Backyard Dinosaur Dig

dinosaur themed activitiy

We hit the Dollar Store for some supplies for summer crafts and activities and while there we saw these dog bones and decided to grab a handful and use them for some outside fun. Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? This would be a great for all ages and as a game for a dinosaur birthday party. We left the plastic on the bones because the ground here is still pretty damp and the feeling of wet dog bones totally skeeves me out. Do what works for you!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some dog bones, and any props you might want to use for your little paleontologists!
  2. Hide your bones! Can you see ours?  You could do this egg hunt style like we did or use a whole bunch and make a whole excavation site, how cool would that be?
  3. Time to hunt for some dinosaur bones. Think he was excited?
  4. Dig them out.
  5. He closed his eyes while I re hid the bones.
  6. Hunt all over again.

This is a great activity that can be quick or a much longer adventure.  After finding the bones don’t forget about writing or drawing a scientific report detailing your findings!

Dinosaur Books

Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons is an interesting and comprehensive introduction to dinosaurs for preschoolers. If you have a little one who wants to know more, this is a great book for them. It covers the basics and then some about dinosaurs and paleontology.

Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda is truly awesome. You will gasp, giggle and find yourself amazed at every turn of the page when you read this incredible book. There is a large pop up in each two page spread ( beware some might be scary! ), as well as smaller pop ups on the pages as well. Under neath the intricate art are a ton of facts as well, it can just be a little tricky to get some kids to pay attention to the text with a giant dinosaur coming out of the book.  My sister bought this for my son years ago but we waited until last year to give it to him, and at 4.5 he is still awed and distracted by the pop ups . My guess is as his reading skills get stronger this will be a favorite quiet time book to read and play with.

Dinosaur Roar! Board Book by Paul and  Henrietta Stickland and is a board book that I’ve read often enough , I don’t need to look at the book. The premise is simple, using 2 different dinosaurs every page illustrates a pair of opposites. Toddlers and young preschoolers adore this book and I can’t blame them, it’s adorable and a great tool for teaching ! My son loves how funny the illustrations are and clearly enjoys the rigidity of the opposite concepts.

Kids Craft Favorite- Dinosaurs!

dinosaur craft for kids

My son would be happy if my blog’s name was Only Time For Dinosaur Crafts as long as I did a few garbage trucks as well. We actually did this craft a while ago but I had just done a dinosaur craft so I saved it for later. I am glad I did we are puddles of sweat here on the west coast and long crafts just aren’t happening. However tomorrow I will have a super fun hot weather activity( experiment) for you.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need three large pieces of white paper, a marker, a googly eye, a paint roller , sponge or large brush, green paint, scissors and glue.
  2. Start by tracing your child’s hand, I only trace it once, then cut and trace that one original. Getting one good tracing takes luck with a 2 year old so I don’t push it.
  3. On the other paper draw a dinosaur, as you can see from mine no talent is required. As long as your child knows it’s not an alligator you are good, no need for perfection!
  4. Start painting both papers. We used the roller, and our hands. Let dry.
  5. Cut dinosaur and the hands out.
  6. Glue the dinosaur on the remaining piece of paper.
  7. Glue on the eye.
  8. Glue the cut out hands on to the back of the dinosaur. * if you are using thin paper they may roll, simply roll them back the other direction and they will stay pretty straight.
    Let dry.

Books!

Dinosaurs Roar, Butterflies Soar! by Bob Barner. They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover but this cover was so bright and inviting I popped the book in my bag without so much as reading the title. It turned out fine for me, this easy non fiction book is a wonderful way to explain to kids how the dinosaurs became extinct but that some even more outwardly fragile species like the butterfly survived. One think I really appreciate about this book is that on each page there are two sections of text in different fonts. The larger font tells the main simpler explanation while the second paragraph in the smaller font goes into more scientific detail for older or more advanced kids. My son loved it and I would say judging it by it’s cover was pretty accurate.


Tadpole Rex by Kurt Cyrus is one of those books that I wonder why I’ve never read before. It’s so good! It could be used in a dinosaur unit to talk about how large the dinosaurs was , it’s illustrations show the size difference between a frog and a dinosaur beautifully from the frogs perspective, it could be used to teach about the frog life cycle as well. What I loved though was the rhyme and rhythm the book had, it was almost musical and in a book about frogs and dinosaurs that is awesome!


I Am an Ankylosaurus by Karen Wallace tells the story of an ankylosaurus and how she lays her eggs, protects them with her armor and tail, eats leaves and fights off a tyrannosaurus rex. It’s not a bad book and dinosaur lovers will still like it, my son did but I was sorta left with the question “So what?” I didn’t care about this dinosaur , there was nothing that made me feel like I should. Like I said my 2 year old liked it but didn’t ask to read it again.

 

Clothespin Stegosaurus

Now that my son is older ( ripe old age of 2) I ask him what he wants to do for art. Consider this your warning for many dinosaurs, things with wheels, and other stereotypical little boy things. It doesn’t seem to matter how many flowers we point out on our walks he finds the diggers and motorcycles zooming past a thousand times more interesting. This craft was thought up spur of the moment but turned out wonderfully, the clothespins add a dynamic activity to the static paper dinosaur.

Gather your materials. You will need a cereal box, some paint, a marker, some clothespins, a googly eye and scissors.

Start by drawing a simple dino shape on the cut open cereal box with your marker.If you are sneaking in a color mixing lesson like I am put 2 colors of paint on a plate and let your child discover the magic of blending the two colors.

Paint the dinosaur. We used a dish scrubber but any paint brush will do. Let dry.

Using the same dish you mixed the colors in roll your clothespins in the paint to color them. Try not to get too much on them , or they will be stuck together and won’t open.Glue the eye on the dry dino.

 

Cut the dino out.

 

Add your clothes pins

Have fun counting and pinching the clothes pins onto the dinosaur, the pinching is great fine motor practice for your little ones too!

Dinosaur Books


Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton has always been a favorite of mine for introducing dinosaurs to young kids. It’s very basic, very bright and has the fundamental facts about dinosaurs without loading toddlers down with too many facts to sort through. The illustrations are bright, fun and descriptive on their own and will keep even the most fidgety 3 year old entertained.

Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! by Sandra Boyntonis a cute little book about opposites with dinosaurs as it’s characters. This is a good book for little people who love dinosaurs but aren’t really ready to dive into facts about dinosaurs yet. The melodic rhyming text and adorable pictures appeals to younger toddlers, and on the page where the dinosaurs are called bad for painting on their friends made both me and my son laugh .

Good Night, Dinosaurs by Judy Sierra is a tongue twister and I love it! I have a hard time pronouncing dinosaur names, but the cute little rhymes she writes to go with each really help. The book is simple, parent dinosaurs tucking in and getting their little dinosaurs ready to fall asleep. Your child will love the catchy “Good Night Dinosaurs, Sleep Tight Dinosaurs, Good Night Dinosaurs, Goodnight!” I know I did.

Dino-mite !

Shape-o-saurus !

Shapes and dinosaurs are both a big deals at our house right now , so I mixed the two together for this fun and really simple activity. To make it more challenging you can have older children draw their own shapes to make the dinosaur .My son insisted on adding the “rocks” after we had finished the dinosaur, who am I to say no?
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some heavy paper ( I am using card stock but construction paper will work) , some markers, scissors, glue and a white piece of paper. I also used a full piece of construction paper to use as a backing for the finished masterpiece!
  2. Have your child draw the dinosaurs habitat using the markers on the white paper.
  3. While they do that , draw out the shapes that will make up the dinosaur on the back of the heavy paper. I used a semi circle for the body, triangles for the spikes, a circle for the head, rectangle legs and square feet.
  4. Cut the shapes out.
  5. When the habitat is drawn, grab the glue and start adding the shapes. Start with the semi circle and remember to label the shapes for your child or have them tell you what they are.
  6. For the spikes I added some glue in the shape of a triangle and that guided my son , without me telling him. He was very proud of himself when he figured it out!
  7. Add the feet !
  8. Add the circle head and an eye and a mouth ! I just used marker but a googly eye would look cute too!
  9. Let dry.
Books !

“Dinosaurs” by Gail Gibbons is an interesting and comprehensive introduction to dinosaurs for preschoolers. If you have a little one who wants to know more, this is a great book for them. It covers the basics and then some about dinosaurs and paleontology.

“Dinosaur Roar!” by Henrietta and is a board book that I’ve read often enough , I don’t need to look at the book. The premise is simple, using 2 different dinosaurs every page illustrates a pair of opposites. Toddlers and young preschoolers adore this book and I can’t blame them, it’s adorable and a great tool for teaching !

“How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon” by Jane Yolen is another favorite. I like the whole series and think this book is a great one to read before doctor appointments especially if you have a child like mine who is never happy to go! I love the details in Mark Teague’s illustrations and never tire of reading this book, even when my son grabs it again and again.