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Easy to Put Together Preschool Dinosaur Unit

I know, shocker, my two-year-old is obsessed with dinosaurs. I am going with it. The greatest thing about this obsession he shares with so many other young children is that the plethora of resources on activities that exist in cyberspace is fantastic.

I mean, like, Wow. So, I’ve been inspired by my son and by the total amount of creative dinosaur activities in existence. I hope to inspire some of you with my own flavor.

dinosaur unit for preschoolers

Easy to Put Together Preschool Dinosaur Unit

I created a BUTTERFLY UNIT recently and had a blast. Perhaps the best part about writing up these lessons so far is that the “lesson” is genuinely organic. For example, we play with dinosaurs every day, but today was different.

My son started to sort by those dinosaurs that eat plants versus those that eat meat, those that live in water versus those that live on land, etc. He also wouldn’t put down Melissa & Doug’s four mini puzzles set until every last piece was in place.

So this organic learning is by far my biggest motivation to put some structure around his genuine interest, an interest that I don’t think will go away any day/month/year soon.

So thanks for reading.

Books about Dinosaurs


Dinosaur Fossils

I am so, so excited about this activity. 

Materials

  1. Plaster of Paris
  2. Paper Cups
  3. Small Dinosaur Figurines (we’re using dinosaur skeletons!)
  4. A toothbrush
  5. A magnifying glass

Approach

  1. Put a small amount of clay (or wet sand) on the bottom of a paper cup
  2. Make a dinosaur imprint by pushing the dinosaur figurine into the clay/sand
  3. Remove the dinosaur
  4. Pour in Plaster of Paris to fill the rest of the cup
  5. Wait a day to let it harden
  6. Then turn it upside down or peel off the paper cup to “unearth” the fossil. Voila! Your fossil!
  7. Then I plan to give my little archeologist a toothbrush as a tool to clean the “fossil,” thus, practical life.

 Observation

A child examining a dinosaur figurine

 We looked more closely at our dinosaurs with Melissa & Doug’s Snake Magnifying GlassMelissa & Doug's Snake Magnifying Glass.

Dinosaur Eggs

An additional sensory activity we’ll be doing is using Dinosaurs Eggsdinosaur eggs. We’ll use feathers, rocks, rice, etc to compare and contrast the eggs. Plus, we’ll do some basic listening exercises by filling the eggs with different items.

Language

Then we will be tracing and learning the sound of the letter d for dinosaurs using the book Montessori: Letter WorkMontessori Letter Work book, our Sandpaper LettersSandpaper Letters, and play dough exploration.

I bought a great Dinosaur Felt Board story set on Etsy. We have a great time making up stories with this set.

Pre-Sensorial

We’ll be using puzzles to complete the pre-sensorial work.

Music

My favorite dinosaur children’s song on The Johnny Cash Children’s AlbumJohnny Cash Children's Album is about dinosaurs. So, the cd makes for a perfect addition to our dinosaur unit.

We listen to the great Wee Sing DinosaursWee Sign DinosaursCD. Very catchy tunes and perfect background music during ‘choice time’ in the mornings. I checked this CD out of our local library, but the online price is very reasonable.

In addition to Wee Sing, I found these creative dinosaur-themed songs online.

Math

To begin, we sang these wonderful counting songs (see below). I found the dinosaur counting lyrics posted almost 14 years ago. Amazing! Then, we’ll use Melissa & Doug’s Dinosaur Stamp SetMelissa & Doug's Dinosaur Stamp Set to work on one-to-one number matching and recognition.

Also, use real objects such as Safari’s Dinos TOOBSafari's Dinos TOOB to work on “which pile has more or less” and “please hand me two dines,” etc.

Songs about Dinosaurs

Five Crazy Dinosaurs

5 crazy dinosaurs sweeping the floor
1 got swept away, then there were four
4 crazy dinosaurs chased by a bee,
1 got stung, then there were 3
3 crazy dinosaurs playing with glue,
1 got stuck, then there were 2
2 crazy dinosaurs out for a run
1 fell down, then there was 1
1 crazy dinosaur acting like a hero
He went out to save the others, then there were zero

Five Enormous Dinosaurs

Five enormous dinosaurs letting out a roar
One went away and then there were four…
Four enormous dinosaurs munching on a tree One went away and then there were three…
Three enormous dinosaurs didn’t know what to do One went away and then there were two…
Two enormous dinosaurs having lots of fun One went away and then there was one…
One enormous dinosaur afraid to be a hero He went away and then there was zero…

One Friendly Dinosaur

One friendly dinosaur wanted to play peek-a-boo.
She found another, then there were two.
Two friendly dinosaurs looked behind a tree.
They found another, then there were three.
Three friendly dinosaurs went to find some more.
They found another, and then there were four.
Four friendly dinosaurs in the water did dive.
They found another, and then there were five.
Five friendly dinosaurs played in the sun.
They all ran to hide; now there are none.

Five Little Dinosaurs

Five little dinosaurs went out to play
Out in the land of the lost one day
Tyrannosaurus Rex ate one for a snack
And four little dinosaurs came running back
continue–4-3-2
One little dinosaur went out to play
Out in the land of the lost one day
Tyrannosaurs Rex ate him for snack
And no little dinosaurs came running back
No little dinosaurs went out to play
Out in the land of the lost one day
Tyrannosaurs Rex couldn’t find anything to eat
So off she went to go to sleep

Matching & Sorting

After singing, we’ll work on matching and sorting with Safari’s Dinos TOOBSafari's Dino Toob and Safari’s Dino Skulls TOOBSafari's Dino Skulls TOOB. We’ll match to images and to objects, and sort based on size, what they ate (meat or plants), and where they lived (on land or in the water).

There is also a lovely matching game if you have the resources to buy it.

Practical Life

Three activities to work on fine motor: 1) using tongs to pick up and drop into a bucket small dinosaur figurines, 2) unearthing fossils with toothbrushes, etc., and 3) working together on these fantastic Dinosaur morphs.

Art

Coloring using dinosaur coloring pages and painting fossils. We will also be working with these beautiful Melissa & Doug’s Dinosaur Stamp SetMelissa & Doug Dinosaur Stamps to create scenes.

Research

We will spend some time on two websites: the American Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of Natural History.

Excursions

We are so fortunate in Seattle to have to Woodland Park Zoo and Pacific Science Center. These institutions have lovely online resources too.

Movement

I found this super cute dinosaur movement activity! The children act out a dinosaur’s movements. So fun!

Dinosaurs of Long Ago
The dinosaurs lived long ago,
and walked like this, and that. (Slow, heavy walk movement.)
Some were large (Stretch hands upwards.)
and some were small. (Crouch down.)
Some liked water (Swimming motions.)
and some just walked on land. (Stomp feet.)
Some had wings, that flapped and flapped. (Flap arms.)
Some had long necks, that stretched and stretched. (Hand on neck stretching upward.)
The meanest, rudest one of all was ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex. (Feet apart, hands claw like, scowl and growl.)
These were the dinosaurs of long ago.
Goodness gracious, where did they go?

That is a good start and is sure to keep us busy!

Thanks for reading, and have fun!
Marnie

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