Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for learning about dinosaurs
Look for the Dinosaur Grid Game on the Grid Games page.
Dinosaur Pasta Skeleton
Look for the two Dinosaur Bingo Games on the Bingo Games page.
Look for the Dinosaur cards on the Picture Cards for Themes page.
Dinosaur Printable Book
Brontosauruses and triceratops traveled in herds. Children are put into two groups: brontosaurus and triceratops. The groups travel (crawl) to various destinations around the classroom together in their herd. They must stay with the herd and not get lost!
Play Dough Skeletons
[Fine Motor Skills]
Read the blog post here: Dinosaur Pasta Skeletons
Dinosaur Stencil Books
[Fine Motor Skills]
Children make a book with paper and stapler. They trace dinosaur stencils with markers onto the pages of the book. Many children ask me to spell the dinosaur names so they can write them in the book.
[Fine Motor Skills, Science]
We add small toy dinosaurs with the play dough. Children make dinosaur fossils and footprints in the play dough. Children use this at center time for exploration. We also make one dinosaur fossil using Mexican self-hardening clay which the children can keep.
“If You Take a T-Rex to School” Class Book
We read the book “If You Take a Mouse to School” and make a dinosaur book patterned after that story. Children choose a dinosaur to draw, and think of what might happen if that dinosaur came to school. The teachers write the children’s dictation on the pages, and put the pages together to make a book. To make our class books, I use “presentation book covers” from an office supply store or Walmart. It has a sturdy plastic cover with a clear insert, and the pages are also clear inserts. I just slip in a page for the front cover, and slip in the children’s pages inside. These can be reused.
This is an activity that goes with any theme. Choose a book that goes with the theme, and have the children retell the story.
Read the blog post here for details: story retelling
Dino Stamping Game
Write a letter or numeral on each dinosaur, and make a copy for each child. Children will draw a number or letter card from a stack (or roll a die), find that letter/numeral on their mat, and stamp it out. You can use rubber stamps or bingo dot markers. As an alternative, you can have children draw an “X” over the dinosaur if stamps or bingo dot markers are not available.
Use plastic dinosaur counters to cover the letter/number/shape on the bingo cards. We use these to play alphabet bingo, number bingo, shape bingo, or rhyming bingo.
Dino Footprint Estimation
We have a large paper outline of a Tyrannosaurus Rex footprint. We estimate how many children’s feet would fit inside the T-Rex footprint, and write our guesses on the board. Each child’s footprint is traced on the T-Rex footprint. We trace as many footprints as we need. Then we count the footprints and compare our estimates.
Dino Board Game
The children work in small groups of about 4 players. Each group has a game board with a basket of dinosaur counters in the middle. Children roll the dice, and move their play piece the correct number of times on the dinosaur bones. When they land on a dinosaur, they collect a dinosaur counter. The group plays until the basket is empty, then count to see who has the most dinosaurs.
Dinosaur War Card Game
Each pair of children has a set of Dino War cards. The cards have various amounts of dinosaur stickers on them. Each player lays down a card from their pile, and compares the amount of dinosaurs on each card to see which has the most. The child with the most on the card collects both cards. If they are equal, both children keep their own card. At the end of the game, they count to see who has the most cards. Some children get upset if they do not win, so we often play without counting at the end to see who has the most. They enjoy the game just as much or more.
Children use dinosaur “bones” of various lengths (cut from felt), line Unifix cubes along the bone, and count how many cubes fit on the bone.
We use poster board for a base, and build a mountain with play dough around a 20-ounce drink bottle. Then we place small toy dinosaurs on the sides of the mountain. Red food color is added to vinegar. We put baking soda in the bottle with a funnel, pour in the vinegar, and watch the volcano erupt!
Dinosaur bone replicas (these are replicas I found at a museum gift shop)
Fossils (real or made)