes shook the Earth and volcanoes continued and began erupting.
Since the dust clouds were so large, the sunlight was blocked for a time. The herbivore dinosaurs no longer had plants to eat (no sun = no plants growing). Once the herbivores began dying, now the carnivorous dinosaurs had nothing to eat.
Some scientists also believe that an ice age may have set in at some point. With much of the Earth covered in ice, it was too cold for dinosaurs to survive.
Dinosaur Crafts for Preschool
These fun preschool dinosaur crafts are simple and yet fun. Grab a few supplies and enjoy!
Dinosaur Skeleton Painting
*Paper, painter’s tape, watercolors, pencil/sharpie*
Draw, trace, or print the outline of a dinosaur of your child’s choosing. Look up what the skeleton looks like of that dinosaur, or just imagine a general skeleton in a dinosaur. Use pieces of blue/painter’s tape to create the skeleton on your dinosaur. I used the skeleton in the Dinosaur Giants book (listed above) as a guide for our dinosaur.
Now, hand it to your preschooler with some watercolor paints and let them paint the dinosaur. It’s ok if they paint over the tape 🙂
Let the painting dry completely, and then remove all the paint pieces. They have now created a skeleton for their dinosaur.
3D Dinosaur Skeleton Craft
*Paper, pencil or crayon, scissors, cotton swabs (Q-tips), glue*
Draw or trace a dinosaur outline. Any type of dinosaur is fine. Cut up some cotton swabs (Q-tips) into different sizes, from tiny to large. Have your preschooler help you arrange the cut up cotton swabs on the dinosaur to create a skeleton. Then the preschooler can use some glue to adhere them.
Handprint Plated Dinosaur Craft
*Paper, pencil, crayons or watercolors, washable acrylic paint.*
Draw or trace the outline of a dinosaur of in the Stegasaur family. These types of dinosaurs have plated backs When you draw/trace one, do NOT draw on the plates on the back.
Let your child color or paint the dinosaur. When they are finished, dip the palm-side of their hand in paint (I painted on washable acrylic paint) and then have them stamp their hand along the dinosaur’s back. Their handprint will create the plates that the dinosaur was missing!
Baby Dinosaur Egg Preschool Craft
*Paper, pencil, scissors, crayons, brass fastener*
Did you know: Female dinosaurs lay eggs, and often will sit on them to keep them warm? You can make a fun dinosaur egg craft with your preschooler.
Draw two egg-shaped ovals, trying to get them as close to the same as possible. Draw a crack all the way through one of them. Then draw the top half of a dinosaur, just big enough for the top half of one of the ovals.
Have your child cut out each egg, including the line that cracks the egg. They can also color and cut out the little dinosaur.
Glue the little dinosaur onto the whole oval, making sure it takes up the top half. Glue the bottom half of the cracked egg onto the bottom half of the first/whole oval. Use a brass fastener to attach the top half of the cracked egg, puzzling it together as best as you can with the lower half.
Looking for more Preschool Fun? Check out our other posts!
Build a Dinosaur – Preschool Craft
*Different colors of paper, scissors, glue, optional googly eyes*
This preschool dinosaur craft really lets the child use some imagination. I began by cutting out the basic pieces to a dinosaur: legs, tail, body, head/neck, triangles for the plates on the back, etc. We also threw in some googley eyes because those make everything more fun 😉 You can cut pieces in different sizes for many options (I cut half circle as well as some circular body shapes).
Give your child the papers with just a tad of guidance as to what is what, and then let them assemble their own dinosaur. It’s fun to see what they create. I had in my mind building a dinosaur from the side, but when my daughter put it together, she built it as if the dinosaur was facing her.
*Piece of paper, piece of brown paper, tissue paper (red, yellow, and/or orange), glue, scissors*
One of the contributing factors to dinosaurs disappearance was the volcanoes erupting. Because of the volcanoes, scientists have been able to find fossils as evidence of dinosaurs existence.
To make a volcano craft, draw the cone shape of a volcano on a piece of brown paper. Have your child cut it out and glue it onto another piece of paper. Then, have your child rip up small pieces of tissue paper and slightly crumple them. Glue them onto the volcano at the top and dripping down it.
Dinosaur Sensory Bin for Preschool
We made a big container of cloud dough for our dinosaur sensory bin. This made it easy and fun to dig for fossils, make tracks, and just play around. And, it vacuums up nicely when your child is finished 🙂
To make cloud dough, combine 8 cups of flour with 1 cup of baby oil. Mix it up really well with a wooden spoon or preferably your hands. It will take a few minutes, and you will be able to tell when the texture has changed. It will still be powdery, but if you squeeze a handful together it will stay in a clump.
Now that you have your sand for digging, add a few toy dinosaurs and a couple scoops or spoons. My daughter will play in this forever, and then her older siblings will join the
mess fun when they get home.
Make sure to make some dinosaur tracks in the cloud dough. Explain to your child that this is how some fossils were made that we see today. The dinosaur made a footprint, and over time it was covered by sand, dirt, water…and preserved its shape until it was discovered today.
Dinosaur Science for Preschool
We learned a big word during preschool: Paleontologist. A Paleontologist is someone who searches for and studies fossils. During preschool, we decided to become a paleontologist.
Fossil Dig – Dinosaurs for Preschool
To do this, first use the cloud dough from the sensory bin and put it in a big container (if not already in one.)
Then, cut out a few paper bones. Glue them onto cardboard and cut out. This will make it more sturdy and easier to find. Hide the bones in the cloud dough. Give your preschooler a little scoop or spoon to dig around. Once they find a bone, they can use a paintbrush to dust off the bone gently (we wouldn’t want to break or damage such an old piece of history!)
Making Your Own Fossils from Salt Dough
Making fossils at home is really fun. The kids love to stamp the dough and watch it bake. Plus, it’s a great way to show what a real fossil may look like in the ground today after millions of years.
To make the salt dough, combine 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup water, and 1 cup flour. Flatten it out about 1/4-inch and cut it into pieces (we used a cup to cut circles.) Then use a dinosaur toy to press footprints into the dough. You can even lay the dinosaur down to see what kind of imprints it will make.
Put your dough pieces onto a cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees F for about 3 hours. Take them out and allow to cool completely.
Your child can now see and play with the finished fossil!
Looking for more dinosaur fun? Check out these fun and interactive learning activities:
Life-Size Dinosaur Footprint
A short article on Live Science showed us a story of paleontologist who found a dinosaur footprint in Montana. The footprint was 2-1/2 feet long! Scientists guess it was a tyrannosaur of some sort, perhaps a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
To demonstrate this, we made a large dinosaur footprint that was 2-1/2 feet long. I used some butcher paper (I use it for so many things!) to draw and cut out the footprint.
Then we added a little math. My daughter stood on one end of the footprint and measured how many of her feet it takes to get across. The dino footprint was over 5 of my daughter’s feet…nice and big!
Dinosaur Activities for Preschoolers
Those are the fun dinosaur activities we did for dinosaur week in preschool! If you are looking for worksheets to practice writing, cutting, puzzles, matching, and more with a dinosaur theme, I highly recommend these printables at 123 Homeschool 4 me.
My little girl loved all the dinosaur crafts and activities, but every day when we were done, she always made her way back to the sensory bin to have some good, messy fun.
Which dinosaur craft or activity did your little one enjoy the most? Let me know in the comments!
Don’t forget to check out our other Preschool Themes.
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