Best Dinosaur Toys, Games and Books
A dinosaur excavation kit - There are excavation kits that allow children to be real paleontologists, discover fossil bones and use them to put together skeletons of the dinosaurs.
Dinosaur figures - My son has had dinosaur figures from about the age of 3. You can get a wide range of dinosaur playsets that help children learn through imaginative play.
Dinosaur books - There are lots of books about dinosaurs to encourage children to read more. We have actually borrowed quite a few dinosaur books from the library which is a good place to start exploring.
Dinosaur lego - My son received a dinosaur lego kit for his 6th birthday and it was on of his favorite presents. He enjoyed building it and then playing with it afterwards.
Games - There are lots of dinosaur games available including quiz games to help children understand everything there is to know about dinosaurs. My son especially liked dinosaur top trumps which is featured later on in the article.
As well as all the toys and games that are featured there are some ideas of dinosaur games you can play at home, dinosaur art and craft activities and online resources.
Read more for great suggestions of the best dinosaur toys below.
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Dinosaur Excavation Kits
A really good educational dinosaur toy for dinosaur lovers are excavation kits. With these kits you get to be a real paleontologist and chisel away for dinosaur fossil bones. When you have excavated them all you can put them together to make a dinosaur skeleton. It will keep a dinosaur lover occupied for hours and is great for building concentration skills, honing fine motor skills and giving the child confidence to complete a task.
My own son was given an excavation kit as a gift and he loved putting on the protective glasses that came with the kit and trying to find the bones. It was quite hard for him to chisel the "clay" the bones came in and he did need some help so I would recommend it for older children rather than younger ones.
Dinosaur Arts and Crafts Online
Make a Dinosaur Mask - find printable dinosaur masks for prehistoric play. Print out coloured dinosaur masks or ones little ones can color in themselves.
Dinosaur coloring pages - a quick google search will find zillions of dino coloring pages with specific dinosaurs if they know the names as well. Here is one page of dinosaur coloring to start off your search.
Make model dinosaurs - use paper mache, clay or other materials to make your own model dinosaur. It can be painted afterwards too. Here are step by step instructions to make a model stegosaurus out of clay.
Dinosaur collage - make a dinosaur collage is a great activity for toddlers or preschoolers with lots of gluing and sticking involved. Draw or cut out a dinosaur shape and cut up some tissue paper into different shapes and sizes. Little kids can then stick the tissue paper into the dinosaur shape and have a mulitcolored dinosaur.
Make dinosaur feet - how cool, make dinosaur feet that you can wear. Simple and fun to do. Check out how to do it here.
Make an arts and craft dinosaur book - Use a scrapbook to collect pictures of dinosaurs, to write dinosaur facts and present all your colorings and drawing. The stamp set below would be good to use in this kind for project.
Melissa and Doug Dinosaur Stamp Set
There are lots of art and craft ideas for for the dinosaur lover who is also a budding artist or creator.
One cool item to have in an arts and crafts box is the Melissa and Doug Dinosaur stamp set. Kids can create lovely pictures with the ink and stamps. The stamps include some of the biggest dinosaur names, Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Pteranodon, Ankylosaurus, Apatosaurus, and Velociraptor.
The set includes five colored pencils for sketching, scribbling, or filling in the details, and two large pads of washable ink. I would recommend putting down a cover on a table just to be on the safe side when using them. Kids have a habit of stamping everything in site as they are so much fun!
It's also worth checking out free dinosaur games online such as dinosaur bingo and dinosaur memory games. They are particularly great for younger children.
Also check out some options below.
Dinosaur Top Trumps Card Game
Dinosaur top trumps is a fun and simple card game.
Each card features a dinosaur and gives lots of information about the dinosaur. Each dinosaur card has different categories including height, age, length, weight and killer rating. One player chooses a category and plays their card against the cards of their opponents. Which dinosaur card trumps all the others?
We had this game for our son and it was great for learning to read some new words and to read and understand different numbers and concepts such as height and length.
Peaceable Kingdom Dinosaur Escape - A Cooperative Game for Kids
This is aimed at the younger kids age group from aged 4 plus. Kids aged 4 to 7 will probably enjoy it the most. It's a co-operative game so kids have to work together to complete the game. This is perfect for younger children who often get quite upset when they lose due to their black and white thinking. My younger son loses at everything including games against his older brother and cousins. Although I think it's good for kids to be able to lose, it's not so good if it happens all the time so this game is perfect for younger kids to play together.
The children have to help the three dinosaurs escape from a volcano threatening to erupt. The players work together to get all three dinosaurs safely to Dinosaur Island; if they are successful everyone wins.
Dinopoly is based on Monopoly the property based trading board game but it features dinosaurs instead. It is different to the traditional Monopoly game. Players can choose to play in the traditional format or play a one hour version.
The game features dinosaurs from giant-sized herbivores to teeny tiny carnivores. Players trade their fossils in for a dino bone to be the winner. Each dino deed features fun facts about that particular dinosaur. So kids will learn about dinosaurs as they play too.
Kids will also be counting out money which is fantastic for improving math skills.
The game is 2 to 6 players.
Educational Dinosaur Activities
Here are some ideas:
Play Simon Says with a dinosaur theme - Simon says gives your child a dinosaur action to carry out. Ideas include stomp like a dinosaur, fly like a pterodactyl, roar like a dinosaur etc. When you precede the command with Simon says your child must act out the command. However, when you don't say Simon Says they don't do it.
Dinosaur Worksheets - Search google for educational dinosaur worksheets you can do together. Ideas include a dinosaur word search or a dot to dot dinosaur.
Watch dinosaur movies - Watching some dinosaur movies will give kids an idea of what dinosaurs used to look like. Ideas include Jurassic Park, Ice Age and the Land Before Time. They will also fire you child's imagination.
Write a dinosaur story - you can get some inspiration from dinosaur books and write your own dinosaur story. Check out the magic treehouse book below which is perfect for a simple first chapter book as well.
Magic Treehouse - Dinosaurs Before Dark.
The magic treehouse series are the perfect first chapter books. Short, easy to read, interesting and exciting too.
It focuses on the adventures of Jack and Annie who have discovered a mysterious treehouse which is full of books. When they wish they can see something they see in one of they books, the treehouse often whisks them back in time to see what they have been reading about.
The have been on many adventures into the past in the series but in this book Jack wishes he could really see the Pteranodon pictured in one of the books. They are then transported back to the Cretaceous period. They begin to explore and are soon threatened by a Tyrannosaurus. But the Pteranodon comes to their rescue.
Factual Dinosaur Books
They're great to read to young children and you can encourage older children to read them on their own.
My 6 year old son likes dinosaurs and after I've read to him before bed, I let him look at a book of his own choosing for 10 minutes. He quite often chooses a dinosaur one and will read lots of dino facts to me. If we read a dinosaur book together I quite often play a dinosaur quiz game with him. I ask him a quiz question about what we just read about and he gets a point if he gets it right. He also asks me a question and I get a point if I get it right. The person with the most points wins. My son loves our "dinosaur game", it's great for his literacy too.
National Geographic Kids Ultimate Dinopedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever
This is a fantastic resource for the 7 to 10 age group but younger kids could use it to especially if they have some input from a parent or another adults.
It's really visual with lots of colorful pictures, photos and diagrams but there is so much information in here too.
It is organized by the periods Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous. It includes almost every dinosaur ever discovered, and highlights 125 species in detail.
Some of the sections include How We Know What They Looked Like, Baby Dinosaurs, Great Dinosaur Goofs, and much more.
Every featured dino gets a fact box that delivers important information at a glance—scientific name, discoverer, place and date of discovery, length, habitat, diet, fossils, fun facts, and range map.
Dinosaur Jigsaw Puzzles
If you have a child who loves dinosaurs why not get them a dinosaur jigsaw puzzle. The Melissa and Doug jigsaw puzzle featured is a fab choice for the 5 to 8 age group. There's 60 pieces in total.
Jigsaw puzzles have lots of great educational value.
They are great for improving problems solving skills, concentration, focus, social skills (if you work on them with another person), developing the ability to work independently (if you work on it on your own), spatial skills, analytical skill and hand and eye co-ordination.
They also build confidence through completing a project and great for teamwork when a child works on them with others. It can be bonding for a parent and child to work on them together.
Dinosaur Figures and Playsets
Animal Planet's Big Tub of Dinosaurs
This set include lots of plastic dinosaurs and accessories such as trees, rocks and volcanoes. It also comes with a small plastic play mat to play with them on.
The dinosaurs are several shapes and sizes.
There is also a storage tub for an easy and quick clean up. And the storage tub is great for carrying them to a friend of family's house to play with too.
A great set for younger children who participate in lots of imaginative play.
Dinosaur Lego Sets
Children use creative and imaginative skills when constructing with lego. It also helps improve concentration and hones fine motor skills.
Lego has released a number of Jurassic world sets based on the new movie Jurassic Park. These sets are mostly aimed at the 6 to 12 age group. .
The set featured includes a gyro sphere, a ferocious dilophosaurus and a truck, plus 2 mini figures (Gray and and ACU solider from the movie). There's lots of play opportunity once the set has been built. The gyro sphere is self balancing and when Gray is inside he stays upright and travels along.
Dinosaur Toys for Toddlers
Some ideas include chunky dinosaur puzzles, dinosaur figures such as the ones featured above and fun picture dinosuar books and stories. One series of books to check out is the "How do dinosaurs... books by Jane Yolen.
Toddlers also love plush dinosaur toys like the Melissa and Doug toy below.
Melissa & Doug T-Rex Dinosaur Plush
This is a fantastic toy.
Toddlers will be dragging this around to play with everywhere.
It's bold, bright colors make it attractive to young children.
It stands on it's own two feet.
It's large for a plush toy and measures 32" x 27" x 11".
The dinosaur is soft and made out of polyester fabric.