Teaching Dinosaurs with Crafts
Young Children are so curious, they ask question after question and become obsessed with animals, vehicles, jobs, songs and games. And for many children they reach the age when they become obsessed with Dinosaurs, they play with the toys, read dinosaur books, sing dinosaur songs and watch them on TV. And with today's technology and the online documentaries, studies and videos available you can spend hours learning about dinosaurs. However for the parents of young children who don't enjoy documentaries, and prefer crafts, play and games to learn then we have a simple, creative and enjoyable game for you to try.
What you will need:
- Paint or crayons
- Cardboard sheets or a large box
First off ask the children to pick a dinosaur, they don't need to know their name yet, just show them some images and let them choose. Let them learn about the ones that interest them.
Then use your pencil to draw a large copy of the dinosaur, it doesn't have to be amazing, and cut it out with the scissors.
Then with the help of your child, paint or colour it in, give it eyes, or stripes or spots, anything they like. You can talk about the dinosaurs here too, use its name, let them give it a funny name if it helps like Toby T-rex or Danny diplodocus. Talk about what they like to eat, and talk about anything they ask. you can use your phone or laptop to research questions together.
Repeat this for several dinosaurs and you can use them as toys, or in some fun learning ideas we have shared below.
This idea works best for small children but older kids may also get a kick out of the art and craft side of things and they can do research of their own to advance the education and learning further.
1. Dinosaur name game - teach spelling and names with paper and pencils, chalk, magnets or any other fun ways to write, try hiding the dinosaurs and letting the children seek for them, and then spell out or tell you their names. Or you could type or write the names on coloured card and get them to read and match the names to the dinosaur. You can even write the answers on the back of the cardboard dinosaur or tags so they (and you) know if they are right.
2. Mix and match - put the dinosaurs on the ground with a lot of words, like the name, colour, food preferences, time period or other fun facts and let the kids un-jumble the tags until they have matched the dinosaur with the right words or images.
3. Tallest to smallest - ask the children to sort them into different groups or orders like larges to smallest or biggest mouth, longest neck or tail and so on.
4. Fun facts - find out some interesting things about the dinosaurs like the number of teeth, their size, their weight, could they fly or swim? Did any live near you? Kids love funny or interesting facts and it really helps them learn and develop a curiosity for more.
Once you have used these games and ideas you can start to expand, watch some short documentaries like walking with dinosaurs, or Andy's prehistoric adventures on youtube and bbc iplayer.
And you can get lots of books and other information about dinosaurs at your local library and online.
And you can try using this idea for other animals too. Our two year old loves messy play like this and combined with his current love of dinosaurs it is a big win in our house and provides lots of learning opportunities for everyone involved.