Setting up a Dinosaur Dig Dramatic Play

Setting up a Dinosaur Dig Dramatic Play

Have you ever met a preschooler that doesn't LOVE dinosaurs? I didn't think so. Dinosaurs are a topic that is always a hit in my classroom. Today we are talking about how to embrace the love of dinosaurs with a fun and educational Dinosaur Dig dramatic play. 


dinosaur dramatic play


This dinosaur dramatic play takes a bit of prep, but the effort is worth it when you see the little one’s faces light up as they dig. The first thing to prepare is the fossils. These are the star of the show. I used toy dinosaurs for the shapes and made lots of different sizes. Here is the recipe, don’t forget to pin it for later, you can also find it in my Dinosaur Week lesson plans 

dinosaur fossil recipe preschool

Once you have the fossils, it’s time to set up your center. Print and laminate your signs and labels. Use a table or shelf to create a tool station, my tools were mostly found in my classroom or at the dollar store. 

preschool dinosaur pretend play

Tools The Kids Loved: 

- Large paint brushes to dust them off

- Child tweezers to pick the fossils up

- Magnifying glass to get a closer look (our dollar store one didn’t work so well, but this one comes highly recommended). 

preschool dinosaur dig pretend play

Fill your sensory bin with sand, small brushes, toothbrushes, kid tweezers, and bury the fossils. One thing to consider when choosing a location to set up your center is the sand. Sand is messy, so much fun but also so messy.  Be prepared to vacuum up lots of sand afterward, so if the weather is cooperating this would be a great outdoor activity! 

Pretend Play 

Once you are all set up, it’s time to dig! Littles learners transform into budding paleontologists and use their tools to search for fossils. This makes for a great discussion not only on dinosaurs but also on jobs, and the role of a paleontologist. 

preschool dinosaur pretend play

They LOVED digging and brushing off their fossils. If you want to split up the sensory bin and pretend play into multiple days, you can have kids just explore today and continue to the next part of the play (sorting) the following day. 

preschool dinosaur pretend play

Sorting Fossils

After students have found all of the fossils (make sure to count before you begin so you know how many to find), we dust them off so they are ready to sort! 

On a separate table, prepare a sorting station. Put out the three labels, (small, medium, and large) with baskets or boxes in front of them for students to put the fossils in. This is a great opportunity for discussions on comparing sizes (“that one looks small, but it’s bigger than this one so it must be medium” etc). 

preschool dinosaur pretend play

As I said before, you would be hard-pressed to find a kid who does not love dinosaurs, so this dramatic play is sure to be a hit in any home or classroom.

@preschoolpackets I’m not sure how I’m going to top dinosaur week! The kids had so much fun with all the centers! #dinosaursforkids #homedaycare #sensorybinideas ♬ At Jurassic World's End Credits / Suite - Michael Giacchino

You can find all of the printables in my Dinosaur Week lesson plan along with 5 days of dino-themed lessons, book recommendations, and activities. 

dinosaur dig pretend play preschool

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