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Dinosaur-themed Books & Activities to Enjoy with Young Children

Apr 20, 2023    |   Children’s BooksSTEM Learning

Young children are often fascinated by dinosaurs, intrigued by the fact that such large, uniquely-shaped creatures once roamed the earth. In this article, we share a variety of dinosaur-themed activities that encompass a range of early learning foundations – from science and mathematics to art and literacy. 

Dinosaur-themed Activities

Note: The activities included in this article incorporate the use of small plastic dinosaurs. If you don’t have any available in your classroom, you can likely find them at the Dollar Tree, or use any of the following links to find inexpensive options: Plastic Dinosaur Toys for Preschoolers, Alphabet Dinosaurs for Toddlers, or 6-Pack Realistic Dinosaur Toys

Dinosaur Stomp Painting

This simple activity requires just a few items: small plastic dinosaurs, various colors of tempera paint, and construction paper. To set up the project, offer different colors of paint to young children on a tray along with the dinosaurs. Start the activity by encouraging the children to pick up the dinosaurs and have them “stomp their feet” through the paint and then have them walk the dinosaurs across the construction paper to see what kinds of footprints they leave! 

Different dinosaurs might leave different shapes and sizes of footprints. You can incorporate some early math exploration into the activity by encouraging children to count the number of footprints they made on the paper for each dinosaur. You can also invite children to compare the sizes and shapes of the dinosaur footprints they’ve created. 

Hatching Frozen Dinosaur Eggs 

No matter what the weather is like outside, playing with ice is always a fun sensory experience for young children. This simple STEM activity involves melting icy dinosaur eggs so that children can discover what’s inside as they melt. There is a little bit of preparation involved, so it is best to get started on setting up this activity a day ahead of time.

The egg shape is made by placing the dinosaur toys in balloons, filling them up with water, tying them off with a knot, and then leaving them to freeze overnight. When the balloons are completely frozen, cut off the knot, and peel off the balloon to reveal an egg-shaped frozen ice cube that is shaped like a dinosaur egg. For the activity, offer the children warm water that they can pour over the eggs to melt the ice. This is especially fun to do with spray bottles or pipettes. 

Taste-safe Muddy Dinosaur Sensory Bin

This taste-safe sensory activity is great for toddlers and young preschoolers who might be interested in putting items in their mouths. All that’s needed for set-up are the following items: corn flour (or cornstarch), cocoa powder, a large plastic container, water, and plastic dinosaurs. Mix the cornstarch, cocoa powder, and water together in the container until it’s a thick, gooey consistency (depending on the age of the children in your care, you might invite little ones to help with the mixing). Put the gooey mixture into a bin, add the dinosaurs, and encourage the children to explore! 

This project can get messy, so consider setting it up outside to avoid having too much clean-up in your classroom! 

Dinosaur Dig Sensory Bin

This simple activity uses kinetic sand, dinosaur fossil skeleton toys, toothbrushes, and a large plastic bin to create an archeological dinosaur dig site. Put dinosaur skeleton toys in the bin and then put the kinetic sand on top to hide the dinosaurs. Encourage children to use plastic toothbrushes (if you don’t have toothbrushes available, dry paint brushes work, too!) to uncover the bones. If you have child-friendly magnifying glasses, these are especially fun for children to use as they discover and investigate the bones. 

Dinosaur-themed Children’s Books

Dinosaur Dance by Sandra Boynton 

Sandra Boynton books are often a favorite in infant and toddler classrooms, because of her fun, rhyming text, simple stories, and colorful imagery. This silly board book is full of humor, as dinosaurs do the Shimmy Shake and Cha, Cha, Cha. It will be enjoyed by little ones from infancy to three years old. Find this book at your local library or view a free read-aloud video here

Here We Go Digging for Dinosaur Bones written by Susan Lendroth & illustrated by Bob Kolar

This children’s book is written to the same tune as the song Here We Go Around the Mulberry Bush and invites budding paleontologists on a fossil dig to look for dinosaur bones. The story follows the explorers as they hike the trail, scan for bones, make a find, and then discover how to put the T. Rex together from its bones. Find this book at your local library or view a free read-aloud video here

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of the First Paleontologist written by Linda Skeers and illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns

This beautifully illustrated picture book shares the story of Mary Anning, whose discovery of dinosaur bones helped create the field of paleontology. The story of the dinosaur lady will inform and inspire young learners – especially young girls who have a special interest in STEM! 

Pick up this book at your local library or find a free read-aloud here

The Colorful World of Dinosaurs by Matt Sewell 

This book is best suited for older children in pre-k, as the text provides real facts and information about different kinds of dinosaurs. The book includes beautiful watercolor illustrations of dinosaurs, each with its own unique colors. The book explores what dinosaurs ate, the wingspan of various flying dinosaurs, what kinds of climates they lived in, and more.

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