Stomp, Stomp, Roar: Dinosaurs!

Ages 3-6

Why I Built This Kit

Curator Rebekah K.

Curator Rebekah K.

Triceratops, Iguanodon, Velociraptor, or T-Rex, which one is your favorite dinosaur? My introduction to dinosaurs came through The Flintstones’ pet dinosaur, Dino, a sauropod. Dinosaurs are a popular love of children everywhere. I love it when enthusiastic children can tell me all about the things dinosaurs did and what they ate, and which dinosaurs fought with each other. I also love sharing great dinosaur books.


Storytime Books

T is for Terrible by Peter McCarty (Ages 3-6)

I am Tyrannosaurus Rex.
I am a dinosaur,
otherwise known as
a terrible lizard.

Tyrannosaurus rex is a terrible dinosaur; of this, everyone is certain. But is this dinosaur really so terrible? He IS very big and very hungry. True, he might even eat his neighbors for lunch. But from his point of view, he can’t help it. After all, he’s not a vegetarian . . .

T Is for Terrible is a 2005 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year. (Amazon)

 

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Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems (Ages 5-7)

This is Willems’ first attempt at retelling a classic fairy tale and, if the endpapers are any indication, he might have struggled a bit at first. Red marks through such options as “Goldilocks and theThree Clams” and “Goldilocks and theThree Orthodontists” eventually give way to the ideal trio: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur, and “some other Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway.” After they randomly set up three beds, three chairs, and three bowls of chocolate pudding, the dinosaurs head out to “someplace else” and hope “that no innocent little succulent child happens by.” Cue “poorly supervised” Goldilocks, who blithely barges in and helps herself to all the amenities awaiting her, until the pending danger finally dawns on her and she bolts, which causes the returning, hungry dinos to rue the fact they forgot to lock the backdoor. The book’s masterful line art and muted color palette contain untold expressions, perspectives, and jokes, and the text dryly emanates irony, wit, and wonderful words like traipsing and groggy. Willems has delivered his very best work so far—this is a tasty treat for kids already fluent with the original, and for any fan of funny, and everybody will want to read it again and again and again. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With three Caldecott Honor Books to his name—plus zillions of fans—Willems is children’s book royalty. (BookList Starred Review)

Awards: ALA Notable Children’s Books; School Library Best Picture Books

 

Time Flies by Eric Rohmann (Ages 3-7)

Rohmann's wordless book shows, through realistic oil paintings, a bird flying into a dinosaur museum one night. As it flies past one particular behemoth, the bones of the creature are suddenly cloaked in flesh; the bird has entered a prehistoric landscape. A dinosaur eventually swallows the bird, but as it wings its way down the creature's throat and through its digestive system, the would-be predator is transformed to a skeleton and the bird returns once again to the museum hall. A jacket note explains that Rohmann was "inspired by the theory that birds are the modern relatives of the dinosaurs." (Publishers Weekly/Zoobean)

 

Brontorina by James Howe (Ages 3-6)

Brontorina has a dream. She wants to dance. But Brontorina is rather large — too large to fit in Madame Lucille’s dance studio. Brontorina does not have the right shoes, and everyone knows you can’t dance without the proper footwear. Still, Brontorina knows, deep in her heart, that she is meant to be a ballerina. James Howe introduces a lovable dinosaur whose size is outmatched only by her determination, and whose talent is outmatched only by her charm. Accompanied by Randy Cecil’s beguiling illustrations, here is an irresistible story that proves that no problem is too big when the heart and imagination know no bounds. (Amazon)

 

Tea Rex by Molly Idle (Ages 3-5)

Some tea parties are for grown-ups. Some are for girls. But this tea party is for a very special guest. And it is important to follow some rules . . . like providing comfortable chairs, and good conversation, and yummy food. But sometimes that is not enough for special guests, especially when their manners are more Cretaceous than gracious . . . Introducing Tea Rex, a guest that just about any child would love to have to tea! (Amazon)

 

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Dino Pets by Lynn Plourde (Ages 3-8)

Dinosaur lovers' imaginations soar with this inventive flight of fancy from Plourde. A very lucky little boy just happens to have a DinoPets store in his town . . . and parents willing to own a dinosaur. He chooses the biggest dinosaur, but when it won't fit through his door, back to the store he goes. The fastest one runs away, and he keeps stepping on the longest one's tail. Problems abound with each new dinopet, from the softest to the smallest, down to the scariest, until finally, there are no more dinosaurs to choose from. Sadly, the little boy returns home . . . to find all the dinos gathered there—"Look! My dinopets all came home! No one likes to sleep alone." The rhyming text and Kendall's wonderfully creative illustrations will keep young readers riveted, while even the most avid dinosaur fans will likely learn something new, as very few of these are commonly known. The final pages name the dinosaurs featured in the text, with the caveat that paleontologists learn more each day and the longest, softest, etc. may change in the future. A great one to pair with Bernard Most's work, dinosaur fans will revel in the possibilities. (Kirkus)

 

Read Aloud Chapter Book

Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Ages 5-7)

Lulu and the Brontosaurus is a great read aloud for listeners, ages 3 or 4 and up. Your child’s listening level is not limited by his or her reading level. The amazing benefits of listening to chapter books being read aloud include strengthening a child’s attention span, increasing his or her vocabulary, and teaching life skills like empathy and understanding of human character. Add chapter books to your daily picture book reading, you may wish to start with five to 10 minutes of reading a chapter book, adding a few minutes every few days as your child is able to listen for longer stretches. Don’t rush reading, keep the pace conversational and pause frequently to allow your child to absorb what he or she is hearing. One way to make listening exciting is to use a different voice for each character. 

 

Non-Fiction

National Geographic Readers: Dinosaurs by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld (Ages 4-8)

There's nothing more fascinating than dinosaurs. In this Level 1 reader, youngsters learn all about the terrifying giants that once roamed the Earth—maybe even as close as their own backyard! They'll be wowed by new information and eye-popping illustrations from National Geographic, a trusted source of children's nonfiction content. Lexile 520L

 

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs by Catherine Hughes (Ages 4-8)

The third title in National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book series, this book is for kids 4- to 8-years-old who LOVE dinos! The prehistoric world comes alive with dinosaurs small, big, giant, and gigantic, with stunning illustrations by Franco Tempesta—who illustrated National Geographic Kids The Ultimate Dinopedia. Bursting with fun facts and age appropriate information, each spread features a different dinosaur, along with simple text in big type that is perfect for little kids. Young dino fans will love the interactivity included in every chapter, and parents will appreciate tips to help carry readers’ experience beyond the page. (Amazon) Lexile: AD660L

 

Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons (Ages 5 +)

Gibbons begins with a clear introduction to dinosaurs and paleontology for young readers. Two-page spreads illustrate and highlight well-known dinosaurs and give an idea of each one's size, habitat, eating habits and behavior as well as a phonetic pronunciation of its name. In closing, Gibbons describes the two leading theories on the decline of the dinosaurs: either the planet grew too hot or meteoritic dust in the atmosphere caused it to cool down. An appendix describes the information gained from fossilized dinosaur footprints. Pleasant and informative… (Publishers Weekly)

 

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Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types by Sharon Werner (Ages 6-12)

The award-winning creators of Alphabeasties and Bugs but the Numbers have gone prehistoric! Using letters in an artful assortment of type, the famed duo create a menagerie of dazzling dinosaurs and pack each page with captivating dino-facts. This sophisticated rendering of dinosaur-ologu will leap out from other dino-books to entrain, engage, and educate aspiring paleontologists. (Amazon)

 

Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs : The Definitive Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart (Ages 5-9)

From renowned pop-up masters Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart comes an awe-inspiring tribute to the world's most beloved extinct animals and their 180-million-year reign on our planet. Open this book and a massive T. REX springs out, flashing a startling jawful of jagged teeth. Turn the next spread and a ravishing raptor unfurls and appears to fly off the edge of the page. Inside the amazing ENCYCLOPEDIA PREHISTORICA: DINOSAURS are "shield bearers" in full-body armor, creatures with frilly headgear, and weighty, long-necked giants. There are even amusing tidbits on the history of paleontology itself — like a pop-up version of a Victorian New Year's dinner in the belly of a dinosaur model, or a pair of scientists locked in a literal tug-of-war over bones. Full of fascinating facts and lighthearted good humor, this breathtaking book includes fascinating, up-to-the-minute information about popular dinosaurs as well as many lesser-known varieties. With each of six spreads featuring one spectacular, large pop-up as well as booklets of smaller pop-ups and text, ENCYCLOPEDIA PREHISTORICA: DINOSAURS is a magnificent display of paper engineering and creativity — an astonishing book that will be read, admired, and treasured forever. (Amazon)

Awards:  ALA Notable Children's Books; New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books; New York Times Notable Books - Children's Books; Parents' Choice Awards – Nonfiction


Apps

Dino-Store (Ages 3-6)

Publisher: Bluemarker

Format: iOS (4.0 or later for $0.99)

Leo and his father decide to purchase the BIG eggs at the grocery store, and end up with twelve baby dinosaurs! Whatever will Leo and his family do? Join in the fun and mischief-making of this interactive storybook, written by Roger Sederat, illustrated by Trade Loeffler. (Zoobean)

Awards: Kirkus Top Picks for Storybook Apps; Digital Storytime Top Picks for Storybook Apps;  iStoryTime Best Picks for Storybook Apps

 

Dinosaurs: The American Museum of Natural History Collections (Ages 4+)

Publisher: American Museum of Natural History

Format: iOS (Free. iOS 3.1.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.)

DINOSAURS: American Museum of Natural History Collections contains a mosaic of more than 1000 images from the Museum's archive, woven together to create a striking image of the world’s most famous dinosaur, the Tyrannosaurus rex. Each interactive photograph includes information about where the fossil was found and the paleontologist who uncovered it. (iTunes)


Background Information on Dinosaurs

  • The bones and teeth that have hardened like rocks after animals die are called fossils. Archaeologists, Geologists, and other scientists find fossils as they explore.
  • Scientists who study dinosaurs and their skeletons are called paleontologists. 
  • We don’t know what color dinosaurs were; but, some scientists think that many dinosaurs were very colorful while others were shades of green, gray, and brown, to blend in with their environment. 
  • Which is the biggest dinosaur? Brachiosauruses were the tallest dinosaurs at 40 feet tall. They weighed over 100,000 pounds or 50 tons. 
  • Which is the smallest dinosaur? The smallest dinosaur, the compsognathus, was the size of a chicken with a long tail. 
  • The unique crests on the heads of many dinosaurs helped other dinosaurs recognize them.

Discussion Starters

If you could be a dinosaur, which dinosaur would you like to be? What is it about this dinosaur that you like? 

Where do you suppose we could discover a dinosaur? What tools would we need? If we discovered a dinosaur, what would we name it? 

Let’s create our own pretend dinosaur. What will it look like (how tall, how long, what kind of nose, eyes, tail, etc.)? What will we name it? How will it roar? What will it eat? etc. 

Some dinosaurs are herbivores, they eat plants. What could we eat with our lunch like the herbivores? Plan to have salad or veggies with lunch, like a herbivore. Talk about what dinosaurs eat while you have lunch.

For a snack, try:

  • peeled, frozen grapes or pieces of melon for “dinosaur eggs” 
  • pretzel , celery, or carrot sticks for “dinosaur bones”

Activities

Alphabet Book Vocabulary Building

For each topic that you explore together, create a letter page to remember that topic and review the corresponding letter.

Cost: Minimal, if using materials you have on hand

You will need:

  • Cardstock for the cover
  • Paper
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors
  • A hole-punch
  • String or yarn to hold the book together
  • Markers or coloring pencils, glitter, and anything else you want for decorating

Directions:

  1. Decorate an alphabet book cover – help your child add his or her name to the cover.
  2. Hole punch each sheet of paper.
  3. Thread string or yarn through the holes and tie.

 

For your “D is for Dinosaur” page

You will need:

  • Paper: 1 sheet for the background, and 2 sheets of colored paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick 
  • Markers

Directions:

  1. Trace and cut out a lower case ‘d’ from 1 sheet of colored paper.
  2. Cut 2 circles and numerous triangles from the  other sheet of colored paper.
  3. Glue one circle in the center of the ‘d’ and the other at the top of the ‘d’ for a dinosaur head.
  4. Decorate the ‘d’ with the triangles, for dinosaur spots, a crest on the head, or spikes along the spine.
  5. Add a face to the dinosaur.
  6. Help your child write the word dinosaur on the page. Guide a younger child’s hand. Lightly print the word for a writer to trace. Help sound out or spell the word for independent writers.
  7. Add your ‘d’ to your alphabet book.
 

Outdoor Activity: Dinosaur Toss for Large Muscle / Gross Motor Skills

Cost: Minimal, if using materials you have on hand

You will need:

  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • 12 Rocks

Directions:

  1. Draw a dinosaur footprint on each rock.
  2. Draw four large circles in a column and a square for home plate.
  3. Draw a dinosaur in each circle & number each circle 1-4 (or print out & tape dinosaurs in each circle).
  4. Stand in the home plate box and throw the rocks one at time. Rocks that land inside of the circle or on the line receive the number of points that you wrote in that circle.

(Source: Mess For Less)

 

Draw a T-Rex

Step-by-step instructions are found here.

 

Dinosaur Fossils

You will need:

  • Play dinosaurs of any size
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 ½ cups of water

Directions:

  1. Make clay by mixing flour, salt, and 1 cup of water. Add more water, as needed, to achieve a dough consistency.
  2. Divide clay into 6 parts and flatten with your hands.
  3. Press dinosaur feet and bodies into the clay. You can make a fossil of your own hands by pressing your hands into the clay.
  4. Fossilize the clay by baking at 350 degrees F for an hour. Allow fossils to cool before touching them.

Options:

  1. You can add coloring to the dough or paint fossils after they cool.
  2. Bury these fossils so your child can go on a dinosaur hunt.
  3. Use fossils for the rocks in Dinosaur Toss.
  4. Shape dough into bones, bake, then bury for your budding paleontologist to dig up.
  5. Re-use the plastic dinosaurs to “dig” dinosaur fossils out of “rocks.” Simply freeze the dinosaurs in an ice cube tray then let your child dig out the dinosaur by melting or breaking the ice rock. Talk about how difficult it is to get the dinosaur bones out and what tools scientists use to break open rocks without ruining the objects inside (picks, hammers, sieves, brushes, and tweezers, among others). 

Family Experience

Dino-Measure

Measuring skills to practice: estimating length; starting and ending points for measurement; using tools

You will need:

  • Sidewalk Chalk 
  • A measuring tape or yardstick
  • The height and length of basic dinosaurs found here

Directions         

  1. Have each family member lie down on the sidewalk & mark their height.
  2. Choose dinosaurs and mark their height or length.
  3. Estimate the difference in height or length between each member of the family and the dinosaur they chose. You can guide estimates by asking, “is this dinosaur longer or shorter than you?” and “how much longer or shorter do you think it is?” It is normal for a child’s estimates to be extreme, that’s part of learning to estimate.
  4. Help your child measure each family member and their dinosaur and notice the differences in length between each.  Compare estimates with the measurements to see how close the estimates were.
 

Write A Dinosaur Poem Together 

Brainstorm

First, think of a funny situation that you'd like to see a dinosaur in (like a dinosaur eating lunch and finding bugs in his food, a dinosaur who can't dance, or a dinosaur who's afraid of the dark).

Next, make a list of some words that you might use in your poem (for example, centipede, beetle, spider, bugs, lunch, munch, drink, think). If you're aiming for a rhyming poem, try to get some pairs of rhyming words that relate to your subject.

Then think of a great name for your dinosaur (like Bob, Sue, or Big Tee) and what type of dinosaur you want to write about.

 

Start Writing!

Now it's time to start writing the poem. Think of the actions or thoughts your dinosaur would be doing or thinking, and describe them in short, descriptive sentences or phrases. 

Begin with a clear introductory sentence. If your poem is to rhyme, then end this sentence with a word that has a rhyme (like lunch and punch). Then write the second sentence, having it end with a rhyming word.

Keep going until you've told a little story or described a funny scene. 

Last but not least, give your masterpiece a title.

 

Optional: Draw a picture illustrating your poem. 

(Source: Enchanted Learning)


Media Resources

Dinosaurs 101 (3 minutes)

National Geographic’s introduction and overview of dinosaurs, how they lived, what they ate, and why they are extinct.

 

What Did Dinosaurs Eat? (2 minutes)

From Discovery Dinosaurs, this video about plant-eating dinosaurs, shows dinosaurs eating grass and leaves. The narration is printed on the screen, so younger viewers may need someone to read the narration to them.


These Dinosaurs are Hungry! (2 ½ minutes)

Watch three funny dinosaurs try to get their supper. While some of the scenes are a little intense, there is nothing scary in this one. 


The Smell of Prey – Walking with Dinosaurs (2 ½ minutes)

Learn what happens when a stegosaurus and 2 allosaurus meet. 

Note: There are some scenes where dinosaurs fight and die. While it is not gory, children who are not already familiar with dinosaurs could be bothered by these scenes.


Rhymes

The Dinosaur

The dinosaur
A beast of yore
Doesn't live here
Anymore.

Carl Jung

 

Going on a Dinosaur Hunt

(kids chant back each line after you say it)

Going on a dinosaur hunt. (slap thighs)
And I'm not afraid. (point to self)
There's a tall mountain. (look with hand over eyes)
Can't go under it. (move hands down)
Can't go around it. (move hand around)
Guess I'll go over it. (reach hands as if climbing)

Going on a dinosaur hunt. (slap thighs)
And I'm not afraid. (point to self)
There's a river. (look with hand over eyes)
Can't go over it. (move hands up)
Can't go under it. (move hands down)
Guess I'll swim across it. (reach hands as if swimming)


Going on a dinosaur hunt. (slap thighs)
And I'm not afraid. (point to self)
There's some tall grass. (look with hand over eyes)
Can't go over it. (move hands up)
Can't go around it. (move hands around)
Guess I'll go through it. (slap hands as if walking through the grass)


Going on a dinosaur hunt. (slap thighs)
And I'm not afraid. (point to self)
There's a cave! (look with hand over eyes)
Can't go over it. (move hands up)
Can't go under it. (move hands down)
Guess I'll go in it.
It's dark and spooky in here. (shake)
It's cold in here! (shiver)
I feel some scales. (pretend to rub something)
I feel some big teeth! (pretend to touch something)
OHH! It's a Dinosaur! (scream)
Run out of the cave, (slap thighs)
Go through the grass, (slap hands as if running through the grass)
Swim across the river, (reach hands as if swimming)
Climb the mountain, (reach hands as if climbing)
Run, home, (slap thighs)

Open the door, (open door)
Jump into bed. (cover head with arms, like hiding under a blanket)
I went on a dinosaur hunt,
And I wasn't afraid! (point to self)

(Source: Harris County Public Library)

 

Dinosaur Riddles 
(Tune: The Muffin Man)

Which dinosaur had a tooth like a banana?
Tooth like a banana,
tooth like a banana,
Which dinosaur had a tooth like a banana?
What is your guess? (Tyrannosaurus Rex)

Which dinosaur had a horn on its nose?
horn on its nose,
horn on its nose,
Which dinosaur had a horn on its nose?
What is your guess? (Triceratops)

Which dinosaur had strong back plates?
strong back plates,
strong back plates,
Which dinosaur had strong back plates?
What is your guess? (Stegosaurus)

Which dinosaur could run real fast?
run real fast,
run real fast,
Which dinosaur could run real fast?
What is your guess? (Tyrannosaurus Rex)

 

(Source: Reading Lady)



Websites

Science Kids – Dinosaur Facts

I learned a lot about the classification of dinosaurs from Rene Smith’s Science Kids website.

 

Nick Jr. Diego’s Dinosaur Adventure Game (for Ages 5-6)

This website has a wide variety of games, including matching, feeding dinosaurs, and mazes that help you rescue dinosaurs.

 

National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Profiles

Profiles of different dinosaurs include their length compared to a common object, their scientific names and classifications, and their diet. Scroll to the bottom of Triceratops’ profile to access other dinosaurs.

 

Informational Website for Parents

National Geographic is a great resource for parents to learn more on their own.

 


Additional Resources & Recommendations

Non-Fiction

Fossils Tell of Long Ago by Aliki (Ages 4-8) 

What is a fossil? Sometimes it's the imprint of an ancient leaf in a rock. Or it could be the skeleton of a dinosaur that has turned to stone! With clear prose and lovely, full-color illustrations, award-winning author and illustrator Aliki describes the different ways fossils are formed and what they tell us about life on Earth long ago. This book also includes an activity guide so kids can create their own fossils for someone to find a million years from now. (Amazon)

 

Sharks and other Sea Monsters (Ages 7-12)

Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water! The second astonishing ENCYCLOPEDIA PREHISTORICA book from Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart is about to pop up everywhere.

While dinosaurs patrolled the lands, massive prehistoric sharks, giant scorpions, and colossal squid cruised the ancient oceans - most with just one thing in mind: eat or be eaten. In this companion volume to the best-selling ENCYCLOPEDIA PREHISTORICA: DINOSAURS, pop-up masters Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart explore the prehistoric underwater world, where monsters like megalodon ruled the waves. 

Full of captivating facts and more than 35 breathtaking pop-ups, this incredible volume is sure to astonish and amaze everyone from budding marine biologists to confirmed landlubbers. After all, if prehistoric coelacanths and crocodiles are still around, what else might be lurking in today's largely unexplored oceans? (Amazon)

 

Bones: Skeletons & How They Work by Steve Jenkins (Ages 7-10)

Caldecott Honor winner Steve Jenkins presents a fascinating look at the bones of the human body as compared to the bones of animals, and shows them off!
This book is far from skinny -- it's the definitive nonfiction title about human and animal bones, delivered with in-your-face accuracy and intrigue. In this visually driven volume, kids come face-to-face with some head-to-toe boney comparisons, many of them shown at actual size. Here you'll find the differences between a man's hand and that of a spider monkey; the great weight of an elephant's leg, paired with the feather-light femur of a stork; and rib-tickling info about snakes and sloths. How many bones are in the whole human body? (Amazon)

 

Fiction

Bailey at the Museum (Ages 3-7)

Author: Harry Bliss

Description: Join Bailey the dog on his fieldtrip to the museum. Bailey is a little naughty, chewing on a dinosaur’s bones during the field trip.

 

Poetry

Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings (Ages 5-8)

Science Verse (Ages 7-10)

Check out the tribute to Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” in the form of a poem about dinosaurs.


About Rebekah

An insomniac since 1979, Rebekah has filled her nights with books & history. Rebekah's earliest memories are of watching documentaries, reading books, and playing Candy Land late at night with her dad. Is it any wonder that she doesn't consider being a librarian and teacher a job? During her fifteen years, in college and K-12 libraries and 10 years in English, ESL, and History classrooms, she has spent her days talking about books and history, sometimes at the same time. Rebekah says, "I love pairing readers with books that are a perfect fit. I feel like I have won a war when a reluctant reader returns to tell me they hated reading; but, after reading a book I recommended, they stay up with a flashlight to read until the page is blurry."

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