Preschool dinosaur activities

These preschool dinosaur activities commence with a believed experiment. If you have been presented a dwelling dinosaur to consider treatment of, what would you do? There are no principles, and little ones can use a range of props to convey their suggestions to daily life. The target is to study about dinosaurs, assume imaginatively, remedy functional challenges, and retain a record of your discoveries.

toddler girl playing outside with four different plastic dinosaur toys, including a sauropod, Pachycephalosaurus, and hadrosaur


To get started, you will will need at the very least a person toy dinosaur, ideally 1 that is fairly exact in its representation. Then you’ll want to enable assist your boy or girl find out far more about the creature. What did it try to eat? How did it go? Do researchers feel it lived by itself or in groups? A excellent on the web useful resource for dad and mom and academics is the opens in a new windowDino Listing of the Natural Record Museum of London.

In addition, you’ll will need to gather objects for constructing a creature habitat. Objects like:

  • toy blocks
  • cardboard boxes, tubes, canisters, or egg cartons
  • bowls
  • sand, clay, rocks, moss, leaves, conifer needles

Encourage faux participate in with dinosaur “zookeeping”

You can get young children started out by asking a simple dilemma. “What if you experienced a real (insert creature name in this article) to consider treatment of?” What would you do?

Toy Maiasaur (duckbill) in homemade zoo habitat -- with rocks, leaves, moss, a cup of water, and a dandelion flower.
Toy Maiasaur (duckbill) in home made zoo habitat. Image by Parenting Science.

For youthful young children, tackling this problem may consist of creating a crude creature habitat, and, possibly, thinking of the animal’s desires for food stuff and h2o.

More mature little ones could possibly confront a lot more complicated difficulties, like figuring out how to subdue a risky, wounded dinosaur so it can get medical treatment.

Depart children free to create their have situations, but be completely ready to participate. You can promote participate in by asking questions.

  • What should really you feed your creature?
  • Where will it slumber?
  • What supplies can the creature use to create a nest?
  • Where by can the creature lay eggs or hold its toddlers risk-free and warm?
  • What can the creature do for exercising?
  • How can you keep the creature from having bored?

Grow enjoy to involve other preschool dinosaur activities, which includes the pursuing.

Feeding herbivores: Preschool dinosaur activities about eating plan

Foodstuff research and “taste test”

There have been quite a few herbivorous dinosaurs, and some of these can be identified as plastic toys, like sauropods, “duckbills” (hadrosaurs), Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and some others. Talk with your child about what types of plant foods your creature could have eaten. Then launch a mission: Let us glance for foods to supply the dinosaur.

Egg carton filled with potential foods to feed a toy dinosaur - leaves, seeds, garlic glove, apple core, broccoli
Graphic by Parenting Science

Your youngster can consider searching outdoors in a inexperienced space – a park, garden, or backyard. You may well also consider raiding your individual kitchen area. Stimulate your kid to obtain smaller samples of feasible meals goods, such as wide leaves, grass blades, berries, conifer needles, and flower petals. A helpful way to form and retailer your child’s selection is to use a recycled egg cartoon.

Some meals could not have existed during the time when your creature was alive, so you can go over this if you’d like. It’s possible your creature will be inclined to consider a little something new!

To expand this exercise, you can question your youngster to phase a fake “taste test” – presenting every foods form to the dinosaur, and then choosing if the dinosaur “likes” it. Your kid can choose notes on the results of the style exam, either by drawing pics or owning you aid with a penned document of the final result.

An experiment with “gizzard stones”

Three sequential images: 1. three pebbles with arugula leaves 2. everything in a plastic bag 3. arugula leaves after having been crushed with stones in bag
Arugula leaves and pebbles. Set them all in a plastic bag and grind the leaves with the pebbles. What happens? Visuals by Parenting Science.

Paleontologists believe that some toothless, plant-eating dinosaurs swallowed gastroliths or “gizzard stones” — stones that remained in a muscular component of the tummy, where by they aided grind up tough, fibrous meals (University of California Museum of Paleontology 2007).

You can have your little one take a look at the efficiency of gizzard stones by placing numerous stones in a paper or plastic bag with some leaves. (You can use salad greens if you favor). Aid your little one wad up and twist the bag, experience for the stones within just, and grinding them with the leaves. Then open up the bag and see what has happened. Are the leaves mashed up now?

Generating tracks: Preschool dinosaur pursuits applying plastic toys

toy dinosaur feet being pressed into clay and leaving tracks
Image by Parenting Science

Make dino-tracks by dipping the toy’s ft in finger paint and stamping foot prints on to paper. Alternatively, roll out some clay and have kids make impressions. Then stimulate young children to take a look at the toys’ ft, and talk to these issues:

  • What do the feet glimpse like?
  • What form are they?
  • Do the dinosaur’s toes remind you of the toes of any other animals? Which ones?

Youngsters can hold keep track of of their observations in a zoo keeper’s log (under).

If you have several diverse toys, you can also do the job backwards — commencing with the footprints. Make footprints for just about every toy, then question kids to examine the prints and the toys. Can they guess (predict) which toys built each established of prints? Have kids check out their predictions by making their have prints. For associated concepts, see my Parenting Science article, Preschool and kindergarten science functions about tracking animals.

Recording observations

Maintain a document of your preschool dinosaur things to do with a zookeeper’s log or scrapbook. Your boy or girl can attract shots, and dictate created notes for you to include. You can also consist of images of your creature’s footprints, photographs of its habitat, and physical specimens representing your creature’s chosen food or nesting material. Flat specimens, like leaves, can be pasted immediately on to paper. Other components can be stored in plastic luggage and stapled in area.

Building comparisons

Look at the sizing of your creature with the size of other, living animals. If your toy ended up existence-size, how significant would it be? Aid young children have an understanding of dimension variances by comparing their creature to animals and objects they are acquainted with. Would the creature be the measurement of a chicken? An grownup human? A college bus?

Preschool activities: More thoughts

On the lookout for far more? These educating suggestions might encourage you to  opens in a new windowgenerate a lot more preschool dinosaur actions on your personal. And examine out my  opens in a new windowpreschool science activities web page. There you will come across the directions for several experiments and initiatives, as effectively as science-dependent strategies for presenting science to youthful small children.


This scientific paper discusses the proof for gastroliths in a number of kinds of dinosaur:

Wings O and Sander PM. 2007. No gastric mill in sauropod dinosaurs: new proof from analysis of gastrolith mass and functionality in ostriches. Proc Biol Sci. 274(1610):635-40.

For a less complex account of gastroliths in dinosaurs, see opens in a new windowthis post on the College of California Museum of Paleontology web-site.

Material previous modified 3/2022

image of kid with toy by Alina Demidenko / iStock

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