Dinosaurs have captured the human imagination for centuries. We’ve been trying to put together their story since we recognized their discovery and didn’t label them to be dragon bones. What you may not know is that most of the dinosaur skeletons that we see in museums are actually Frankenstein collections because its so hard to find a complete skeleton in one place. The kids are going to have to do the same thing. Print out one of the skeletons below, cut them out according to the instructions, and scatter the “bones” across the yard to challenge the kids to put together a full skeleton. The project costs as much as the price of ink and it’ll take the kids about 10-20 minutes to find one dinosaur skeleton depending on how you hid the parts and how large the space is. This DIY home game is not pet friendly. A smaller version of the game is good for ages 3+ and a more complex version is good for ages 7+.
- a printer/photocopier with black ink
- (optional): glue
Decide how many dinosaurs you want the kids to find. Print out one copy and cut out the paper around the bones to the best of your ability. You can go ahead and print out the other skeletons as well. Grab another piece of printer paper. Write “Name” and a long line in the upper right hand corner of that paper and tape your dinosaur in the center. If you’re going to have more than one dinosaur, then put one skeleton closer to the top and one closer to the bottom. Trace around the dinosaur skeleton with a medium to thick dark ink marker.
When you’re done tracing the dinosaurs, remove the skeletons and photocopy the traced paper as many times as there will be guests at the party plus 1-2 more. WARNING: do not do this before the night before the party starts. This is for the sake of your own sanity.
Cut up the dinosaur bones in chucks. For example, make the tail one chunk, the neck and head another, and cut the torso with the legs in half. The less parts there are, the faster the kids will put together the dinosaur. The more parts there are, your chances of losing your sanity and the pieces of paper becoming undiscoverable until they show up in your vacuum cleaner a month later increase.
Try to layer the paper while cutting to get more uniform results. You can enlist your child(ren)’s help, but they may not cut it as uniformly as the game requires. Once you are done cutting, store each of the parts with its clone parts (i.e. T. rex necks are kept together with one paper clip and T. Rex tails are kept together with another).
Here are the dinosaur skeleton options:
Before the party starts or right before the activity starts you or whomever is helping you with the party should scatter the paper bones in hiding spots. I recommend doing this indoor so that your dinosaur bits don’t fly away. If you put bones together, then they should be of the same part such putting necks with necks or also using some of that space for the other dinosaur’s bones. Some good hiding spots include inside the vase of an indoor plant, under a chair leg, behind a family photo, slightly tucked underneath a closed door, and stuck on the side of a bulletin board.
Set up a station where the kids can glue their dinosaur parts onto their dinosaur finding sheets in advance. Give everyone a dinosaur sheet when you’re starting the activity. Read the kids the story and have fun!
Who here likes dinosaurs? (Wait for an excited response from your audience).
I heard a rumor that we have some full, mini fossils floating around our house. They should each fit into one of outlines on your dinosaur excavation sheet. They’re in this area, so you don’t need to wander around the rest of the house.
When you find a fossil piece, come back to this station to glue it. Have fun!