Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A fun, hands on Dinosaur Unit for homeschool elementary kids. This unit has lots of free printables, crafts, learning activities, and more fun science activities for kids.

Homeschool Science Dinosaur Unit for Elementary Kids
As part of our 6 week Dinosaur Unit today I am focusing on creative fun activities, crafts, learning activities,and free printables for elementary grades. Perfect for homeschool or after school.
Dinosaur Unit - 6 week

Dinosaur Books for Elementary Kids

  • The first two are good Bible based dinosaur books that explain events from a creationist perspective.
  • The 3rd book (by Aliki) is a good, easy to read book with a lot of good information about how dinosaurs are dug up. If you are a creationist you may want to gloss over the millions of years part or use it as a teaching tool.
  • Tyrannosaurus Sue has some good information about the most complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton found. You can take a fieldtrip to see her at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL.
  • The last 2 books are good dinosaur specific books. I feel like the Dinosaur A to Z is slightly easier to read with slightly more information, but the National Geographic one has 2x the dinosaurs. So you decide how many dinosaurs you want to learn about.

Matching up Dinosaurs with free printable dinosaur fact cards

I made dinosaur fact cards for Goofy to match-up. He matched up the card with the dinosaur figure and the dinosaur skeleton figure. Then we read through the cards. Next he arranged them in various groups by what they ate, from lightest to heaviest, etc. I purchased these dinosaur skeletons and these dinosaurs plus the Pteranodon and Dilophosaurus.
You can download the dinosaur fact cards free below.
Montessori Inspired Dinosaur Activities free dinosaur fact cards

Hatching Dinosaur Eggs Project

Hatching Paper Mache Dinosaur Eggs
These paper-mache dinosaur eggs were a lot of fun to make, a fun decoration for our dinosaur unit, and a lot of fun to help “hatch”. I got the original idea from Sunny Day Today Mama.
First we picked a dinosaur we wanted to hatch and put it inside a balloon. (Just go slowly and stretch the neck open before sliding it in). Then we blew up the balloon to the size of a dinosaur egg – ours was about 5” tall. 
Dinosaur Activity for Kids
Next I mixed up some paper mache by putting 1 cup water & 1 cup flour in saucepan over medium heat and mixing until smooth and thick. I put it in a bowl and allowed it to cool slightly while we cut up paper strips. Using warm paper mache provides a wonderful sensory activity!  Goofy (1st grade) dipped the paper in the the paste, removed excess paste, and put the strips criss-cross all over the balloon. The paper mache recipe was enough to make two 5” dinosaur eggs.
Dinosaur Activity for Kids
Allow dinosaur egg to fully dry – about 24 hours, turning half way to ensure it dries on the bottom too. We set ours on canning jar lids – it worked perfectly.
Dinosaur Activity for Kids
Finally, Goofy painted the eggs a light brown color (although we don’t actually know what color all dinosaur eggs were).
After the eggs dried we put them in a next. And one day…. Goofy helped them hatch by cracking them open and found baby dinosaurs inside!

Dinosaur Science Play

Dinosaur Science Play for Kids
We had so much fun with our Dinosaur Science Play I wrote up a whole separate post on it! Read about it here!

Dino footprint Sight words

Dinosaur Sight WordsWe played the dinosaur track sight word game you can find in Reading the Easy Way – 1st Grade.  Goofy had so much fun practicing these key Dolch Sight Words in a dino fun way!

Compare 2 Dinosaurs & Writing Activity

Dinosaur Sight WordsGoofy (1st grade) picked 2 dinosaurs and worked on comparing them. (worksheet included in the pack below) He used the dinosaur books we had to explore these 2 dinosaurs in depth and find their similarities and differences.
Dinosaur Sight Words
The kids wrote stories about their pet dinosaurs. Goofy (1st grade) illustrated and wrote his story; then I went though and corrected it with him. Minnie (Preschool, but almost K) drew her picture, traced the text, and then she dictated her story to me that I wrote on the back.

Dinosaur Excavation:

dinosaur excavation Activity for KidsWe had a Smithsonian Dinosaur Excavation kit we got it for 75% off on clearance. It included goggles, wooden pick/hammer, and dinosaur skeleton in hard dirt. For the $3 we paid for it it was GREAT! If you didn’t happen to pick one up on clearance you can easily make your own.
Mix up the following and press it around these dinosaur fossils we’ve used over and over this unit.  Add extra around all sides and allow it to harden.
  • 1 1/4 cups dirt
  • 1 1/4 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cups salt
  • 1/2 cup sand
  • Water  (to moisten)
Once it is hard just use a toy hammer, stick, paint brush, and goggles to have your own dinosaur excavation dig!

Dinosaur 3D Art Project for Kids

3D Dinosaur Art Project for Kids Goofy made this really cool Dinosaur Art project using plaster of paris. It turned out so cool!
3D Dinosaur Art Project for Kids  3D Dinosaur Art Project for Kids
Pick a Tupperware, plastic container, lid (surrounded by paper rim), etc. as your mold. We used an Olive Garden food take-home container. Next we pressed playdough into our mold so it was deep enough to get a good impression of our dinosaur. (I used this simple homemade playdough recipe). Press the dinosaur of your choice into the playdough.
  3D Dinosaur Art Project for Kids  Febuary 2013 035
Next, mix up some Plaster of Paris following the directions – ours used 3 parts plaster to 1 part water. For our project we needed 1 1/2 cup plaster and 1/2 cup water. Stir and pour into dino mold and cover all of playdough until the top of  your mold. Tap slightly to remove air bubbles.
3D Dinosaur Art Project for Kids  3D Dinosaur Art Project for Kids
Wait about 45 minutes (the instructions say 30, but wait longer!). Flip over mold and carefully remove mold. Next you are going to remove the playdough. Use the block of playdouh to help get the extra remaining playdough. You will have a very cook raised impression of a dinosaur!
 3D Dinosaur Art Project for Kids  3D Dinosaur Art Project for Kids
Goofy was so proud of his dinosaur! We choose to paint around the edges and make it look like an archeological dig site. We also had the dinosaur step in green paint to make his tracks.

FREE Dinosaur Face Cards and Writing Prompts for Kids

free Dinosaur Fact Cards and writing prompts

Download FREE Dinosaur Fact Cards and Writing Prompts  

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    • I offer free printables to bless my readers AND to provide for my family. Your frequent visits to my blog & support purchasing through affiliates links and ads keep the lights on so to speak. Thanks you!

>> Download Dinosaur Fact Cards & Writing Prompts Here <<

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This post was written by:

Beth Gorden is a homeschooling mother of three who strives to enjoy every moment with her kids through hands-on learning, crafts, new experiences, and lots of playing together. Beth is also the creator and author of 123Homeschool4Me where she shares 200+ {free} printables, creative homeschool lessons, crafts, and other fun ideas to help preschool and homeschooling families have fun while learning and exploring together.
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  1. Thank you very, very much for such a detailed post about dinosaurs (especially with the Christian perspective in mind). My kids are wanting to learn more about dinosaurs and you've given me some great ideas!! I'm so appreciative!!



  2. Dinosaurs always make for a fun study! Looks like yours was especially nice.
    Renee -- Great Peace Academy

  3. Thanks for your great post! I plan on doing something very similar with my second graders!

  4. This is awesome!! I really love the plaster of paris prints--so cool! I shared this on my PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page too!

  5. What a fun unit study! Thank you for linking to our Papermache Dinosaur Egg post. Yours look great and such a good idea to put the baby dinosaurs inside and then crack them open! :)

  6. Thank you so much! Super helpful as I am planning to do unit study on dinosaurs for our daughter this fall.

    Thanks again!

  7. This is wonderful!!! My kids are going to LOVE this. I plan to use it this summer. Thank you so much!!


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