Measuring Up Dinosaurs

Measuring Up Dinosaurs


  • colored yarn: a different color for each dinosaur
  • yard/meter sticks (for older children)
  • picture/word cards with the height and length of the dinosaurs that are going to be compared
  • colored sidewalk chalk
  • large playground or parking lot space (you can use a gym or classroom floor if you omit the chalk)

For Younger Children

Precut the yarn to the length or the height of the dinosaurs named on the picture cards. Roll each piece of yarn onto an unsharpened pencil. Tag the pencil with the dinosaur’s name. Example: Maiasaura’s length or Maiasaura’s height.

Children work in small groups (3 or 4). Let each group choose a picture of a dinosaur. Ask them to carefully unwind their string and place it on the ground. Let them use sidewalk chalk to draw a line beside their string matching the dinosaur’s length or height.

When all the groups have finished, ask the children to make some observations. Then ask them to estimate how many children long is their dinosaur. Let them try it out. Children lie on the ground “feet to head” for the length or height the string measured.

The children can also use other nonstandard measures such as rectangular blocks, 1 inch cubes, or writing paper to measure their string.

For Older Children

Children should work in small groups. Each group will need at least 2 yard/meter sticks. Each group chooses a dinosaur card with the length and height.

The instructor or the children can decide which aspect, length or height will be compared. In a large area, the group uses the yard sticks and chalk to draw a line as long or as tall as their dinosaur.

Continue as with the younger children above.

Activity provided by:

Fontenelle Forest
1111 N. Bellevue Blvd.
Bellevue, NE 68005

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✓ 3-4
✓ 4-5
✓ 5-6

Category: Group Activities

Iowa Early Learning Standards:
8.2, 8.3, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 10.4, 11.2, 11.3, 12.1, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6, 14.3

Related Kindernature Resources: