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Early Years Themes: Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs, WOW! Young children love dinosaurs. To the youngest minds, dinosaurs are fantastical creatures with extraordinary features. Toddlers love learning about dinosaurs and imagining what the world was like in prehistoric times. They enjoy looking at detailed dinosaur illustrations, hearing stories about the dinosaur world and dancing to songs about dinosaurs.

Posted on Wednesday 05th September 2012

The dinosaur theme provides many opportunities to practice important early years skills, such as colour identification and sorting, fine-motor skills, listening and speaking. There are many ways of accessing this topic with small world or large scale activities. Using books, videos and audio to help spark imaginations. Set the scene with plants, trees, nests made from straw, papier-mâché eggsfossils and bones for exploration. Your budding explorers will be fully engaged and will love learning the complicated names, what the dinosaurs ate as well as marvelling at the sheer size of the creatures.


Dinosaur Tips:

  • Draw a huge chalk dinosaur on the play surface in order to convey the scale. How many children fit within the lines? Compare and contrast with their teeth, diet etc.
  • Create small world swamps made from cornflour or wallpaper paste (fungicide free). Ensure the landscape has wet and dry materials. Place leaves into dough or florists’ oasis to create mini trees.
  • Create a dinosaur landscape like the one below and den with vegetation such as ferns and trees. Drape giant leaves and vines made from green crepe or tissue paper.
  • Build giant nests with eggs made from papier-mâché. Leave one empty in the grass and then discuss what has emerged from it.
  • Print giant footprints for the children to discover, follow and then debate about it.
  • Have lots of interesting facts for the children to absorb, e.g. which dinosaur was as tall as the building, which ate meat, which always stayed in packs etc.
  • Create a dinosaur dig area. Add soil to a tray and bury fossils and bones for the children to explore, dig and discover

dinosaur learning environment

Try to create a realistic landscape that sets the scene and has a dramatic effect. Incorporate plants, trees, nests made from straw, eggs etc, then gravel and stones to create different surfaces. Bury replica fossils and bones for the children to discover when digging. Use this stimuli to ignite their imaginations’ as they hypothesise how old the bones are and where they came from.

Dinosaur box of bones

Have you seen our writing stories dinosaur box – written by Alistair Bryce Clegg? A brilliant box of bones brimming with ideas for learning opportunities whilst igniting imaginations. A curious collection of replica bones, claws, skeletons and other resources to inspire and excite. Imagine finding a dinosaur egg in the middle of your setting. Who does it belong to? Will it hatch into a dragon, a phoenix or a T-Rex? Produced by TTS in partnership with Alistair Bryce-Clegg, this collection aims at encouraging high level engagement and in return achieving high level attainment. Alistair’s book and printable materials provide a treasure trove of activities covering all aspects of the EYFS. It has a strong emphasis on mark making and giving children a real sense of purpose for writing. There’s so much potential for rich language, mark making and a deep level of learning and sustained shared thinking. You’ll love seeing the children enthralled and captivated with these memorable, magical moments. Imagine all this potential in one box!

How to make a dinosaur-themed immersive environment

Most of all have fun! Tell us about your Dinosaur Adventures in the comments below, we’d love to hear and share them.