Monday, March 3, 2014

How Do Dinosaurs Books and Dinosaur Activities

Looking for a quick but cute read with illustrations that will put a smile on your face? Look no farther than Jane Yolen and Mark Teagues How Do Dinosaur books. There are quite a few of them in the series and they are each amusing to the adult reader as well as the child.     
Dinosaurs of enormous sizes act as the children in the books while the parents try and get them to go to bed, go to school, make friends, learn colors, and eat their food. At first the dinosaurs scowl raise a fuss, and are very disagreeable. They then turn into the little angels that your little ones are…. or are trying to be! 

Other Titles:
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food
How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten
How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats
How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon
How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You
How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors
How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms
How Do Dinosaurs Go To School
How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends
How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday
How Do Dinosaurs Play All Day
And many more.

Dinosaur Activities to Go with Your Dinosaur Book

Day in the Life of A Dino

"Dinosaurs may be extinct from the face of the planet, but they are alive and well in our imaginations." -Steve Miller, Freaks!

Kids love dinosaurs and nearly everything about them. Their sheer size makes it impossible to ignore these creatures that once ruled the earth. Whether you are trying to teach children about dinosaurs or just looking to have some fun hopefully you'll find something to try.

Make Your Own Dinosaur Skin-

Paleontologists can guess about what dinosaur skin looked like and felt like but because it did not fossilize well they don't know exactly what color dinosaurs where. Dinosaur skin impressions have been found leading us to believe that dinosaur skin may have been similar to reptiles. Bumpy, scaly, rough. Create a piece of "dinosaur skin" and let children feel what a dinosaur may have felt like.

Supplies: Plate, Cardboard box, or other flat surface for your skin to sit on. Clay, and small rocks gathered from outside. (Rocks should be roughly the same size)


  • Form your clay into a flat piece of skin. The shape is entirely up to you.
  • Place the rocks in the clay as close together as possible in a single row.
  • Continue to make rows of rocks until the clay is completely covered.
  • Dry Clay so the rocks will be stuck in the clay. (Overnight)
  • Let Children touch and feel the skin. 
Educational or Party Ideas:
  • Dinosaur skin color is unknown as well. If you would like you can have the children paint the skin in different colors or patterns. 
  • If you would like each child to have their own piece of skin simply make the pieces of clay smaller and have each child make their own.
  • Make several pieces and use as a scavenger hunt for a classroom activity or birthday party. Hide the pieces around the yard,school, home and ask the kids to find the different colored pieces of skin.

 Make Your Own Dinosaur Skin

Dinosaur Footprint-

By using size on something like a foot children are able to understand how big dinosaurs were compared to them. Make a giant dinosaur footprint and then have children make traceable footprints of their own. 

Supplies: Air Dry Clay, Paint, Flat Surface/Piece of Cardboard or Plastic, Paper, Pencils

  • Trace a large dinosaur footprint onto your piece of cardboard.
  •  Using the molding air dry clay cover the entire surface of the footprint with clay. 
  • If you prefer you can add extra clay and mold the footprint so it looks like a dinosaur stepped in the clay.
  • Paint it to look like mud. Let dry overnight.
  • Have children trace their feet and place the two side by size for a size comparison.
Make a Dinosaur Footprint


Finding dinosaur bones is hard work and paleontologists have to be careful with the bones as the dig in the dirt. Using Chocolate Chips cookies is a fun way to let children "dig for dinosaur bones".

Supplies: Napkin, Toothpick, Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • The cookie itself is the dirt
  • Chocolate Chips are "dinosaur bones"
  • Toothpick is the paleontology digging pick
  • Use the toothpick to remove chocolate chips from the "dirt"
  • Have the children see how many chips they can safely remove without breaking the cookie.
  • Enjoy your chips and the cookie!

Dinosaur Heads

Children love to wear their own creations. This activity is a little more time consuming and will probably need the help and guidance of an adult. But the end result is worth it. You can spend as much or as little time on these as you would like. They are nice to have as a teaching prop that can be used over and over again. But if they are just for fun you can let the children each make their own and use them for play.

Shoe box or other box that will loosely allow a child's head inside
Masking Tape
Modge- Podge if desired

  • Make two holes in the sides of the cardboard box for eye openings
  • Crumple up the newspaper to form the shape of a dinosaur nose
  • Attach the nose to the front of the box between the eye holes
  • Children paint their creation
  • (If you as the adult are making it you may want to paint it nicely and modge-podge over your final product. This will make it harden up and last a little longer.)
  • Put it on, have fun, and let the playing begin.
Educational or Party Ideas:
  • Dinosaur Eyesight- Eyes of a Dinosaur- Make two boxes. One with eyes facing forward like a T-Rex and one with eyes on the side of the head. Let the children try on both boxes to see that some dinosaurs could see like humans (eyes in the front) while other dinosaurs had eyes on the sides of their heads and could only see that way. 
  • Day in the Life of a Dinosaur- Put head piece on and have children act out different dinosaur activities. See Below. (T-Rex Hands) You can do an obstacle course of some kind with these.

Tyrannosaurus Rex Hands

With Black or Brown Gloves and a bit of light sewing you can turn average gloves into T-Rex Hands. 
Simply purchase or find a pair of old gloves and sew down the last two fingers and the thumb. When children/or adults put their hand into the glove they will have only two fingers to use. Just like a T-Rex.
Tyrannosaurus Rex Hand

Education or Party Ideas:
  • Use as part of an obstacle course or alone. Have children put on two gloves with only two fingers that are usable. Give them small tasks to do while their have the gloves on. Unwrap candy, hold objects, tie their shoe, etc. This will let them see how a T-Rex was only able to use two tiny fingers.
  • Use with Dinosaur Heads above to complete a dinosaur costume and do a full obstacle course as a true "dinosaur". If doing the course as a T-Rex use a piece of ribbon to tie children's elbows to their sides. This will further make them more like a T-Rex as they had tiny arms. Use yarn to wrap around chairs, playground equipment, trees, etc. depending on your location. Wrap the yarn around items to make a course that children have to step over, crawl under, go around objects as they are dressed in their dinosaur heads, gloves, and feet. 
  • An alternative to doing a course with yarn. Use masking tape on the floor to make places where children run, walk, zig zag, jump, crawl etc. This is a lot of fun!

T. Rex Nose-Does Your Nose KNOW?
Tyrannosaurus Rex had an amazing sense of smell. This helped him hunt. In this activity you'll teach the children how to smell like a T-Rex. 

  •  Find several small jars/containers that you can put a cotton ball inside of. 
  • Find several strong smells: Cinnamon, Vanilla, Chocolate, BBQ sauce etc. Anything that smells enough that children can detect it and know what it is.
  • Place the smell on a cotton swab and place it in the container. It is best if all the containers match or are made in some way that children can't detect the color and texture of each item.
  • Have each child take turns smelling each jar to see if they can tell what is in each.


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