Whenever we can combine loose parts play with other learning skills it’s a win for everyone. Kids get so engaged, and there are so many possibilities for play and learning. For our dinosaur theme we set out these free printable dinosuar counting play dough mats with various loose parts. As they played kids were also learning to count, identify numbers and number words, and create sets for individual numbers. But shh…they think they were only playing. 😉
FIND EVEN MORE DINOSAUR THEME ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE LESSON PLANS
FOR HOME PRESCHOOL AND PRESCHOOL CLASSROOMS.
BEGIN WITH A DINOSAUR COUNTING BOOK
When possible we like to kick off a new activity with a book of some sort. There are some terrific counting books to include in your dinosaur theme. Here are some of our top picks for dinosaur counting books. You can also find more of our favorite dinosaur books in our dinosaur picture books and dinosaur nonfiction books posts.
SET UP THE DINOSAUR PLAY DOUGH MATS
After printing your dinosaur play dough mats you may want to laminate your mats or place them in plastic sheet protectors. Then you’ll be able to use them over and over again. Set out your mats with the manipulatives you have on hand, and grab some dry erase markers if you’ll be using the blank mat included in the set.
CHOOSE YOUR DINOSAUR MANIPULATIVES
We chose to include a variety of manipulatives for this activity, but definitely use what you have if possible. Here are some options that work great:
- Play dough (I forgot to snap pictures when we had the play dough out, but you can see how we made our “Dinosaur Egg” play dough and used it in the video further below in the post.)
- Dinosaur “eggs”-Order some online or grab some small eggs from the bird section of your local craft store
- Small pebbles
- Small dinosaurs
SEE IT IN ACTION
Watch this video to see how we used these free printable mats and the super easy way we made our “dinosaur egg” play dough.
COUNT AND PLAY
Kids don’t need very much direction with this activity, but you can differentiate a little bit by choosing which number mats to include.
They’ll have fun adding “eggs” to each dinosaur nest, and it’s likely to lead to a lot of pretend play as well. Be sure to have some “adult” dinosaurs on hand to help foster this imaginative play aspect even more.
“Baby dinosaurs” add in another layer of fun as the eggs “hatch” and there are new dinosaurs to count and care for.
With this free printable set kids can work on numbers one through ten, but we’ve also included a blank version. With this option you can include a dry erase marker, and kids can write numbers, number words and/or the correct number of dots in the ten frames as they add eggs or dinosaurs to the nest.
This is a great way to increase the difficulty for kids who are ready for a bit more than counting alone.
If you are working in small group with these mats you can also have kids use the blank mats to show one more or one less than a number that you give them. This way allows you to integrate addditional number sense skills.
MORE DINOSAUR IDEAS FROM OTHER CREATIVE BLOGGERS
LEFT TO RIGHT:
Free Printable Dinosaur Emergent Reader // Fun A Day!
Hatching Dinosaur Eggs Initial Sound Match // Modern Preschool
Dinosaur Rhyme Time // Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten
EDITABLE Dinosaur Sight Word Game // Playdough to Plato
Salt Crystal Dinosaur Science Experiment // Schooling a Monkey
Editable Sight Word Dinosaur Game // The Kindergarten Connection
Dinosaur CVCe Puzzles // Pages of Grace
Editable Dinosaur Pick and Color Printable // A Dab of Glue Will Do
10 Little Dinosaurs Song // Stay at Home Educator
Dinosaur Counting Puzzles // Pocket of Preschool
Dinosaur Addition // Recipe for Teaching
Dinosaur Measurement Activities // Fairy Poppins
Dinosaur Clip Cards: Matching Numbers 1-12 // Liz’s Early Learning Spot
Dinosaur Board Game Counting Activity // Fun Learning for Kids
Dinosaur Sensory Bottle With Alphabet Printables // Letters of Literacy
Dinosaur Addition Cards // The STEM Laboratory
Dinosaur Counting Play Dough Mats // Fantastic Fun and Learning
Dinosaur Memory Game // Teach Me Mommy
Bossy R Dinosaur Sort // Sara J Creations
Dinosaur Word Family Center Freebie // The Primary Post
GET YOUR FREE PRINTABLE COUNTING MATS
Inside this free printable you get color mats for numbers 1-10. There is also a blank page with lines and two ten frames for writing number words, writing numbers, and practicing numbers to 20. Complete the form below to get yours!
The teaching resource books below include excellent information about loose parts play and teaching number sense.
MORE DINOSAUR FUN WITH PRINTABLE DINOSAUR THEME LESSON PLANS
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
The full Dinosaur Theme Lesson Plan Pack also includes:
1) Dinosaur Cards for sorting by color, making patterns and more
2) Counting Dinosaur Eggs Activity (1-10) in color and B/W
3) Count the Dinosaurs Emergent Reade (3 variations)
4) Dinosaur Roll and Graph Game in color and B/W
5) Dinosaur Skeleton Activity Mats
6) Dinosaur Word Cards
7) Beginning Sound Dinosaur Sort (D, I, N, O)
8) Dinosaur Number Cards (0-35) in color and B/W
9) Alphabet Train Dinosaur Matching Upper and Lowercase Letters
10) Rhyming Dinosaur Eggs
GET YOUR LESSON PLANS
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.