Dino Basics and Ideas for Your Little Paleontologist

Check out these five fun and entertaining Dino Basics to practice as you spend quality time with your children.

Published on July 30, 2021

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By Mrs. Farnham (teacher, mom, CMoR member) and Ali Sullivan (Family Engagement Manager at CMoR)

Do your kids like dinosaurs? My toddler is obsessed with learning the names of his toy dinosaurs and my 8 year old enjoys learning about fossils. Since they rarely share a common interest, I decided to take them to a couple nearby dinosaur exhibits to beat the summer heat.  If you can, you could check out Dinosaur exhibits at the Science Museum in Richmond or the Virginia Living Museum at Newport News.

But, if going to a museum is not a choice, here are some activities that you can do at home that can be educational and entertaining at the same time. 

Here at the Children’s Museum we are all about the Basics and how to incorporate these amazing five principles into daily life with our children. These are the five Dino Basics to practice as you spend quality time with your children. 

Maximize Love, Manage Stress

What a better way to connect and spend time with your children than exploring the world of paleontology with this homemade dinosaur fossil kit. Here are some of the supplies you will need, most you probably have at home already, but the most important ingredient is to have fun with the mess! Who knows? You may inspire a future paleontologist!

Ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Sand or Soil
  • Paint Brush

For more details visit:https://parentingchaos.com/make-your-own-dinosaur-fossil-dig-kit/

Talk, Sing and Point

Here are the lyrics of a fun, jazzy song about Parasaurolophus by Mike Whitla called: Parasaurolophus is a Mouthful For All of Us

Parasaurolophus, is a mouthful for all of us.

How come our name’s so hard to say?

I guess we’re just born that way.

Parasaurolophus, with a horn on the top of us.

We’ve got this crazy cranial crest.

When we blow it the sound is the best.

I’m a Parasaurolophus. He’s a Parasaurolophus.

And I’ve got something for all of us.

He’s got something for all of us.

A song I wrote to keep it straight,

All the dinosaurs with names so great.

So pay attention to the song I play.

You can learn all the dinosaur names today.

Well, you got so many different kinds.

You got your Protoceratops and your Argentinosaurus,

Archaeornithomimus, Oviraptor, Spinosaurus,

Iguanodon, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus,

Eoraptor, Allosaurus, Pentaceratops,

But not Brontosaurus, he’s not a dinosaur.

Troödon, Ankylosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Ornithomimus,

Euoplocephalus, Prenocephale, Megaraptor, Archaeopteryx.

I’m a Parasaurolophus,

And I showed something to all of yah’s.

I’ve got this tube on the top of my head.

I’m gonna blow it now, yeah, that’s what I said.

He’s a Parasaurolophus. I’m a Parasaurolophus.

And he showed something to all of us.

I showed something to all of yah’s.

We think it’s time for this song to end.

But we’ve got one more note to send.

Parasaurolophus – Dinosaur Songs from Dinostory by Howdytoons S1E6

Count, Group, and Compare

It is fun to talk about dinosaur teeth, children are fascinated with facts like how big and sharp were the carnivore dinosaur’s teeth, or how big a dinosaur could get just by eating plants (herbivores). You can show the contrast between the sharp and the dull, flat teeth and then look at each other’s  mouth and see that humans have both kinds of teeth.! The book How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague is entertaining and also provides an opportunity to practice counting with your child.

Explore Through Movement and Play

How about exploring how the different dinosaurs moved and make it into a gross motor skills game? Both of you can twist like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, stretch your neck like a Brachiosaurus, flap your arms like a Pteranodon, swing your tail like a Stegosaurus, run like a Velociraptor and tiptoe like a Triceratops. The following website has an amazing and inexpensive idea of game and the only items you will need are a small box, some pictures of your child’s favorite dinos and imagination. We should also mention how  playing this game is a great workout for both of you! https://www.pre-kpages.com/dinosaur-activities-preschool/

Read and Discuss Stories

Reading together is a great bonding moment! While you read with your child and cuddle, you can describe pictures, sing, point, count, and the most important, you can talk with your child, ask questions, imagine different endings for the story, make voices, be silly! The possibilities are endless! The libraries in town have a great selection of nonfiction and fiction books that you can borrow and enjoy at home for several weeks. Happy reading!

Want to make some cool, colorful Dino Sun-catchers? Request a kit today from RPL, Richmond Public Library! In addition to a kit, you will receive a link to a video tutorial shortly after you receive your kit in case you need a little help with your creation. Request your kit here: https://bit.ly/DinoSun

Dinosaur Discovery at CMoR

Did you know that CMoR has some dinosaurs too? Visit our downtown location to see them for yourself. Our Education team also provides a variety of educational programs for daycares and school groups.Students can access the Dinosaur Discovery class from CMoR’s in 3 different ways. CMoR offers museum-based field trips (availability subject to COVID protocols in the next school year), Children’s Museum to Go where educators come to schools, and virtual field trips. There are a variety of SOL-aligned programs to choose from and the Dinosaur Discovery class would be a great school connection to enhance your at home Dino experiences As you are planning your student’s academic calendar, be sure to share CMoR’s fantastic programs with your daycares, homeschool groups, preschools, and elementary schools.

Please share this post and pictures of your dinosaur adventures with us on Facebook or Instagram! Happy dino hunting!

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