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Dinosaurs for Kids: FUN Dinosaur Activities for a Hands-on Science Unit!

Looking for fun and educational dinosaur activities for kids? Right this way! After over a year of my oldest child being completely obsessed with dinosaurs 24/7 I’m practically a paleontologist.

Okay, okay not really. But I did learn how to incorporate dinosaurs into every aspect of our homeschool. Read on for dinosaur books and activities for reading, math, cooking, the arts, and science. It’s really all about the science.

Dinosaur Activities for Kids. Full unit study for kindergarten, preschool, elementary ages.

Dinosaurs for Kids!

A Unit Study for Kindergarteners,
Preschoolers, Homeschoolers, and
Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages

When my oldest was three he would sweetly creep into our bed in the morning, crawl up to my face, and whisper dinosaur facts. “Tyrannosaurs Rex has a head as big as a refrigerator.”

IMG_3545This is how I’ve been waking up for two years. No alarm clock necessary. I still have a minor heart attack every time.

The topics have changed, but dinosaurs is where it all started. We spent a solid year learning all about dinosaurs. It was a little like the child-led unit study that would never end… But my son loved it and learned a LOT. That’s what matters most.

Interest led, curriculum supported, Secular Homeschool

I love using unit studies in our homeschool. Most of our learning is interest led and curriculum supported, and I tend to choose products created by homeschoolers.

However, when I started to research dinosaurs I came across some *interesting* materials that are not based in science. On this page you will find only secular science resources for your dinosaur unit.


It can be frustrating finding secular materials for homeschool science. Find our favorite go-to resources here>>> 7 Science Resources to Engage, Excite, and Inspire


Books About Dinosaurs for Kids

When I let the oldest loose in the library, we hit the dinosaur section first every. single. time.We get a different a Dougal Dixon dinosaur book almost every week. A great introduction to the vast variety of dinosaurs, their features, habitats, and varying sizes. 

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These large picture books books are fairly short and easy to read. If your kid loves non-fiction dino books, these won’t make you want to go extinct before bedtime.

Vocabulary – Reading and learning about dinosaurs will expand your child’s vocabulary beyond what you can imagine. Use the real words. If they know meat-eater and plant-eater, they can also learn carnivore and herbivore. Don’t worry if you have no idea how to pronounce the words. We learned a lot of pronunciation from tv and movies. My kids have a lot of fun correcting me.

Other great non-fiction books about dinosaurs

  • Little Kids Big Book of Dinosaurs by National Geographic
  • Dinosaur! by DK Smithsonian
  • Digging Up Dinosaurs by Aliki
  • Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons

Dinosaur Themed Easy Readers

Introducing leveled readers into your unit study is a fantastic idea! Your child will love to read books that suit their interests. Plus, they will be building their reading confidence! Your child will begin to recognize the new vocabulary in their readers in the other picture books and texts you are looking at together!

There are tons of leveled books available for beginning readers. If you’re at the library, you will find some with the dinosaur books and others in the EZ section. Ask your librarian for assistance when you need it.

For sensitive children:

Be sure to preread if you have a sensitive little learner. When the oldest was three, he rationalized the more violent pictures by telling himself that the dinosaurs were eating the “sleeping dinosaur’s boo-boo.”  Aw. We also had a lot of talks about how a meteor is not going to hit the earth again and cause us all to go extinct.


Dinosaur Math Activities

Our collection of dinosaurs has grown exponentially. We used them as manipulatives for math this week and found out we are up to 101 dinosaurs. They are taking over the Earth again, starting with our house.

A few ideas:

  • Count your dinosaurs
  • Make sets of 2, 5, or 10 with your dinosaurs
  • Skip count using your sets
  • Add and subtract using dinosaurs
  • Create a pattern with color (or herbivore, herbivore, carnivore)
  • Sort dinos by size, color, pattern, or attributes

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Dinosaur Themed Recipes

8zSgd5kWe made two recipes for a special Dinosaur snack.

Dinosaur Egg Rice Krispie Treats form messforless 
Dino Dig Treat from apples4bookworms

It led to discussion about how dinosaur fossils have been discovered under many layers of sand, dirt, and rock, how the earth has changed since the time of the dinosaurs, and what a fossil hunter and archaeologist do.

All while stuffing our faces with pudding and graham crackers and rice krispie treats. It doesn’t get better than that.



51L8WWSpE6L._SX389_BO1,204,203,200_Character Development for Little Dinosaurs

I just can’t say enough about Jane Yolan and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs series.

We own three but have read nearly all of them. We have How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? memorized. I try to read it after every full-out-kicking-screaming melt down – which was daily for a while, there. Three years old was tough.


Related Post>>> Jane Yolan Author Study



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Dinosaur Music!

We love Marc and Neil Sedaka’s Dinosaur Pet. We got this as a gift when my oldest was two. The book comes with a CD – an adorable rendition of Neil Sedaka’s Calendar Girl reworked to teach the months of the year with a bit of dino humor (always appreicated).

Waking Up is Hard to Do also includes this song and is one of the least annoying children’s music cd’s I’ve heard.


Dinosaur Arts, Crafts, and Motor Skills

Oh the Dinosaur crafts. We probably have 101 of these, too. Some of my favorites were making dinosaur skeletons out of q-tips on black paper, making fossil imprints in playdoh, and cut and paste dinos made from geometric shapes.

But the most hilarious project was the frozen dinosaurs in ice. I laughed so hard watching the kids trying to get those suckers out. After picking and rubbing wasn’t working fast enough, they resorted to smashing them on the concrete.

And of course we had to try a dinosaur sensory bin. Let me tell you, it seems like a good idea until they start mixing the moon sand with the water and all the sudden you have children covered in batter.

Not like the adorable, Pinterest-worthy angel children on the blogs where I found these activities. But way funnier. Always funnier.


Dinosaur Activities to Work on Gross Motor Development

After you’ve learned about some different dinosaurs it’s fun to turn into one. Work those little muscles with crawling, stomping, reaching, and imitating dino features. Some fun ones:

BjNYoGallimimus runs like an ostrich.
Tyrannosaurus Rex was huge with little, tiny arms.
Microraptor was small and soared from branch to branch.
Stegosaurus walked slowly on four legs.
Plateosaurus could walk on two legs or four, reaching up into the trees for leaves to eat on it’s hind legs.
Diplodocus had the longest tail of any known dinosaur and used it like a whip for defense.


Kids Dinosaur Playlist

YouTube Playlist: Dinosaurs Kindergarten Playlist
Roughly 40 minutes of dinosaur fun. Enough time for a shower and hot cup of coffee. Enjoy.


Dinosaur Shows for Kids

There are more dinosaur shows and episodes than we could ever watch. Here are a few that they’ve asked for over and over:

Netflix:
Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs, Series
Little Einsteins, Quincy and the Instrument Dinosaurs, Season 2
Super Why, Baby Dino’s Big Discovery
Magic School Bus, Busasaurus

Prime:
Dinosaur Train (on PBS app, too), 7 Seasons
Dino Dan, 2 Seasons
Trek’s Adventures (Dino Dan), 2 Seasons

Movies:
The Good Dinosaur
Land Before Time Series (A million videos)
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs


Field Trips

Check out local museums for dinosaur exhibits, shows, and special events. I’ve seen several traveling exhibits come through our area, and we have a local museum with a  long-term exhibit and movie.

I highly recommend Dinosaur World if you live near Plant City, FL. Coupon
There are also locations in Texas and Kentucky. Adding those to our travel plans ASAP along with the Field Museum in Chicago to meet Sue.

If you can’t get to a museum just dump last night’s chicken bones in the sandbox at any local park. 

No. That is NOT okay. Don’t do that!

How about bringing some plastic dino toys for a sandbox dig at the park or just hide your chicken bones in your own garden. Better yet, just tell your kids there are fossils in the yard and point them toward the weeds.

Guaranteed they will find a fossil. So what if it’s just a rock? There’s nothing wrong with inspiring some creative play.


What kind of dinosaur is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below.

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