Dinosaur Homeschool Unit Study – 9 Fun Activities for Elementary Kids

dinosaur homeschool unit study

This fun Dinosaur Unit Study is perfect for elementary school kids of all ages!

Do your kids love dinosaurs?! Why not take their interest in an awesome topic and make it into a dinosaur homeschool unit study?!

In this article, you’ll find 9 fun dinosaur unit study activity ideas, plus a list of the best nonfiction and fiction dinosaur books for kids, and ideas for keeping your toddlers and young kids involved too! 

Free Homeschool Unit Study Planner printable pack

If you haven’t already grabbed the Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s free Homeschool Unit Study Planner printable pack, you’ll definitely want to do that now!

You’ll get 8 different pages to help you plan your homeschool unit study so it’s well organized for your homeschool. 

Click right here or on the image below to get access!

free unit study planner

{{Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission if you click through or purchase at no cost to you. For more information, click here.}}

Here’s a quick rundown of the 9 different activities to make your dinosaur unit study memorable for your kids:

  1. Create a poll and chart to graph favorite dinosaurs
  2. Create a dinosaur timeline
  3. Have an at-home dinosaur fossil dig
  4. Chart different types of dinosaurs
  5. Put together 3D dinosaur puzzles
  6. Write dinosaur poems
  7. Chart dinosaur fossil locations on a map
  8. Paint your own model dinosaurs
  9. Visit a dinosaur exhibit or museum

Now for the details:

1. Create a poll about family and friends’ favorite dinosaurs

Have your kids make a list of 5-7 different dinosaurs, or use this list of the Top 10 Most Famous Dinosaurs from ThoughtCo. 

Once you have your list, you can create a simple tally chart or Google Form to collect responses, depending on your kids’ ages and what would be best for their learning. 

To help increase the number of responses, ask your family members, friends, neighbors, coaches, and church members to participate in the poll.

You could also share your poll on social media to increase the reach of the survey! 

After 3-4 days of voting, teach your kids how to make a bar graph and a pie chart to visually depict the results of their Favorite Dinosaurs’ Survey. 

2. Chart the dinosaurs on a giant timeline 

Because dinosaurs roamed the earth for 165 million years, it’s easy to think of all of the different species co-existing. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth!

Dinosaurs actually were alive and thriving during three different periods of the Mesozoic Era: the Triassic period, the Jurassic period, and the Cretaceous period. 

To show how primitive dinosaurs evolved into more complex dinosaurs over millions of years, it can be a great idea to create a Dinosaur Timeline. 

You’ll need at least two pages of different colored paper for each of the three eras (ie: two red papers for Triassic, two blue for Jurassic and, two yellow for Cretaceous). 

Simply tape the pages together on their short ends and label each section with the appropriate era. 

Then you’ll need lots of little printable dinosaur pictures to cut and place on your timeline. You could always write the names of the different dinosaurs on your timeline, but a picture is definitely best for any non-readers you may have in your homeschool! 

So, where do you find lots of little printable dinosaur pictures? 

Yep, right here in The Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s Free Resource Library

dinosaur homeschool unit study free printable

Once you’ve printed out your little dinosaur pictures, simply cut them out and have your kids place 4 or 5 of them on their timeline every day during your dinosaur homeschool unit study. 

There’s no need to place the dinosaurs on the timeline in order from earliest to latest. In fact, it’s really fun to see the timeline get populated across all three eras as you go through your unit study!

 

3. Have an at-home dinosaur fossil dig

For a really fun hands-on experience, check out this awesome National Geographic dinosaur fossil dig you can do at home! 

Your kids are guaranteed to find 15 different fossils inside a small gypsum brick with the included archeology tools.

Be sure to read the instructions closely. (The little shells on the outside of the brick are just for decoration, so you don’t have to be super careful to preserve them.)

It’s best to do this outside on a warm day. If you have to do it inside, be sure to put down an old sheet first and have the vacuum at the ready to contain the mess! 

4. Make a wall chart of the different types of dinosaurs

In addition to your Dinosaur Wall Timeline, you can also have your kids sort dinosaurs into the 2 major dinosaur groups, and then into 4 smaller subgroups:

The first group and subgroups are:

  • Saurischia
    • Theropods
    • Sauropods

The second major group and two subgroups are:

  • Ornithischia
    • Ornithopods
    • Thyreophorans

Similar to the timeline, you’ll want a different color of paper for each of the different groups. Tape two pieces of the same color together for each of the groups and label them appropriately. 

You could spend an entire history or science period discussing the different dinosaur groups, and your older elementary school kids could take detailed notes. 

After the differences between groups have been discussed, help your kids start placing the different dinosaurs where they belong! 

Again, you can easily print and use our big collection of over 50 dinosaur pictures from The Reluctant Homeschool Mama Free Resource Library. 

Related article: Earth Science Homeschool Unit Study – 6 Weeks of Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and More

5. Put together balsa wood 3D dinosaur puzzles

For another great hands-on project, we highly recommend putting together these 3D wooden dinosaur puzzles!

You’ll get six different dinosaur puzzles: a triceratops, t-rex, spinosaurus, stegosaurus, hadrosaurus, and a sauropod.

One important note: If you want your dinosaur puzzle to stay together long-term, you’ll definitely want to use super glue!

This project correlates well with a discussion about how paleontologists understand and put together fossils to learn more about dinosaurs. 

You could also discuss old misconceptions and common myths about dinosaurs as described in this article right here

Finally, the different dinosaur puzzles make great decorations for your homeschool room, too.

6. Write dinosaur poems 

Using the delightful Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast poetry book as your guide, encourage your kids to come up with their own dinosaur poems!

Inside Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast, you’ll find all kinds of entertaining dinosaur poems. Your kids can discuss and identify rhyming schemes, stanzas, and poem organization, and other poem dynamics.

If your kids are struggling with writing a poem, you can always have them write an acrostic poem about their favorite dinosaur instead.

In an acrostic poem, the letters for the name of a dinosaur are written in a column on the left side of the page. Your child’s task is to choose adjectives that describe their dinosaur beginning with each letter in a row.

For example, a Velociraptor acrostic poem might begin with:

V-vicious

E-eager

L-lanky

and continue from there.

Once your kids have finished their poems, have them illustrate their poems too!

7. Map dinosaur fossil locations on a map 

To create another awesome visual during your dinosaur unit study, you’ll need a large wall map and a lot of small printable dinosaur pictures.

As you discuss each small dinosaur picture, place it on the map where its fossils have been found.

It’s really cool to see how different languages in regions influence what types of names are given to dinosaur species. 

Also, as your kids get more dinosaur pictures on the map, have them look for patterns and use their geography knowledge to identify what types of environments are the best place to find fossils. (Hint: fossils aren’t usually found in a swamp or watery area!)

dinosaur homeschool unit printable pictures

8. Paint your own dinosaurs

For a fun art project that will correlate with your dinosaur unit study, your kids might really enjoy this fun Paint Your Own Dinosaurs Kit!

It comes with 12 white plaster dinosaurs, 4 sets of small paint pots, 4 paintbrushes, and a tablecloth. You’ll also find a small 18-page dinosaur booklet inside too!

As your kids are painting their dinosaurs, you could lead a discussion about how every drawing, painting, and depiction of dinosaurs is always based on our best scientific guesses because no one really knows what colors dinosaurs were! 

9. Visit a local science museum 

If you live near a science museum, STEM center, or nature preserve, it might be worth it to check out potential field trip opportunities to reinforce what your kids are learning about dinosaurs in this homeschool unit study!

Also, if you have an IMAX theater near you, look to see if it is playing either Jurassic World or Dinosaurs Alive!

Dinosaur Unit Study ideas for toddlers

If you have young kids or toddlers at home, they may want to get in on the fun action of the dinosaur homeschool unit study too!

Here are a few ideas to help your toddlers feel involved: 

1. Play dinosaur match with printable dinosaur pics

Print two copies of the small dinosaur pictures from the Reluctant Homeschool Mama Free Resource Library and cut them out. 

Then choose a maximum of ten to twelve matches at a time and play a memory matching game with them. 

2. Create a fun dinosaur sensory bin

Many toddlers love sensory bins! 

To make a dinosaur sensory bin, you’ll need:

Once you have all of your items assembled, you’ll want to hide some of the dinosaurs, fossils, and trees completely in the sand. Allow your toddler to search for the items, play with them, and create their own dinosaur scene. 

Be sure to spread an old sheet on the floor for easy clean-up!

3. Hide and seek dinosaurs

Using the same small plastic dinosaurs from the sensory bin, hide five or six dinosaurs around the living room for them to find. 

You can use “hot” and “cold” clues to signal to your toddler when they’re close to finding a dinosaur too. 

Best books about dinosaurs for your unit study

All of these titles can be found on Amazon and possibly at your local public library too: 

Nonfiction dinosaur books for kids

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs

Intended for kids ages 4-8 years old, this book is a great fit for your younger elementary kids in grades K-3. Lots of large illustrations, bright colors, and fairly simple text make this book a winner for your homeschool dinosaurs unit study!

Dinosaur! Knowledge Encyclopedia by Smithsonian Institution 

This updated 2019 edition is perfect for kids in upper elementary grades. With 208 pages, lots of color illustrations, and a durable hardcover, this is the perfect dinosaur reference book. It is worth having in your homeschool library!

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages by Dr. Thomas Holtz

We love this book, especially for our middle schoolers. Although the age range is listed for 8-12, we’ve found that it’s better for kids who are older or more academically advanced than those who really like the Smithsonian Dinosaur! book. 

Oh, Say Can You Say Di-no-saur? By Bonnie Worth

This Cat in the Hat Learning Library book is a fun, rhyming jaunt that teaches kids about how fossils are formed, different types of dinosaurs, and actually makes pronouncing different dinosaur names fairly easy!

Although this book is sure to be a hit with younger elementary kids, older kids also enjoy the clever rhymes too. 

I Spy Dinosaurs by Alek Malkovich

This awesome look-and-find book is a fantastic way to help your young toddler feel involved in homeschool. (It’ll also keep them busy for a while!)

The book also teaches the alphabet, so it’s a win-win! 

Dinosaur Activity Book for Kids by Lauren Thompson

If your kids enjoy word searches, dot-to-dots, and mazes, this book is for them! It’s always nice to have a few extra quiet activities for every unit study, and the low cost of this book definitely makes it worth it! 

Dinosaur fiction books

There are tons of great dinosaur fiction books for kids available, and it can be fun to sprinkle in a few of them throughout your dinosaur homeschool unit study. 

Here’s a quick list of our favorites: 

Final thoughts about this dinosaur homeschool unit study

We’ve repeated this dinosaur homeschool unit study in our home several times because it is such a big hit!

The thing we love most about dinosaurs is that there is always more to learn!

If you’re feeling inspired or have any questions about our dinosaur unit study, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Related articles about homeschool unit studies:

5 Easy Steps to Creating a Homeschool Unit Study

Homeschool Unit Studies – What Are They? And Why Do People Love Them? 

Olympics Homeschool Unit Study – 11 Great Ideas Your Kids Will Love

Have you considered doing a dinosaurs homeschool unit study?

dinosaur homeschool unit study

Dinosaur Homeschool Unit Study - 9 Fun Activities for Elementary KidsDinosaur Homeschool Unit Study - 9 Fun Activities for Elementary KidsDinosaur Homeschool Unit Study - 9 Fun Activities for Elementary KidsDinosaur Homeschool Unit Study - 9 Fun Activities for Elementary Kids

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m Jen, a former reluctant homeschool mom who is ready to help you actually enjoy homeschooling too. Read more here…

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