Dinosaur Unit

Ready to stomp, chomp, and roar? This week, your child will play paleontologist while developing fine and gross motor skills and learning about science, math, music, and cooking. 🦕 Want to track your progress? Click here for our printable tracker to log your books, activities, and skills learned.

Note: Occasionally we include project upgrades (for kids ready for more) and modifications (which can be useful for including younger siblings). We’ll mark those with the plus (+) or minus (-) symbols.

What you need:

Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):

Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):

What to do:

This is the order we recommend doing the activities in order to build on each skill your child will develop, but it is not required. Do what works for you and your child. If they love an activity, feel free to repeat! Not a winner? Skip and try the next thing. Have fun!

Lesson 1:

Start by introducing Smithsonian Kids: Digging for Dinosaurs. As you read, point out the different features of the dinosaurs. Ask your child what they think a dinosaur needed their horns or spikes or long necks for. Practice flapping like a pterodactyl or stomping like a T-Rex to engage their body awareness. Talk about paleontologists and what they do.

Activity 1: Dig a Dozen Dino Eggs Kit –  This fun dig activity will help your child how paleontologists discover dinosaur bones when they dig for fossils. There are 12 colorful dinosaurs in these eggs. Once they have opened as many as they would like to, use your books to match the dinosaurs to the ones in the pictures. (Note: You may want to use other kitchen tools to help your child open the eggs quicker if they get tired.)
(-) To involve a younger sibling, set up a “washing station” with a small bowl or plastic container where they can clean the dinosaurs after your older child gets them out of the egg.

Activity 2: Dinosaur Counting Game – Note: When you print the number cards, print two copies—you’ll use the second set for the Dino Beads activity tomorrow.

Lesson 2:

Read National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs. Practice pronouncing the different dinosaur names (it’s harder than it sounds!).

Activity 1: Print this coloring sheet. Introduce the letter D and discuss the sound it makes. Have your child trace the letter with their finger. Let your child try drawing the letter D themselves, or let them draw a dinosaur if they prefer. Then, have them color in the dinosaur figure and help them cut it out and glue it together.
(+) Ready for more writing practice? Write the word dinosaur out on lined paper and have your child copy the word underneath your sample for some copywork practice.

Activity 2: Dino Beads

Lesson 3:

Read Here We Go Digging Today, and get ready for some exploration of your own!

Activity 1: Dino Roll + Cover Game – Print page 5 of the linked PDF. Using a die, roll a number and then have your child identify that number. If you have opened up 6 of the dinosaurs from the dig, use a dinosaur to cover that number. If not, you can laminate this sheet and use a dry erase marker to cross the number out.
(-) Encourage your child to identify the number on the die without counting the dots if they can, but if they’re not ready for that yet, count away!
(+) To upgrade the activity, let your child use the dry erase marker to trace the number instead of crossing it off.

Activity 2: Use playdough and the dinosaur figurines to make your own fossils. Encourage your child to make dino footprints or to press the whole figurine into the playdough to replicate what a paleontologist might find.

Lesson 4:

Read Dinosaur Bones. For younger children, simply read through the large text at the top of each page. To upgrade the book, read through the extra dinosaur details in the smaller text. See which dinosaurs your child can recognize from previous activities.

Activity 1: Make Your Own Fossils – Note: This project needs to dry overnight, so prepare it today to dig out tomorrow.
Activity 2: Dino Stomp Song – Get up and encourage your child to act out the song with you! (Feeling crafty? Follow this tutorial to create simple dinosaur feet for stomping.)
(+) For a movement upgrade, have your child put their arms in their T-shirt like a T-Rex and then clean their room with their “dino arms.” (Promise you’ll get a laugh out of it!)

Activity 3: This cool podcast will help kids learn more about dinosaurs and also practice their listening skills. Ask your child these questions after you’re done listening:
1) This podcast talked about two groups of dinosaurs. Do you remember what they were called? A: carnivore and herbivore
2) What does a carnivore eat? A: Meat
3) What does a herbivore eat? A: Plants

(+) Write the words carnivore and herbivore on lined paper and instruct them to write the word just as you have written it beneath your sample. This is called copywork.

Lesson 5:

Re-read any favorite books from the week, then get ready to move! (Don’t forget to “dig” your fossils from yesterday!)

Activity 1: Dinosaur Twister
Activity 2: Bake Dino Print Cookies, and then stream a dinosaur movie for a family movie night. (We love The Land Before Time!)

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