D is for Dinosour

D is for Dinosour

The Nature Tot program is for 3-year-olds with an adult. Class size is limited to 20 participants. Programs are outside, unless weather does not permit.

Pre-program Activity

  • Have teams make a pail from a paper cup with pipe cleaner for handle. Have tot put dinosaur pictures into the pail as the adult cuts them out. They will have a pail of dinosaurs just like Sammy’s in the upcoming story!
  • Dinosaur lace-up cards can be made out of foam meat trays. Cut foam into a simple dinosaur shape. Use paper punch to make holes. Shoelaces work well for string or use yarn with tape on one end.


Sammy and the Dinosaurs by Ian Whybrow


The Dinosaurs (and other ancient creatures)
The dinosaurs lived long ago,
225 million years before now, or so.

Some were tall, (stretch hand up)
And some were small. (crouch down)
They lived on land. (stomp)
Some liked water. (swim)

Pteranodons had leathery wings. (flap)
Apatodaurs had long necks. (stretch neck)
The Miasaura (My-a-sor-a) was a great mom. (rock a baby in arms)
And the meanest was T Rex. (growl and hold hands with claws)

Show & Tell

Show pictures of dinosaurs, a Paleontologist, and show fossils.

  • Dinosaurs lived a long time ago and are extinct (none are living anymore).
  • How do we know about them? (Some people have a job studying dinosaurs and other animals and plants from a long time ago. They are called Paleontologists.)
  • How did they learn about an animal that lived a long time ago? (Fossils, bones, and stories from other scientists.)
  • We can tell a lot from fossils–how big dinosaurs were, how small they were, whether they ate meat or plants. We can’t tell what color they were!
  • Largest: Gigantosaurus was largest in Creataceous; Allosaurs were largest in the late Jurassic. Ask the tots to show you with their bodies how big they think the biggest dinosaur was. Show them how big they were using string.
  • Smallest: Compsognathus of Jurassic was the size of a chicken. Ask the tots to show you with their bodies how small a dinosaur can be. Then show them.
  • Longest: Supersaurus was largest during Jurassic.


Before program, bury pretend dinosaur bones in tubs of sand. Explain to teams that they are going to pretend to be archaeologists. Using paint brushes and trowels, uncover the dinosaur. Assemble the bones into a crude dinosaur.


Make fossils. Place clay in the bottom of a tub. Press a shell or leaf into clay and remove. This will leave an impression of the object. Pour plaster of paris on top of clay. When dry, turn over tub and press lightly to remove fossil.


Dinosaur fruit chews in plastic eggs or use dinosaur-shaped cookie cutters to cut out cheese shapes.


Dinosaurs Are Different by Aliki
Dinosaur Roar by Paul and Henrietta Stickland
Digging Up Dinosaurs by Aliki (Ages 4-8)
The Dino Expert by Julie Brillhart
Big Old Bones, A Dinosaur Tale by Carol Carrick SammI
And The Dinosaurs by Bernard Most
Dinosaur Babies by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Activities provided by:

Polk County Conservation Board
Ginny Malcomson
Nature Tots is funded by Polk County Conservation Board, West Des Moines Park and Recreation, and the Des Moines Chapter of the Izaak Walton League.

_ 0-1
_ 1-2
_ 2-3
✓ 3-4
_ 4-5
_ 5-6

Category: Adult-Child

Iowa Early Learning Standards:
8.2, 8.3, 9.1, 9.2, 9.4, 10.3, 10.4, 11.1, 11.2, 12.3, 12.4, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 14.3, 14.4

Related Kindernature Resources:


Other Resources: