When you’re studying dinosaurs with preschoolers, nothing really takes the place of a trip to a dinosaur museum or another hands-on dinosaur experience. Check in your local area and see what options you may have. Don’t forget to check into nearby universities as some have free exhibits or perhaps a professor (or maybe a grad student) who would meet with your group of little ones and show a few prehistoric specimen.
When I took a group of preschoolers to a dinosaur museum lately, I was sure to pack along my camera. I took pictures of the children as they explored, but I also took a lot of pictures of the dinosaurs themselves. After printing the pictures, I put each one on a single page and then combined the pages for a book. I shared the book during large group as we talked about the trip. We had been learning through lots of great dinosaur books. I told the children that they were now the dinosaur experts, that this was their book, and they needed to add the words to go with the pictures.
Throughout the next few weeks, I occasionally asked some of the children during self-selected time if they had anything to add to the book. Sometimes, children would come to me with the book, wanting to share their thoughts. The children would dictate their ideas and I would write, adding their names at the end of the comments so that everyone could see who had contributed. It was great to see the children pull out resource books to identify the dinosaurs in our own book. I would ask these children to read each letter of the dinosaurs’ names to me, so that I could spell them correctly. It was a great way to reinforce their field trip experience while also incorporating fantastic language and prereading skills! On top of it all, the children were very proud of their own book in our classroom library, and loved to “read” from it! Try it for yourself with your next field trip!