My dinosaur Story Time back in August turned into a mini-party with lollipops and masks, but I knew I wanted to devote a whole event (that included bigger kids) just to dinosaurs. Thus Dinosaur Day was born! There are no shortage of ideas for activities online, and here's what I went with:
Dinosaur Play Dough Mats - This was a purchase (only $1.20!) from Teachers Pay Teachers, and totally worth it. It includes eleven different dinosaurs. I printed them on cardstock and laminated them, and we already had plenty of Play-Doh on hand.
I just discovered Play Dough mats, and I love them! I will definitely be using them again. Fun and easy.
Pterodactyl Stick Puppets - This idea came from The Craft Train. There is a template there!
I precut everything on the library Cricut, and set out construction paper crayons for some additional decorating. I also made some simplified instructions with tips in my Dinosaur Day docs.
Dinosaur Puzzles - This was a set of six 3D dinosaur bone puzzles I found on Amazon.
I kept the pieces confined in trays with the individual instructions. They're too much for smaller children, but the big kids that came were really into it.
Build-a-Dino: This was a more simple activity that the younger kids could do. I found these dinosaur cutouts at J.G. Productions.
Instead of keeping them as coloring pages, I cut them (with the Cricut, again) on different colors of construction paper. Kids could match the pieces of the same color together to build a specific dinosaur, or build a franken-dino by attaching random pieces together.
Dino Dig - For this station, I ordered a set of mini dinosaur skeletons from Amazon.
I did an Easy Box, where I had already assembled the dino bones and the kids just had to dig up the complete skeleton.
And I did a Challenge Box, where the individual bones were hidden and they had to be uncovered and then put together.
I made a Youtube playlist of Dinosaur videos that played on the projector.
Tricera-toss Game: I saw several variations of this ring toss game on Pinterest. For mine, I used our poster printer to print off a large triceratops and laminated it. Then I hot glued on three styrofoam cones (one a little smaller). I was a little worried it wouldn't hold up well, but we had 126 people at this event and it's still intact.
I also made this balloon dinosaur sculpture for a photo prop/decoration. Since I was able to pull off The Very Hungry Caterpillar balloon sculpture using only a low-temp hot glue gun, I wanted to try something a little more challenging. I found some images of balloon dinosaurs on Pinterest for inspiration, then got to work.
I can't find any different sizes of balloons locally, so I used regular 12-inch latex balloons from Walmart, in two different colors. Some I inflated smaller and some larger. I ended up using 177 balloons (128 green, 49 purple , though that includes balloons that popped or were defective to begin with. It took me about 4 hours total, though it would have been much quicker with two people. I did it in phases over two days. It still looked fine on Day 3, which was Dinosaur Day!
I started by hot gluing four purple balloons together, as shown. All you need is a strip of hot glue with a low temp hot glue gun. Then push the balloons together to get a hold and wait about 10 seconds. That's it. Do one balloon at a time, though you can put glue in multiple spots at a time.
On top of the purple feet, I stacked green balloons (inflated a little smaller) round and round to form a short column. I made four of these for the legs, and tried to keep them as close to the same height as I could.
Once I had the four legs, I made a ring of larger-inflated green balloons that attached them all together. And filled in and built up.
Then I started on the tail. I started at the base of the green body and began adding smaller-inflated purple balloons (about the same size as the leg balloons) one by one sweeping down, as shown. I attached the same size of green balloons on top of that to complete the tail.
For the neck and head, I started with smaller-inflated green balloons and made little columns of two balloons, side-by-side. And stacked. I added purple underneath as I went. I began curving the balloons downward, and added a larger-inflated purple balloon for the head. The neck/head was arched upwards, which I decided I didn't really like. So I went back and added more balloons to the base of the neck to get it angled properly.
It is mostly trial and error, but it's very doable. If you do mess up (which I did on both the neck and tail), you can pop the balloon, trim away what isn't still glued to another balloon, and try it again.