Dinosaurs may be extinct but there’s still loads we can learn about them and we can have heaps of fun doing it too! This list of dinosaur activities can provide you with opportunities to teach your children about dinosaurs and to talk about words your child may not know yet. Make sure you use and define terms such as extinct, fossil, endangered and prehistoric within these play ideas.
1. Listen to dinosaur songs
A gentle introduction to dinosaurs can be achieved by listening to dinosaur songs. It’s a very popular topic so there are many variations out there. We searched You Tube and found some impressive dinosaur animations too. Miss Possum’s favourite song is Dinosaur Roar by Justine Clarke. It made our top wildlife song list. You can watch it here.
2. Watch dinosaur movies
In a previous post, I showed you that watching a movie isn’t all that bad if coupled with further educational play ideas. Here’s a little list of our favourite dinosaur movies:
- Ice Age
- The Land Before Time
- Jurassic Park (for the older children)
- Disney’s Dinosaur
3. Go to the museum
We’ve been to the museum before and we loved that visit. Sadly, it took us over a year to go back but when we did, we had a blast. Our museum displayed dinosaur bones and they even had an exhibit donated to dinosaur fun for children. Our visit was a perfect way to extend learning for more educational dino fun.
4. Read dinosaur books
There’s a heap of fascinating and enjoyable books related to dinosaurs. Here’s just a few we love:
- First Dinosaur Encyclopaedia by Caroline Bingham
- Dinosaur Roar by Paul Stickland
- Digging Up Dinosaurs by Aliki
- The Dirty Great Dinosaur by Martin Waddell
- The Little Dinosaur by Catriona Hoy
5. Visit kid-friendly dinosaur websites
Here are some terrific dinosaur websites for technological savvy children. Parental supervision may be required for younger children.
6. Make dinosaur footprints
We studied some dinosaur footprints online and were lucky enough to see a replica of the Lark Quarry trackway at the museum. It’s the only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede in the world and shows more than 3,000 dinosaur footprints. When we got back, we made dinosaur footprints in the sand and measured them against our own.
Here’s a great dinosaur footprint activity for older children. What can fossil footprints tell us?
7. Learn about dinosaurs through play
I bought some cheap dinosaur toys and off we went. The sand pit made for a great play area. We learnt that some dinosaurs eat meat, while others eat plants, some swim and some fly and of course we roared a lot! You can bring in the names of the dinosaurs here if you think your child is ready to go one step further.
You can also use these printable dinosaur masks for prehistoric play including a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and Stegosaurus!
8. Learn about fossils
Fossils are preserved remains or traces of animals and plants. Examples include footprints moulded in mud or petrified organisms. Learn more about fossils together with your child by borrowing some books from the library or looking them up on the internet.
9. Make fossils
Buy some powdered plaster at a local craft shop and make your own fossils.
10. Palaeontologist play
After you’ve made fossils, why not become palaeontologists? Use small garden tools and paint brushes and dig up those fossils. I even hid some dried out chicken bones in the sand pit for Miss Possum too!
Miss Possum has always loved dinosaurs, and so have I. There’s something intriguing about an entire ecosystem of larger-than-human predator and prey species that just… disappeared. I can’t wait to continue to learn more about them with her. We may not ever be able to see one (thankfully) but we both have great imaginations that can take us back to prehistoric times any day we want!
Extend their learning
- What was the environment like back in dinosaurs times? Research this topic.
- Find out how long ago dinosaurs lived.
- Research the many theories on how dinosaurs became extinct. What do you think happened?
- Make a prediction about what would happen if we brought dinosaurs back to life (ask this question before watching Jurassic Park).