They may be extinct, but dinosaurs and dinosaur activities are still a huge hit with kids.
I’m not sure if its because of their powerful stomp or ferocious ROAR, but my kids absolutely love them!
So, it makes sense to use their interest in ways that will extend their knowledge, vocabulary and invite lots of wonderful play.
This list of dinosaur activities are the most popular for kids, and the most easy to prepare for parents.
We love easy, don’t we?
Top Dinosaur activities
1. Listen to dinosaur songs
A gentle introduction to dinosaurs can be achieved by listening to dinosaur songs. It’s a very popular topic and there are many musical variations out there. We searched YouTube and found some impressive dinosaur animations, too.
Our favourite song is Dinosaur Roar by Justine Clarke. It also made our top wildlife song list.
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 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
Sadly, it’s taken us almost a year to get back to the museum, but it’s always so worth our while when we visit.
If you’re looking for ways to spend a day out with the kids, add to their growing dino curiosities by visiting the one place you can get all the correct information.
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 technologically savvy children. Parental supervision may be required for younger children, though.
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 our sand pit and measured them against our own.
Here’s a great dinosaur footprint activity for older children, too. 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 and we learnt that some dinosaurs eat meat, while others eat plants; some swim and some fly. We roared a lot, of course!
You can bring in the names of the dinosaurs here if you think your child is ready to learn more.
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 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 dinosaur fossils
Buy some powdered plaster at a local craft shop and make your own fossils. My kids loved this activity and it’s really simple to do. Just make sure you follow the instructions on the back of the plaster container.
10. Paleontologist play
After you’ve made fossils, why not become paleontologist? Use small garden tools and paint brushes to dig up those fossils. I even hid some dried out chicken bones in the sand pit!
Because my children had learnt that dinosaurs come in all shapes and sizes, they thought they were real. Aren’t dinosaurs closely related to birds?
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. I hope you enjoy learning together with your child too.
Extend their learning
- What was the environment like back in dinosaur 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).
More dinosaur activities? Check these out!
Excellent ideas and thanks for the website links. Love the fossil making. x
You’re very welcome. Miss Possum struggles with a few of the dino computer games but she is only young and won’t take long to pick it up but the fossil activity was out favourite!
I have yet to meet a kid who was not fascinated by dinosaurs! You’ve provided some really great ideas and activities to further learning and more importantly have fun!
I’m going to check out the dinosaur websites with my girls later.
PS – Little Miss Possum just gets cuter and cuter!
She is a real little model isn’t she?! I really wish I had a boy though. This blog is female dominated. I need some boy shots!
Carl Watson says
Kids love to hear stories about Dinosaurs and I think these activities are really going fascinate kids.
Thanks Carl. I am also trying to find time to write back to your email. Give me a couple more days please, it’s been a carzy week!
Great list. I love the palaeontologist play
Thanks so much for dropping by Jackie. That was our favourite activity. I thought the plaster fossils might take a lot of time to dry out but it only took 30 minutes , so it was great because we could join the activities togather,
Love! Adding a link to this in my recent post. xx
Thanks so much Kelly, that would be great. I’ll have to pop over and check out your post this afternoon (after work). Perhaps I could link yours too!
I love the idea of making our own fossils! I’m going to do that with Mr3
I hope Mr 3 enjoys it. We still have our fossil and love looking at them and talking about it. I really should hide them in the sandpit again!
[email protected] Fried Fruit says
Wonderful ideas! Very clever- thanks for sharing. I particularly like the “Making dinosaur prints” exercise.
Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
Coming over from FYBF
Thanks Leanne. I forgot to add the photos of our dino feet, I’ll have to put them up tomorrow.
My little boy, now 8, could say pachycephalosaurus perfectly, but still said bir for bird until he was in kindergarten! The dinosaur love has moved on to building models now, and reading about them himself.
Kim-marie, I don’t even know if I can say that. That’s pretty impressive! I love hearing that he likes reading. I’ll have to look up some dinosaur books for children over the age of 8 to add to this post!
Rachel from Redcliffe Style says
Excellent ideas, children would LOVE to do these. Rachel x
Thanks Rachel. I do hope they love them! Love your post today. So funny!
Thanks for sharing Penny, these are fantastic tips. My middle girl is a bit interested in dinosaurs so she will certainly be interested in a few of these
Miss Possum wasn’t that keen on them and then one day she read a book about dinosaurs and then we were off on a dinosaur rampage. This post is actually her second dinosaur interest hit. She is loving learning about them all over again!
Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos says
Great post Penny!
My son is in his first year of school, and is just starting to learn about words like ‘extinct’. Perfect for me to help him understand what it all means!
Now I just need some time, and plaster!! 🙂
Time is the hardest part these days. The fossil activtiy didn’t takes as long as I expected though Trace. I think We spent an hour on the whole project and we even fit in some dinosaur play time in there while the fossil were drying. We had so much fun!
Grace Titioka says
“Dinosaur Roar” and “Ice Age” are both big hits in this household 🙂
The fossil making activity looks like fun. The twinlets will love to get there hands digging into that 🙂 x
I know, they really are the song and movie of the year, well, from Miss Possum’s perspective. I would love to see the boys being plaentologists. How adorable would that be! Squee!
Catherine Rodie Blagg (Cup of Tea and a Blog) says
This is fantastic Pen! my little nephew is totally dinosaur obsessed. I’ll send this to my sister now x
Thanks for dropping by Cath! I hope you sister gets something out of this post. Obsessed dinosaur-loving kids are who I wrote this for!
Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky says
what a great resource! so many awesome ideas 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by Kylie! So glad you liked it.
Love these activities! My son is dino mad and has been for about a year now. He loves watching Dinosaur Train and tells me how he is going to be a palaeontologist when he is an adult 🙂
I would have loved if Miss Possum was so interested in dinosaurs that she wanted to be a palaentologist when she grows up. I’d love that. Miss Possum wanted to be a princess or a dancer. Can’t take the girl out of the girl!
Lots of dino lovers in our house.. thanks for the ideas!
You’re welcome Kate. I think I’ve seen one of you dino posts. Have you written one? Let me know and I’ll link to it. 🙂
We often set up imaginative play scenes with our dinos… but this dinos with play dough activity is something we’ve done again and again… http://picklebums.com/2011/10/04/dino-play-dough/
That’s so funny! We just made dinosaurs out of playdough today. I will add it to the post as extra playing ideas. I’m sure I’ll find much more dino fun around the place, there’s so much out there!
I know lots of little dinosaur enthusiasts that are going to love some of these great ideas. I love how you have provided so many great ideas for activities to suit a range of ages. Thanks for sharing!
Than YOU Suzy. Glad you liked them. I’m aslo going to add some books for older children. I need to do that more often. I always usually relate it to younger children (because I have children under 5!)
Bek @ Just For Daisy says
Love it! This is so timely as Miss 2 has just fallen in love with Ice Age 3 and the dinosaurs!! Can’t wait to try some of your suggestions! 🙂
Yay! Glad I got this you at the right time. I hope she loves them. The plaster we bought was so cheap. It was something like $6! I thought it would cost heaps. I’ll be doing more with plaster soon I think.
Ali @ At home with Ali says
We love dinosaurs in our house too…. they often gets involved in our messy play – my eldest is fascinated about the theories of extinction (and likes to pour lava over them and cover them with ice etc). This is a great list, we haven’t made fossils yet, that looks like a lot of fun.
Janice@ learning4kids says
Wow, wow…..WOW! Dinosaurs are a wonderful topic to learn and you have collated so many fabulous ideas! I love the dinosaur fossils!
Ness @ One Perfect Day says
What a fantastic round up of ideas! I’m pinning this to my dinosaur board for sure. I don’t want to forget any of these. That last pic of Miss Possum is too adorable!
Jen Fischer says
Great Dinosaur List – we love learning about dinosaurs at our house. Here’s our favorite dino activity – http://jennifischer.blogspot.com/2012/05/we-love-composting-dinosaurs.html#
Love this post! My 7-year-old is a huge dinosaur fan, so we’ve tried several items on your list. Our favorite is probably digging up fossils. But spending a week at dinosaur camp at our local natural history museum wasn’t bad, either. 🙂
Charlotte L. says
My daughter has been learning all about Dinosaurs and just loves them. I like the fossil idea, she will enjoy this 🙂
Angie Boylan says
Thanks for all these fantastic ideas to do with my dinosaur crazy boys!!
Chon Ky says
My boys are dinosaur mad. This article gave me lots of great ideas. Thanks!
Kate McAndrew says
My daughter is addicted to dinos!!!! These look like really fun activities and educational too. Thanks so much for sharing!!!
Love the site Penny! I will have a good look around, you have some good stuff here.
I’m so glad you like it. I hope you can use the printables for story time. 🙂
Jenny Sanderson says
What great ideas! I love the make a fossil idea, will definately be trying that one.
Glad you liked it Jenny. It wasn;t as hard as I had expected so do try it. Plus, the plaster was sooo cheap!
Capri + 3--Theresa says
I love these fun dinosaur activities. We just got a dinosaur book and it will be fun to try your ideas along with the book. Please stop by and link this to Artsy Play Wednesday (along with any other arts, crafts and play posts).
A Moms Rambles says
Hi! I recently wrote a Summer Activity bucket list on my blog and I gave you a shout out! You can check it out here if you would like!
(all photos and page mentions were sourced and linked back to your original post.)
Penny Whitehouse says
Thanks so much! Usually I get a track back when someone has linked but it didn’t this time so I’m glad you added the link to your comment. 🙂
A Moms Rambles says
We love, love, love Prehistoric Park. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It could be intense for really young or sensitive kids, but my 7 yo has been watching it for a few years now. We also like the BBC freeware game Dinosaur World. It was developed early 2000s as a companion to Walking with Dinosaurs. It’s a little old but is still fun.