- Visit a science or history museum that has a dinosaur display. This is a great way to inspire kids to want to learn about dinosaurs; seeing how big they actually were in person makes more of an impact than simply reading a description of their size. Take the time to read all of the signs and display information with your child. It’s a good idea to bring along a small notebook and a pen, because if your kids are like mine, they will have lots of questions beyond those that the signs can answer! The museum staff may be able to help, but for the rest, you can do some research at the library or using your favorite search engine.
- Pretend to be paleontologists. When experts on dinosaurs work, they need to be exceptionally careful to avoid breaking fragile fossils. If you have a sandbox, stick a few small toys in the sand, and encourage your small child to use a spoon and a paintbrush to carefully extricate the toys. Older kids might be up for something more challenging: Give them each a chocolate chip cookie, a toothpick and a small paintbrush, and see if they can remove a chocolate chip in its entirety!
- Mark off how long some common dinosaurs were. You’ll need a long driveway for this, or you could do on the sidewalk or road in front of your house. With chalk make a line on the driveway, then use a tape measure to plot out how far 20, 30, and 50 feet are. If you aren’t near a museum that has a dino display, this can help your child visualize exactly how giant these creatures were.
- Read about dinosaurs. Whether your child is a toddler or a teen, or somewhere in between, there are plenty of books about this topic! Ask your children’s librarian (or adult’s librarian for teens) for recommendations, based on your child’s age and grade. Or, you can check out this list on Delightful Children’s Books for some good reading material about dinosaurs!
Kids often want to spend a lot of time focused on one topic, so if his current interest is dinosaurs, take advantage of it! Chances are that some day soon, he’ll switch is focus to sharks, volcanoes, butterflies, outer space, or something else!
Are there any other dinosaur-related activities that you can think of, that you’d enjoy doing with your children?