There’s just something about preschoolers and dinosaurs. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of tiny children that have been on this earth just a few years and the enormous specimen that left millions of years ago. In addition to being a fascinating topic of study, a look at dinosaurs serves as a vehicle for learning a variety of skills and concepts.
First and foremost, the study of dinosaurs fosters curiosity and a thirst for learning. Children can’t help but leap into a pattern of scientific inquiry when they look at these monstrous creatures! You can also easily explore several preschool life science themes (needs of living things, meat eaters vs plant eaters, theories of extinction) as well as earth science themes (volcanoes, climate changes, etc.). You just can’t study dinosaurs without incorporating a myriad of science and sensory activities!
Dinosaur study is also a great time to incorporate the math concepts of measurement and scale. Children will certainly be engaged as they try to understand just how big (and how small) some of these beasts were!
Vocabulary explodes as the children need new words for “big” to describe these guys! Children begin to use words like “huge”, “enormous”, and “gigantic”. They may also need words like “extinct”, “paleontologist”, “ferocious”, and “fossilized”. Additionally, you will be amazed with the capacity some children have for learning and remembering dinosaur names. This is not a frivolous skill as these names often have Latin roots and, in addition to the initial value, will transfer over to learning and understanding other Latin-based words.
Exploring the world of dinosaurs also opens up the creative minds of our little ones. Because no one was here to see them, there are only ideas – no right answers- to questions about how these creatures looked and sounded. Invite your children to make their own conclusions as you study the clues together!
Here are some of the activities you may want to consider in your preschool dinosaur unit (links will follow as detailed activities are added):
Dinosaur Mural (Creative, Social)
Five Silly Dinosaurs (Music, Math, Language)
Crayon Melting, Dino Style (Creative, Science)
Dinosaur Erosion Table (Sensory, Science)
Fossil Imprints (Science)
Frozen in Time (Sensory, Science)
Preschool Paleontologists (Science)
Dinosaur, Dinosaur, What Time is it? (Social, Large Motor)
A Visit to the Museum (Science, Social, Language & Literacy)
Dino Scales (Fine Motor, Creative, Science)
The Classic Volcano (Science)
Hot Lava Hop (Large Motor)
We are the Dinosaurs (Music and Movement, Language)
How Big is a Dino? (Math)
Dinos Invade the Block Area (Math, Science, Language)
Best Dino Books (Language)
And can you believe there will probably be more added to this list? You’ll need plenty of big ideas when teaching about these big creatures! Stay tuned!
Above photo by pocheco.