Dig the Dinosaurs

Many children and adults as well are fascinated with dinosaurs.  This is an exciting way for students to learn about them in a fun way!  Set up an interest center with dinosaur books and dinosaur figures.  Choose two or three dinosaur books to read before doing the “dig.”

DINOSAUR DIG ACTIVITY:

  • Materials needed:
  1. Cheap, tiny little dinosaurs from a dollar store, enough for each child to have three or four dinosaurs
  2. Plastic containers such as Cool Whip containers, one container per child
  3. Plaster of Paris mix to be used by an adult
  4. Tools such as small screwdrivers, small hammers, etc., for each child
  5. Optional:  Buy safari hats at a party supply store, one per child  (we can get them for 89 cents each)  Let each “paleontologist” wear a hat while excavating their “dinosaur dig.”
  6. One online site has safari hats for $9.99/dozen.

  • Make one “dinosaur dig” for each child beforehand:   Cut each dinosaur apart into several pieces, keeping the pieces for each dinosaur together.  Place three or four cut-apart dinosaurs in each plastic container and mix up the pieces, one container per child. Have an adult carefully mix up some Plaster of Paris according to directions and pour about an inch onto the dinosaur pieces in the plastic containers. After it hardens, take out of the container.  These “paleontological sites” are now ready for the student “paleontologists.”  While wearing their hats, let the students use their tools to chip away at the Plastic of Paris, slowly discovering pieces of their dinosaur.  As they discover the pieces, they can put them together like a puzzle until they have all the missing pieces.

DINOSAUR EXHIBIT  (Dallas Museum of Nature and Science)

CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

  • Danny and the Dinosaur (I Can Read Book Series: Level 1) by Syd Hoff.  Cute story about the friendship between a dinosaur and a boy.
  • Dinosaur Hunters by Kate McMullan.  (Scholastic Step Into Reading, Step 4)  Good for ages 7-10.
  • Dinosaurs by Roger Priddy.  Activity book with 50 stickers.
  • Dinosaurs by Tracy Christopher (Scholastic – A Smart Start Reader)  Good for ages 6-8.
  • Dinosaurs Before Dark (Majestic Tree House Series #1) by Mary Pope Osborne.  Kids find a magic tree that takes them back to an ancient time zone where they see live dinosaurs.  Good for ages 5-9.
  • Dinosaurs (DK Pockets Series) by DK Publishing & William Lindsay.  Highly comprehensive visual guide for ages 8+.
  • Dinosaurs (Encyclopedia Prehistorica Series) by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart.  Great pop-up book.
  • Dinosaurs: Sticker Encyclopedia by DK Publishing.  Good for ages 5+.
  • Dinosaurs:  The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages by Luis V. Rey.  Written by a paleontologist.  Covers 800+ species of Mesozoic dinosaurs.  Good for ages 12+.
  • How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague.   Great for ages 2-5.
  • How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague.  Great for ages 2-5.
  • The Very Dizzy Dinosaur by Jack Tickle.  A pop-up book good for teaching names of dinosaurs.