"The dinosaurs are watching a show" (5 years).

Dinosaurs are fascinating for children of all ages. They provoke curiosity and imagination. Toddlers may be interested in dinosaurs for their loud noises and bright colours, while preschool children may ask deep questions about how they lived.

Children do not need to memorise extensive facts for dinosaurs to be educational. There are many things we don't know about them, so children can have their own theories.

Types of Dinosaurs

Children may be specifically interested in a dinosaur type, like T rex. Here is a list of other popular dinosaur names:

Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Archaeopteryx, Brachiosaurus, Brontosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Diplodocus, Mosasaurus, Plesiosaurus, Pterodactyl, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex, and Velociraptor.

Remember, there were other prehistoric creatures too, like the woolly mammoth.

Early Years Learning Framework

Dinosaur play aligns with EYLF. Dinosaurs spark curiosity and imagination (4.1) and can promote involvement in inquiry, research and investigation (4.2). When children learn about animals and extinction, they develop respect for the environment (2.4).

Learning experiences

Move like a dinosaur

Many children are attracted to dinosaurs because of their dramatic movements and sounds. Encourage children to get physical and move like dinosaurs using all of their body parts. Do they chomp, stomp, flap or dance?

Edible fossils

Bake your own fossils using a standard biscuit dough recipe. Before the biscuits go in the oven, let the children press their toy dinosaur's feet into the dough. Alternatively, make dinosaur footprints using the feet, paint and paper.

Prehistoric mini worlds

Create an open-ended dinosaur mini world by providing dinosaur toys and loose parts. Add blue fabric strips for water, stones for building mountains and caves, and leaves for vegetation.

Build dinosaurs from clay

Provide children with clay to build their own dinosaurs and the freedom to make them look however they want. Also provide pictures for inspiration. Alternatively, work collaboratively on a large dinosaur.

Construct a cardboard box dino

Gather cardboard boxes of different shapes and sizes. You will also need a lot of masking tape. Work as a group to stack the boxes on top of each other to construct a super-sized dino. Which box would make a good head? Which boxes can form the tail? Use an egg carton for chompy teeth.

Learning environments

Facts and knowledge

Add a wide range of dinosaur books to the learning environment, including fiction and non-fiction texts. This is a great way for adults to gather facts about dinosaurs and learn alongside children.

Dinosaur treasure hunt

Educators hide dinosaur toys in the sandpit. The children become paleontologists. They find and dig them up, brushing the sand away with feathers.

Family and community connections

Dinosaur excursions

  • Visit the National Dinosaur Museum in Canberra, the Australian Museum in Sydney or Melbourne Museum. Look for other museums in your local area with dinosaur or fossil exhibits.
  • Visit a park or playground in your local community. Instead of a teddy bear picnic, have a dinosaur picnic.
  • Many dinosaurs were vegetarians, not meat eaters. Visit a fruit and vegetable shop to buy healthy ingredients and prepare a salad or green smoothie. Nutritious cooking teaches children to take responsibility for their health.


Meal-time conversations

Talk about food groups during meals. Explain that many dinosaurs only ate vegetables.


Mediate rough and noisy play

Give children a safe space for self-expression, including loud roars and rough movements, but remind them to be caring of others. Some people don't want to play scary games.


  • Ask children about their experiences with dinosaurs at home. Do they have dinosaur toys? What type and colour are they? Which one is their favourite? What are their names?
  • Some children already have extensive knowledge about dinosaurs. Ask them what they know and use this as a starting point for future learning. Brainstorm on a large piece of paper to demonstrate literacy skills.
  • Talk to children about caring for our planet so all living creatures have a safe place to live. Through dinosaurs, children can learn about survival and extinction.
  • Discuss the different types of dinosaurs. Promote respect for diversity by talking about their differences in appearance and lifestyle (e.g. colour, shape, food and habitat.)


  • Have the children transferred what they have learned about dinosaurs from one context to another?
  • Have dinosaur-themed learning experiences helped children build relationships?
  • Have the children been motivated to learn through curiosity and imagination?
  • Have the children asked questions and found their own answers? What methods of inquiry did they use?