Dinosaurs Theme for Preschool

Triceratops, Brontosaurus and the ever popular T-Rex! This dinosaurs theme is endless in the possible activities and adventures your preschoolers can participate in!

This themed page is filled with preschool activities and ideas for all areas of your classroom.

Let the Theme planning begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.

DINOSAUR THEME ACTIVITIES

Art Activities Block Area

Circle Time Activities Cooking Recipes

Dramatic Play Ideas Easel Ideas

Gross Motor Games Library and Literacy

Math And Manipulatives Activities Music and Movement

Sand and Water Table Science Activities

Songs and Fingerplays Writing Activities

Art Activities

Dinosaur Theme Art

Swamp Picture

Materials Needed: finger paint paper, brown finger paint, dirt or soil, grass and rubber bands cut into pieces for "worms")

Put brown paint in the middle of the paper. Let the children add dirt/soil, grass and worms as they paint!

When dry, place them on a table and provide dino sorters to move in the Swamp pictures!

Collage

Materials Needed: dino-shaped pasta, scraps of colored paper, glue, full sheets of construction paper

The children use the dino pasta to make a prehistoric collage. The colored scraps of paper can be used for them to make volcanoes, trees, etc.

Dino-Shirts

Materials needed: T-Shirts, fabric paint and dino shaped sponges.

Put thin layers of paint in shallow trays. The children then stamp away on their T-Shirts.

VARIATION: Provide fabric paint in the small tubes. Pre-trace dino shapes on the shirts and have the children use the paint to trace the outlines of the shapes.

Macaroni Skeletons

Materials Needed: (uncooked) pasta- thin spaghetti, elbow macaroni, rigatoni, etc.

After reading about your favorite prehistoric dino, provide papers with dinos drawn on them. The children can create the skeleton bones from the pasta.

Dino Crowns

Materials needed: paper crowns (premade); dino stampers and stamp pads

In advance, create paper crowns and let them stamp away! Provide different colors of stamp pads for them!

Play Dough Fossils

Materials needed: white playdough, dino sorters

Have the children make the playdough into balls and then flatten them.

They then press the side of a dino sorter into the playdough to make fossils.

EXTENSION: Let the fossils dry. When dry, let the children paint them using watercolor paints.

Create A Prehistoric Creature

Materials needed: construction paper, scissor, glue sticks, googly eyes

Encourage the children to cut different shapes out of paper. They then glue the pieces on to make their own dino!

Recycled from Extinction

Materials needed: Items from your recycle bins (water bottles, boxes, etc.); scraps of paper, googly eyes.

Let the children explore the materials and then glue items together to create a new recycled prehistoric creature!

Have the children name them and then place them on display around the room!

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Block Area

Dinosaur Theme Block Center Ideas

Dino Cars

Materials needed: shoe boxes, yogurt container covers (4 for each box) and brad fasteners (for each yogurt cover).

With box opening facing up, make 4 holes on the sides (near the bottom) to attach the "wheels" to.

Hole punch one hole in the middle of each yogurt container cover.

Place the cover over the hole in the box and attach using a brad fastener.

Repeat for the other three "wheels".

Make and place as many of these as you wish to the block area.

Also provide small dinos (sorters or mini stuffed animals) for them to take on rides.

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Circle Time Activities

Dinosaur Theme Circle Time Ideas

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about theme!

Prehistoric Chart

Start your theme by hanging a large piece of paper on the wall at circle time. Ask the children what they know about these prehistoric reptiles! Write their responses on the chart.

Offer some basic facts for them when they are done (if they haven't already told YOU about it!):

The word DINOSAUR means terrible lizard.

People never saw a real one--people were not alive when the dinosaurs were.

Some were HERBEVOIRS--they ate only plants, they were vegetarians.

Some were CARNIVOIRS--they ate meat.

Some were large and some were small.

They were hatched from eggs.

There are real fossils in the world (see if you can find some online to print and show them).

They are EXTINCT, nobody knows for sure why the all died.

Felt Board Counting

Materials Needed: Felt board, dinos cut out of different colors.

Give each child a felt cut out and ask them to place it on the board as you sing the colors:

Sung to the tune of "One Little, Two Little"

1 red, 1 blue 1 green dinosaur.

1 orange, 1 yellow, 1 white dino,

1 pink, 1 brown, 1 black dino

1 purple dino...

10 dinosaurs in all.

Repeat as needed so that each child has a turn.

My Favorite Prehistoric Creature!

Materials: A marker, 1 piece of construction paper for each child

Ask the children, one at a time, what their favorite prehistoric dino is and one fact about it. Write what they say on the paper.

"I like longnecks. They have long necks and long tails"

Provide the papers to the children at the art or writing table and let them draw their dino and decorate their page.

EXTENSION: When complete, staple together as a class book and read at the next circle time and then place it in the library!

Opposite Talk

After reading Dinosaur Roar, talk about and practice opposites. Whisper your names. What is the opposite? YELL your names! Close your eyes...what is the opposite? OPEN your eyes, etc.

5 Ferocious Herbivores

Materials needed: 5 herbivore dino counters or stuffed animals and one carnivore. Act out the following:

5 ferocious herbivores playing in the swamp.

Eating yummy plants, chomp, chomp, chomp.

Along came a carnivore as LOUD as could be and.....gulp! (move one herbivore aside)

Continue backwards to 0!

Place in your library area for the children to use during the day.

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Cooking Recipes

Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Theme!

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific Space theme questions while making these fun snacks!

Prehistoric Toes and Nails

Ingredients and Items needed: whole wheat bread, soft margarine, plastic knives, toaster

In advance, cut some triangles out of the bread from the top of each slice of bread (to resemble a foot with toes!)

Toast the bread.

Give each child a slice of the toasted bread.

They spread their bread (toes!) with butter and then stick on the triangles you previously cut for nails!

Skeleton bones

Ingredients and Items Needed: refrigerated breadstick dough (an 11 ounce tube makes 10-12 bones); coarse salt; plastic knife

Unroll the tube of dough and separate the rectangular pieces.

Stretch each piece with the children to make it a bit longer.

Use the knife to help the children cut a 1 1/2 inch slit in the middle of each one.

Roll or shape the 4 corners into knobs that look like the ends of a bone.

Place bones on an ungreased baking sheet...a few inches apart.

Sprinkle some salt on them.

Bake until they are light golden brown (about 9-12 minutes).

Stone Age Drinks

Ingredients and items needed: milk, banana, kiwi, lemon juice, yogurt

In a blender have children measure in:

1 cup of milk

1 sliced banana

1 sliced kiwi

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

8 ounce of vanilla or plain yogurt

YUM!

Fossils

Ingredients needed: round crackers (like Ritz); 1 tub soft cream cheese or other spread (see the next recipe for a great dip!); goldfish crackers; celery leaves

Help the children to spread the cheese or spread onto a cracker with a knife. Press any of the items listed into the spread and lift up to see the fossils!

Diplodocus Dip

Ingredients needed: 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 TBSP chopped onion, 2 TBSP parsley, 1 TSP dill weed.

Children help to put all the ingredients into a bowl.

Mix together.

Chill for about an hour.

children help to cut up some fresh vegetables (tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, celery, etc.).

Dino Dip

Ingredients needed: ranch dressing, green food coloring; assortment of vegetables, plastic knives

Have the children help cut some vegetables (broccoli, celery, tomatoes, etc.)

Mix a drop of green food coloring into the ranch dressing and let the children take turns mixing.

Enjoy!

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Dramatic Play Ideas

Dinosaur Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area

Prehistoric Home

Make a cave by hanging a sheet over the dramatic play area or by adding a tent. Provide stuffed dinos, blankets, artificial flowers and bushes. Hang crepe paper from the ceiling. Place a blue sheet on the floor for the water they would drink or bathe in. Provide plastic eggs with baby dinos in them.

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Easel Ideas

Theme Ideas for your Easel--More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Prehistoric Shapes

Materials Needed: Different prehistoric reptile shapes and water colors.

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Gross Motor Games

Themed Large Group Games that help build their muscles while they have fun together

Feed the T-Rex

Materials needed: Poster board, utility knife, markers, bean bags

Draw a large T-Rex head on the poster board. Use the knife to cut out a large mouth (with teeth!).

Secure it to a chair, table or doorway.

The children use the bean bags to feed the T-Rex!

Dino Swamp

Are you brave enough to do this one?!!

Materials needed: Wading pool, dirt and water!

In advance, ask parents to send their children in with their bathing suits!

Make mud in the wading pool and STOMP!

Paleontologist Hunt

Materials needed: Dino items to hide!

Hide theme related items outside: mini dinos, stuffed dinos, dino bones cut out from cardboard, plastic eggs with mini-dinos in them.

Move Like they Did!

Materials: Pictures of different dinos. Talk about how they moved (fly, walk on 2 legs, on 4 legs, little steps, big steps?

As you discuss each one, have the children move to the other side of the room like that dino!

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Library and Literacy

Themed Ideas for Your Library and Literacy Activities for your Preschool Classroom

Book Suggestions for the Library

I have a set of Usborne Dinosaur books available for sale! Get your prehistoric book collection started at a great price!

Click here to see the set of Dinosaur Books for sale

Bones, bones, Dinosaur Bones by Byron Barton

Curious George and the Dinosaur

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

Dazzle the Dinosaur by Marcus Pfister

Dinosaur Babies by Lucille Penner

Dinosaur Roar by Paul Strickland

Dinosaur Stomp by Paul Strickland

Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton

Dinosaur Dreams by Allen Ahlberg

The Dinosaur Egg Mystery by Val Biro

Patrick's Dinosaurs by Carol Carrick

Terrible Tyrannosaurus by Elizabeth Charlton

Tyrone the Horrible by Hans Wilhelm

Whatever Happened to the Dinosaurs by Bernard Most

NON-FICTION BOOKS

Digging Up Dinosaurs by Aliki

Dinosaur Bones by Aliki

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Math And Manipulatives Activities

Themed activities to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands!

Saurus File Folder Game

Help your children make their own file folder game!

Materials needed: File folders (1 for each child), dino cut outs (precut from construction paper- make 2 of each one that you make) or dino stickers, glue sticks and markers.

Let children glue on (or use stickers) cut outs inside the file folder.

They can decorate the folder as well. Encourage them to write their names on the outside of the folder.

Laminate the second set of dino cut outs or stickers.

The children then find the dino that matches what is in their folder and place it, count them, etc.

Estimation Foot Station

Materials: LARGE prehistoric footprints made from construction paper.

In small groups, encourage children to guess how many of them will "fit" into the foot prints. Write down their estimates.

The children then all try to stand in the footprint, count how many friends fit and then compare it to the number they estimated.

Prehistoric Memory Game

Materials Needed: Prehistoric sets of stickers and juice lids.

Make pairs of matching lids. The children then use them as a traditional memory game by placing them face down and turning over 2 to see if they match. If they do, they put them aside. If they don't match, they flip them back over and try again.

I recommend starting with only a few pairs first and then add more pairs as they become more comfortable with the game.

For children who do not have experience with this game yet, place the lids face up for them to visually find the matches.

Hole Punching

Materials needed: Hole punchers, paper, glue sticks

Provide hole punchers--you can use the traditional one-hole punchers but don't overlook the hole punchers that have shapes on them. They are available through most craft stores.

The children punch holes in paper and then can use those punches to make a dino/shape collage.

Counting Fun

Materials needed: copies of your favorite dinos or lots and lots of small dino sorters; 8X10 paper with numerals on them. Base the numbers you print on the number recognition AND the one-to-one correspondence you are working on. If your children are all able to count out 5 items, then make the papers 6-10 or higher.

Place the number papers out and a bowl of sorters or pictures. The children should count out the number of dinos to match the number that is on the paper.

EXTENSION: It may help to have the equivalent number of dots on each paper. This allows your preschoolers to place one dino per dot and therefore improve their one-to-one correspondence as well as their eye-hand coordination.

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Music and Movement

Themed Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

Prehistoric Moves

Materials needed: Music CD with different tempos and a large space to move in!

As you play each track, encourage children to move with the beat. Examples:

TREX-- march music

Pterodactyl-- softer, slower music

BIG Feet!

Materials Needed: large paper bags (grocery bags) and music.

Place the bags on the children's feet for dino feet. In advance, cut out dino toes (claws). Tape them onto the bags once the children "put on their feet".

Dance like dinos!

Prehistoric Hunt

Sing the traditional Goin' On a Bear Hunt song and change the words:

Going on a dino hunt (slap thighs)

And I'm not afraid. (point to self)

Look, there's a tall mountain (hand over eyes).

Can't go under it, can't go over it, I'll have to go around it!

Look, there's a river! .....Guess I'll swim across it!

There's some tall grass...... guess I'll go through it.

Look, there's a cave!......Guess I'll go IN it!

Shhh...It's dark in here!

It's cold in here!

I feel some scales..

I feel some teeth...what is it?

A T-REX!

Quick run out of the cave, through the grass, across the river, over the mountain, back to our house, close the door...

Phew...We went on a dino hunt, and I wasn't afraid!

Dino Hokey Pokey

Sing and do the movements to this traditional dance but insert dino items instead!

You put your front paws in, you put your front paws out, you put your front paws in and you shake them all about!

You do the dino hokey and you turn yourself around, that's what it's all about!

You put your tail in.......

You put your head plates in....

You put your back plates in....

Footprint Dance

In advance make sets of different prehistoric footprints. You can make them from paper or felt, though felt could be saved and used year after year.

Tape the foot prints in pairs around your dancing area.

Play some dino themed music or just fun music!

Tell the children that when the music plays, they should come OFF the footprints and dance and move like dinos!

When the music stops, they should go to the nearest set of footprints.

SUGGESTION: Your preschoolers may not used to this type of "pick any one" type of instruction. At first, if a child starts on a blue set of prints, they think of those prints as "theirs" and if someone else goes on them, you may have a meltdown on your hands! There are several ways to start out with this!

1. As they are dancing, place their nametags near a set of prints and have them freeze when the music stops. Then instruct them to find their names.

2. As they are dancing, hand them a piece of paper or felt the same color as one of the sets of footprints. When the music stops, instruct them to freeze! And then find some footprints that are the color they are holding.

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Sand and Water Table

Themed Activities for the Senses!

Paleontologists

Materials needed: shaving cream, dino sorters and paint brushes.

Cover dino sorters with shaving cream. Provide spoons and paint brushes for the children to "discover" the dinos!

VARIATION: Do this same activity at the art table! Cover a dino sorter with shaving cream. Provide each child with a paint brush to find the dino! You can add paint to the shaving cream and also encourage the children to write in the shaving cream.

Prehistoric Bones

Place soil or dirt, spoons, cups and chicken bones (see instructions next!) in your sensory table for some fossil searching! Use paint brushes to brush dirt off the bones1

Place chicken bones in bleach for 1 hour. This will whiten and sterilize them. Do NOT leave in the bleach longer than 2 hours...they will become very brittle.

Habitats

Materials needed: sand, rocks, plastic plants, toy dinos, dirt/soil. The children use the materials to create a prehistoric habitat!

Bathtub Fun

Materials needed: Ivory soap flakes, water, small dino counters/sorters.

Have children mix the soap flakes with water until it makes a thick paste.

They take a handful and cover a small dino with it. They should make it into the shape of an egg and be sure the dino doesn't show!

Let sit to dry. Take home and use in the bathtub!

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Science Activities

Themed Science Activities--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Paleontologists

Materials needed: play sand, plaster of paris mix, water, paper cups, craft sticks, plastic dinos (small ones)

In advance:

Crumple (gently) paper cups and then open up again.

Mix together 5 parts sand, 2 parts plaster of paris and 2 parts water. Add water as needed to make mixture the consistency of pancake batter.

Pour into paper cups (about 3/4 full).

Push in a small, plastic dino. Cover with more mixture if needed.

Let harden. When hardened, remove the paper cups (because you crumpled them, there will be a great design on the "stone".

Lightly sand off the rough edges of the "stones" you've made.

Give your paleontologists a craft stick to scrape the stone and find the dinos.

Check them out!

Materials: Prehistoric skeleton models (available at teacher or science stores) or pictures of skeletons, magnifying glasses

Let the children check these out with magnifying glasses!

EXTENSION: Provide chalk and black paper for them to make their own x-ray-type skeletons.

EXTENSION: Provide white playdough and toothpicks for the children to "make" bones to place on the skeleton pictures.

Volcanoes

Materials needed: Playdough, shallow trays (1 for each child) pipettes, vinegar, baking soda, goggles

Provide playdough for the children to make their own volcanoes.

Wearing their goggles (to avoid them from touching their eyes after touching the vinegar), the children use small spoons to put baking soda in their volcano and then use the pipettes to drop vinegar on the baking soda.

Footprint

The Apatosaurus' footprint was known to be approximately 24 inches wide by 48 inches tall! Make one on paper and have the children guess how many children will fit! Then have them all fit in!

EXTENSION: Ask children how big they thought an Apatosaurus was. Provide a 70 foot piece of yarn rolled in a ball. Take it outside and unroll it with the children. THAT is how long they were!

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Songs and Fingerplays

Out to Play

1 Dinosaur went out to play

On a bright and sunny day

He had such ENORMOUS fun that he called another friend to come

"DIN-O-SAUR" (yell this!)

Thump, thump thump

2 Dinosaurs went out to play

On a bright and sunny day

They had such ENORMOUS fun that they called another friend to come

"DIN-O-SAUR" (yell this!)

Thump, thump thump

3 Dinosaurs went out to play

On a bright and sunny day

They had such ENORMOUS fun that they called another friend to come

"DIN-O-SAUR" (yell this!)

Thump, thump thump

4 Dinosaurs went out to play

On a bright and sunny day

They had such ENORMOUS fun that they called another friend to come

"DIN-O-SAUR" (yell this!)

Thump, thump thump

5 Dinosaurs went out to play

On a bright and sunny day

They had such ENORMOUS fun that they called another friend to come

"DIN-O-SAUR"...this time, they didn't hear THUMP THUMP, the heard their Mom's calling,

"DINNER"....then have the children all pat their laps very quickly to make the sound of feet running home for dinner!

Around the Prehistoric Swamp (sung to Wheels on the Bus)

The pteranodon's wings went

flap, flap, flap...flap, flap, flap...flap, flap, flap

The pteranodon's wings went flap, flap, flap around the prehistoric swamp!

The Tyrannosaurus rex went grr, grr, grr....

The triceratops horns went poke, poke, poke

The apatosaurus ate leaves and went crunch, crunch, crunch....

The stegosaurus' tail went spike, spike, spike....

Which One? (sung to the Muffin Man)

Which dinosaur had a tooth like a banana, tooth like a banana, tooth like a banana?

Which dinosaur had a tooth like a banana? Which one do you think? (T-Rex)

Which dinosaur had a horn on its nose?........ (Triceratops)

Which dinosaur had plates on its back?........ (Stegosaurus)

Which dinosaur ran really fast................ (T-Rex)

Turn Around sung to Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, stomped around.

Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, shook the ground.

Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, gave some fear.

Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, are no longer here!

Tyrannosaurus Rex sung to Mary Had a Little Lamb

Dinosaurs walked on this earth, on this earth, on this earth.

Dinosaurs walked on this earth...a very long time ago.

Tyrannosaurus Rex was the king, was the kink....a very long time ago.

Add facts about other prehistoric reptiles you've learned about!

Five Huge Dinosaurs

Five huge dinosaurs looking fierce and mean.

The first one said "I eat things that are green".

The second one said "I hatched form an egg."

The third one said "I have big, strong lets"

The fourth one said "I can fly through the air"

The fifth one said "I give everyone a scare!"

Thump thump came Tyrannosaurus Rex that day.

And the five huge dinosaurs all ran away!

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Writing Activities

Writing Activity Ideas for Your Preschool Classroom's Theme!

Prehistoric Rubbings

Materials Needed: Dino cut-outs, paper, crayons or markers

Tape cut-outs to the table and place paper over the rubbings.

Children rub the sides of crayons over the entire paper (or they can use markers) to uncover the rubbings.

When done, encourage the children to use markers to trace the outline of the dinosaurs.

This is a great activity to help your children develop the muscles in their hands and manipulate markers or crayons.

Find the Dino Letter

Materials needed: Papers with dinosaur names and pictures on them. Laminate them; Dry erase markers.

Place these cards at the writing table with the markers. These can be used in many different ways.

1. The children can use the markers to trace the letters of each word. Ask them to name the letters they are tracing.

2. Ask the children to trace or circle a specific letter or to trace or circle the letters in the dinos name that are also in their name.

3. Sort the cards by the ones that have a specific letter in the word.

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