The dinosaur play dough mats will give your students an opportunity to strengthen their little fingers as they create models of their favorite prehistoric reptiles. It’s the perfect addition to your epic list of dinosaur activities for kids.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to get your very own copy of the dinosaur play dough mats.
It’s no secret that a large percentage of preschool-aged children are obsessed with dinosaurs. And that obsession is certainly warranted. Dinosaurs are creatures from another time with sizes ranging from that of a hummingbird to larger than any living land animals we have around today. Their mystique alone can lead children to develop a love of dinosaurs.
Dinosaur Play Dough Mats
There are so many benefits of teaching kids about dinosaurs that extend far beyond the sheer joy and excitement that these lessons bring to the classroom. It opens the door for young children to enter the world of science, exploration, and discovery. Dinosaurs are fascinating creatures that lead children to ask questions, conduct research, and think in complex ways. Learning about dinosaurs can lead kids to be the curious little scientists (paleontologists!?) that they are!
So, in the spirit of letting kids explore their interests while promoting a love of science, let’s teach them about dinosaurs! And what better way to learn about dinosaurs than to use play dough and create models of their favorite prehistoric creatures. Your students are going to love these dinosaur play dough mats!
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Before getting started on any themed activity, I would suggest giving the kids a little lesson about the topic at hand. If this is one of the first times your class has talked about dinosaurs, start off broad. Tell the students a little bit about dinosaurs, mentioning that they come in all shapes and sizes and that they are extinct. Pass around some dinosaur toys to peak the children’s interest. You can also show them mock-up images of what paleontologists believe specific dinosaurs looked like. Some of your students might already know a little (or a lot!) about dinosaurs. And that’s okay. It is still best to keep your first lessons simple, yet exciting!
Preparing the Prehistoric Play Dough Mats
You will be pleasantly surprised when it’s time to prepare for your dinosaur unit this school year. There are so many dinosaur resources available to use in the classroom including books, lesson plans, and even free dinosaur printables like these dinosaur play dough mats.
Luckily, getting the mats ready for your students is super simple.
- Scroll to the bottom of this post to grab your copy of the play dough mats.
- Then, print the document. Make sure to follow the downloading and printing suggestions listed for best results.
- Finally, laminate each page of the document. This will create a surface suitable for play dough as well as enhancing durability. You can also use dry erase pockets.
Set out the mats and some play dough and voila! The kids are well on their way to making some incredible dinosaur models.
Using the Dino Play Dough Mats
Now that your mats are ready to use and the kids have some background knowledge, it’s time to play! Get out the play dough and your laminated dinosaur mats, and get started.
Some students will choose a play dough color and push it onto the mat in the shape of the printed dinosaurs. Engaging with the mats in this way will help the students learn about dinosaurs and strengthen their little fingers! Don’t forget to read the mats with the students and help them identify each dinosaur.
You might see other children rolling out play dough “snakes” or other shapes and placing them onto the mats. And some kids might even see the 2D drawing and choose to create their own 3D version of the dinosaur. It takes a complex young mind to use a 2D image as a model to create their own 3D model.
Some of the children might want to make leaves for their dinosaur to eat, toys for them to play with, or even a volcano! And that’s perfectly fine. It can be difficult to refrain from insisting that students interact with the activities we’ve planned the the way we originally envisioned. But sometimes, the most meaningful learning experiences happen when the kids are free to explore and create on their own.
Regardless of how the children choose to interact with the play dough and the dinosaur mats, they are sure to be learning and practicing important skills along the way.
Other Dinosaur Play Dough Activities
If your students love these dinosaur play dough mats, they may be eager to try some other interactive dinosaur activities using play dough. Here are a few other activities to try with your class.
Let the children pretend to be world class bakers as they create some amazing play dough dinosaur cookies. They will cut out dinosaur shapes and add texture to their unique cookie designs.
Use play dough to form eggs around various small toy dinosaurs and let them dry out for a few days. Then, with a small chisseling tools and a tooth brush, let the kids carefully crack open a fossilized dinosaur. They will love getting to be paleontologists for the day!
The kids would have a blast creating their own fossilized dino foot prints using play dough and toy dinosaurs. I think if you set out some play dough and toy dinosaurs, they will do this without even being prompted!
Make your own silky soft dinosaur dough with the class. Then use small dinosaur toys to play in the mud or make fossils.
Children will use play dough to create a dinosaur habitat in a dinosaur small world activity.
In stead of using premade play dough, follow the recipe for our three ingredient cloud dough to use in a dinosaur sensory bin!
What is your favorite preschool dinosaur activity? Make sure to let us know in the comments!
As you know, I’m a huge proponent of reading with children. And as such, I like to take every opportunity I get to share some great preschool book recommendations. I’ve recently come across the most EPIC dinosaur book, perfect for any preschool or elementary classroom! It’s called My Encyclopedia of Very Important Dinosaurs.
This book is amazing for so many reasons. First, it has incredible illustrations that aren’t overwhelming. It also contains facts written in simple terms so that younger minds can follow along. And finally, I love that it’s an easy-to-navigate reference book. This encyclopedia is a great way to introduce reference books to preschoolers.
Here are some other great dinosaur-themed books for preschool-aged children:
Dinosaur Lesson Plans
I know first-hand how hard it is to manage all of the responsibilities that come along with being a teacher. Creating meaningful lesson plans week after week, teaching young children several days a week, and attempting to maintain a personal life? Something has got to give! That’s where Preschool Teacher 101 comes in to save you time (and sanity!) with our full and comprehensive lesson plans, activity packs, book sets, and more!
We have tons of product offerings just for preschool teachers, with a wide range of themes to choose from. Check these dinosaur-themed products by clicking on the images below!
If these lesson plans seem like a good fit for your preschool classroom, be sure to sign up for The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101’s waiting list.
Free Printable Dinosaur Play Dough Mats
The free printable mats are available to members of Fun-A-Day’s (free!) email community. Just enter your email in the form below to have the download links sent to your inbox.
If you’re not a member, that’s okay! You can enter your information in the form below to join. Then you’ll receive an email with the links as a welcome gift.
Please note that some school districts have very strict firewalls that can interfere with this process. If that’s the case where you work, please grab the printable from a home computer and using a non-school email address. If you run into any trouble, please consult my printables FAQ.
You can also open the form in a new tab, if you’d prefer.