Triceratops Habitat

The triceratops lived during the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 67 million years ago. These giant lizards lived in North America, somewhere between Montana and South Dakota. Grazing on grass in herds, these dinosaurs roamed around together, residing in large family units.


For this activity, we used a variety of sensory materials to recreate its lush habitat.  With the help of green flower foam, toy triceratops, peat moss, and tiny trees, we made the perfect home for our dinosaur friends.


T-Rex Puzzle Match

From toddlers to adults, people love to solve puzzles. Puzzles are intriguing, the goal is clear and when you solve them, you get that sense of accomplishment that makes you feel good about yourself. Preschoolers can play with puzzles without even realizing how many skills they are developing. This happens because, in order to solve a puzzle of any kind, your child needs to stop and think about how to go about reaching her goal.


When using a board puzzle, she develops a strategy on how she will try to place each piece in the correct space in order to make all of the pieces fit. She uses her problem-solving skills by developing solutions in order to accomplish completing her goal, just as she will use these skills during the course of her adult life. Puzzles can also help a preschooler develop important cognitive skills. For example, when your child will is asked to take step-by-step direction, puzzles help him develop the ability to accomplish goals one step at a time and to understand why certain tasks need to be done in this manner.


They can also help your preschooler develop visual spatial awareness because of the many colors, shapes and themes they come in. For this activity, we used a puzzle to learn more about the magnificent tyrannosaurus rex!  There were six pieces, so each time your little one attempted to put the pieces together, he had to make sure that they all matched before he proceeded to add the next one.

Velociraptor Footprints

The velociraptor roamed the Earth around 70 million years ago. The word “velociraptor” is derived from the Latin words “velox” and “raptor”, which translated, mean “swift robber”. Despite its sleek appearance and small size, the velociraptor was a predator.  Relating more to birds than to reptiles, the velociraptor stood merely 2 feet tall, the size of a small turkey.


Some scientists believe that these creatures could at one time, fly. One thing is certain: the velociraptor loved to run. For this activity, we discussed the words “slow”, “swift”, and “carnivore”. To demonstrate the actions associated with these words, we used paint and toy raptors.


Dipping our dinosaurs into the paint, your little one made a series of footprints on a piece of butcher paper. They were first asked to create slow, deliberate footprints. Then they were asked to create regular footprints. Lastly, they were directed to create swift footprints. This activity strengthened hand-eye coordination and supported the acquisition of new vocabulary.


Pterodactyl Puppet Provocation

Using puppetry in teaching makes for one of the most enjoyable forms of learning for children of all ages.


From simple sock puppets to the more sophisticated marionettes, puppetry as a teaching tool is important to language development and communication skills.


For this particular activity, we created pterodactyl puppets to learn new vocabulary. To begin with, we talked about a pterodactyl was and the food it preferred to eat.


We then discussed their habitat and physical characteristics. Secondly, we used markers to decorate pre-cut outlines of pterodactyls.


Following this, we created pterodactyl habitats. Lastly, we formed small groups to act out a few pre-written “scenes” with our puppets.


T-Rex Diet Sort

Throughout the month of our dinosaur-themed activities, we talked about what herbivores and carnivores were. We talked about what they were and the dinosaurs associated with them.


In addition to this, we talked about the different kinds of teeth and anatomy required for each particular diet and coupled that with new vocabulary (stegosaurus, brontosaurus, velicoraptor). Using dinosaurs and pictures of meat and plants, we sorted each dinosaur according to what we thought they ate, meat or plant.


Each student cheered on their friends, and everyone was given a chance to participate. This activity helped us integrate our discussion of the dinosaur diet, names of other carnivores and extended previously relayed information by discussing anatomy and eating characteristics.


Dinosaur Shadow Match

Visual discrimination helps a child to see subtle differences between objects or pictures and to see if something matches up.


This visual perceptual skill can be described as “paying attention to detail”.


For this activity, students matched up dinosaur shadows with three-dimensional dinosaurs that had subtle differences.


Students were asked to find these differences and match each stegosaurus with it’s “matching” shadow.



Triceratops Case Match

Many children have problems learning the letters of the alphabet. Since letter recognition depends on understanding a sequence of features, the best way to teach children the sequence of features in recognizing a letter is by guided practice.


Although we do use worksheets in our classroom, our primary mode of instruction is through the manipulation of concrete materials. These can resemble anything from flashcards to sandpaper letters, shaving cream to salt trays.


The most important thing is that there is a physical response to an abstract one. For this activity, we practiced matching upper and lower case letters. On account of this being triceratops week, we used this dinosaur manipulative to complete the activity. To do so, we placed paper squares onto a flat surface (the table). Students were then handed cards with pictures of dinosaurs on them. Each card had a capital or a lowercase letter. Following this, students matched each pair of letters. Lastly, they placed them into each square.


Stegosaurus Fossils

Paleontology is the branch of biology that studies the forms of life that existed in former geologic periods, primarily by studying fossils. The only direct way we have of learning about dinosaurs is by studying fossils.


Fossils are the remains of ancient animals and plants, the traces or impressions of living things from past geologic ages, or the traces of their activities. Fossils have been found on every continent on Earth. The word fossil comes from the Latin word fossilis, which means, “dug up”.


Most fossils are excavated from sedimentary rock layers (Sedimentary rock is rock that has formed from sediment, like sand, mud, and small pieces of rock). Over long periods of time, these small pieces of debris are compressed (squeezed) and are buried under more and more layers of sediment that piles up on top of it. Eventually, they are compressed into sedimentary rock. The fossil of a bone doesn’t have any bone in it!  A fossilized object has the same shape as the original object, but is chemically more like a rock.


For this activity, we used salt dough to create our very own fossils. Because we discussed stegosauruses this week, our fossils consisted of this special dinosaur. A few students also selected the spinosaurus for their fossil. To prep, we talked about what a fossil is. We then practiced placing a variety of dinosaurs into the salt dough to see what kinds of indentations they would leave. Finally, we chose the one we wanted to take home, and then allowed them to harden in the toaster oven!


K-T Extinction Event

Sixty-five million years ago, a meteor smashed into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, throwing up billowing clouds of ash and smoke that quickly spread, over the next few days and weeks, across the world’s atmosphere.


Blotted out, the sun could no longer nourish the earth’s teeming ferns, forests and flowers, and as these plants died, so did the animals that fed on them–first the herbivorous dinosaurs, and then the carnivorous dinosaurs whose populations these plant-eaters sustained.


That, in a nutshell, is the story of the K/T Extinction Event. But some experts think this story is incomplete: it has a suitably thrilling climax, to be sure, but not enough attention has been paid to the events leading up to it.


Specifically, evidence exists that the five million years leading up to the K/T Extinction witnessed a huge surge in volcanic activity–and that lung-choking, sun-blocking volcanic ash, every bit as much as meteor debris, may have weakened dinosaurs to such an extent that they were easy pickings for the Yucatan disaster. To recreate this exciting theory, we made our own volcanoes out of clay, baking soda, and vinegar. Students enjoyed manipulating their dinosaurs onto these volcanoes, watching in glee as they exploded!


Ichthyosaurus Habitat

Fossils have revealed that the Ichthyosaurus lived from the early Jurassic Period up until the early Cretaceous Period. They are not dinosaurs, but marine reptiles. As carnivores, they were fond of fish and cephalopods. Their powerful dorsal fin enabled them to reach speeds surpassing thirty miles per hour in the water. To apply our understanding of this new information, we created a habitat for our Ichthyosaurs, consisting of gel for the water, rocks, shells, fish, and ichthyosaurs. Constructing a habitat can be a powerful educational tool. It not only provides a means to apply one’s understanding of new information, but conveys that information in an interesting and dynamic way that appeals to young learners.