The excitement of dinosaurs never seems to wear off for young children. You want your kids to keep learning and having fun, but you’ve been to the museum a million times. It’s time for something new. Learning about dinosaurs involves more than just looking at a replicated skeleton. There are some fun activities that can be done at home to satisfy the curiosity of kids.
Kids often see fossils in books, only. They are fairly easy to bring to life, however. Save some bones from a chicken or other meal. You can also ask your local butcher for a variety of bones. Have your kids roll out a portion of the clay or press it into a plastic bowl. Imprint the clay with the bones and allow it to dry. Once the “fossil” is dry you can show how the bones fit into the indentions or make molds. Plaster of Paris can be poured into the indention and allowed to dry. This is a great way to show kids how replicas of bones are made for use in the museum.
While dinosaur egg crafts may not be completely scientific, they are a great way to get young children working with their hands. Kids often listen to lessons better when their hands are occupied. Talk about how egg laying animals and how they form. The eggs can be made by mixing flour, sand, and used coffee grounds. This activity is best done outside. Once these ingredients are well mixed, you can add some salt for texture. Water is then added a little at a time to moisten the mixture. Place toy dinosaurs inside the eggs and bake them in the oven on low heat for about 30 minutes or let them dry out in the sun. Kids can break them open later on and “discover” the dinosaur.
Hidden in Ice
You can use the bones from your fossil activity or use more plastic dinosaurs for the ice activity. Plastic Easter eggs, a large ice cube tray or paper cups can be used for this. Fill your container with water and place bones or dinosaurs inside. Simply freeze your specimens. Give your child some small tools to excavate with. They can chip away at the ice to reveal their find.
This activity works well for very young kids. A kid’s pool can be filled with sand. Hide bones, plastic dinosaurs, and fossils in the sand. Let the kids use shovels and rakes to find them. You can talk how scientists search for clues about dinosaurs while they play. If you don’t mind digging up your yard a little bit, older kids may enjoy digging for buried bones or fossils. This can be a fun activity for a pre-school party or playdate, as well. Kids get to take home their discoveries.
For this activity you need black construction paper, Q-tips, and glue. Have your child pick their favorite dinosaur and print out a picture of the skeleton. They can attempt to replicate the skeleton, using the Q-tips as bones. Wooden blocks can be used to make a large-scale skeleton on the floor, as well. Older children can learn about dinosaurs and their environment by making a diorama. Provide a piece of wood or a box and allow them to get creative. They can use clay, paper, and even outdoor materials to form their dinosaur world. Teach them about what different dinosaurs needed in the environment for food and shelter. Kids are naturally creative and usually get very involved with these types of activities.
Children learn best from hands-on activities. This helps them to use all of their senses to gain an understanding of a topic. These activities are great for individuals or groups of kids. Young kids are often obsessed with dinosaurs. These activities are great for expanding knowledge while still focusing on your child’s favorite science topic. The museum can wait while you get creative with your kids. So, get out the supplies and get hands-on with your little scientists.