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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
It’s hard to pin down what makes dinosaurs so fascinating to preschool students. Maybe it’s the fact that they don’t exist any more, or maybe it’s that they feel magical and fantastical in nature, so the fact they were actually real makes the world a more interesting place. No matter what the reason, you’ll always find success with a prehistoric theme in your classroom, and you can add dinosaurs to just about every academic component of your day. This letter-saurus fossil digging alphabet activities for preschool will have your students excited about letter recognition as they become junior paleontologists for the day.
Bring Play Into Learning With This Dinosaur Letter ID Activity!
It’s common knowledge among preschool teachers that play is the best vehicle for any academic learning (a fact that sometimes gets lost in the upper grades). Playing activates all sorts of receptors in your students’ brains which makes any learning through play stick more than just repetition, though of course the more times a student practices a skill the more likely they are to retain it. This dinosaur letter ID activity brings the joy of dinosaurs together with some fun hands-on activities that will make your students feel like they’re playing first and foremost, with the letter recognition and naming skill as a side skill to work on.
Preparing Your Alphabet Activities for Preschool
Print, laminate and cut apart the letter cards. Print out the coloring letter mat. Students will have fun matching the letter card to the letters on the dinosaur until the whole alphabet has been found. You can set up the letter cards around your classroom or in a sensory bin to transform this into a digging game for preschool.
Get Hands On With Letter-saurus Fossil Digging
Your students will love to color in the letter-saurus playing mat as they get ready to become fossil diggers. The basic activity is matching the letter card to the letter on the playing mat and coloring it as they “discover” each letter. You can make it a paired activity by having students take turns to read each letter out loud for their partner who colors it in. However, the play comes in as you turn this into a digging game for preschool, and these are some possible ways to bring play to this dinosaur letter ID activity:
Bury the letters – the most obvious digging game for preschool is to hide all the letters in your sandpit and give your students miniature shovels and brushes to “dig” up the letter cards. Be sure to laminate the letter cards so that multiple groups can do this activity as it will quickly become a firm favorite. You should also buy some small plastic dinosaurs for a surprise find as they’re working.
Create a treasure hunt – another way to help students play is to hide the letter cards around a specific area (e.g. your classroom or the outdoor learning area). You can then either let your students run wild and find the cards as quickly as possible, or give them clues that will lead them to groups of cards hidden together.
Jump for letters – finally, you can add an active component to their learning by hanging the letter cards on a string and have the students jump to retrieve them. You’ll likely need to have multiple strings to accommodate the height and athletic differences in your classroom, but they’ll enjoy the satisfaction of getting each of the letter cards.