Ten Terrible Dinosaurs, by Paul Strickland

            What child doesn’t like dinosaurs?  This fun book will help children with their number awareness. 


  • A variety of small dinosaurs
  • Some rocks, sticks, grass, etc. to make dinosaur habitats/dioramas


  •   Enormous (really, really big)
  •   Spiky (sharp and pointed)
  •   Elated (to be happy)
  •   Feisty (acting pretty wild)
  •   Weary (tired)
  •   Carnivore (one who eats meat)
  •   Herbivore (one who eats plants)
  • Canine teeth (the pointed tooth between the incisors and the molars, people have   one on each side of their mouth.)

Before Reading the Story

            Today the children will be exploring their teeth before reading the story.  Make sure that the children have washed their hands appropriately before they come to the group today so that they will not be putting dirty fingers into their mouths.  On a piece of paper, draw a large tooth.  Ask the children if they know what it is.  Talk for a moment about dental care (brushing, dentist visits, minimal sugars, and not using teeth to open things).  After you have discussed dental care to your and the children’s satisfaction, point to the tooth you drew and ask the children if all teeth are shaped like this.  Draw a pointy canine tooth.  Tell them that some teeth are shaped like this and ask them to touch the tooth in their mouth that is pointy  like this.  Explain that this tooth is called a canine tooth. It is pointy so that it can tear and eat meat.  People and animals that eat meat are called carnivores.  Ask them to think about other animals that might have pointy teeth.  After each, if it is a meat eater say, “Yes, it’s a carnivore”.  Have the children go back into their mouths and touch a back molar.  Explain that some teeth are flat like these and are called molars. People and animals use them so that they can chew plants like vegetables and fruits.  Tell them that people and animals that eat plants are called herbivores.  Ask them to think of some animals that might be herbivores.  If it is a plant eater say, “Yes, a (rabbit) is an herbivore.  If the animal eats both meat and plants tell the children that it is both an herbivore and a carnivore and has a special name called omnivore.  Let the children name animals and guess. Make sure the children are repeating back the words to you. (I like meat and veggies so I am an omnivore. My sister only eats veggies so she is an herbivore like a rabbit).

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations. AND Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; uses an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.

Reading the Story

            Tell the children that your story today is about a creature that is sometimes an herbivore and sometimes a carnivore.  Read the title of the book and look at the dinosaurs on the cover.  Point to each one and ask, could this one be a carnivore?  (Only the ones with visible teeth count)  When you get to the pages that say, “so then there were”…pause to see if the children can name the correct number. 

Mathematics/Number & Operations; demonstrates and increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.

After reading the Story

            Hold up 10 fingers and state, “10 take away one equals _____.  Let down a finger.  (take away one equals ____.)  Continue down to zero. 

Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increased abilities to combine, seperate, and name “how many” concrete objects.


            Bring in pictures of dinosaurs or books about dinosaurs.  Literacy Knowledge and skills; shows interest in shared reading experiences and looking at books independently. 

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest in reading-related activities, such as asking to have a favorite book read; choosing to look at books; drawing pictures based on stories; asking to take books home; going to the library; and engaging in pretend reading with a peer.

Music and Movement

            Say, “Feel that shaking on the floor, must be the dancing of the dinosaurs!”  Turn on some lively music and stomp, twist and dance to the music. 

Creative Arts/Movement; shows growth in moving in time to different patterns of beat and rhythm in music.

Sing 10 Big Dinosaurs to the tune of 10 little indians.

1 big, 2 big, 3 big dinosaurs,

4 big, 5 big, 6 big dinosaurs,

7 big, 8 big, 9 big dinosaurs,

Ten big dinosaurs!

They all lived a long, long time ago.

They all lived a long, long time ago.

They all lived a long, long time ago.

.Now they are extinct. (Now they live no more)

Mathematics/Number & Operations;develops increasing ability to count to ten and beyond.


            Dinosaurs in blocks would be fun.  Encourage children to create a habitat. Hang a picture on the wall so the children can see what earth looked like during the dinosaur era.

Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Curiosity; demonstrates increasing ability to set goals and develop and follow through on plans.


            Move the chairs away from your art table and have the children stand around the edges.  Tell them that you are going to be dancing, twirling, silly dinosaurs.  Put out two primary colors of finger paint directly on the table and some lively music.  As the children finger paint the table top, help them be aware that the two colors are mixing into a new one.  (This is really fun but make sure to give yourself ample clean-up time as it tends to be messy).

Creative Arts/Movement; shows growth in moving in time to different patterns of beat and rhythm in music. AND Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to use senses and a variety of tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.

Library and Writing

            Make a large D on a piece of paper.  Tell the children that this is a capital D that begins the word dinosaur.  Ask the children to think of as many D words as they can and write them on the paper with the large D.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing awareness of beginning and ending sounds of words.

Sand and Water

            Add small dinosaurs to the sand table.  Dampen the sand so the children can make mountains, craters, and volcanoes.  Add rocks and sticks to make a dinosaur diorama. 

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; approaches tasks and activities with increased flexibility, imagination, and inventiveness.

Dramatic Play

            As the children move about the room today, at intervals call out , “Dinosaurs Roar!” and encourage all the children to roar loudly with you.  When you are counting down 10 minutes to clean-up you can ask the dinosaurs if they heard you and they can roar, Kerry, it’s time to use the bathroom (have Kerry roar that she heard you). If a child is feeling frustrated ask them to roar and then ask them to raor again louder.

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Control; shows progress in expressing feelings, needs, and opinions in difficult situations and conflicts without harming self, others, or property.

Math and Manipulatives

            This would be a good day to put out any puzzles relating to dinosaurs, teeth, or numbers. 

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors. AND Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; grows in abilities to persist in and complete a variety of tasks, activities, projects, and experiences.

Outdoor Play

            Choose one child to be the ferocious, meat eating Tyrannosaurus Rex.  The rest of the children can be the gentle plant-eating dinosaurs.  The T Rex is it and chases the others.  If they are caught, they must go stand by a tree and pretend to eat the leaves until the T Rex has caught three children and then a new T Rex is chosen. 

Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; develops increasing abilities to give and take in interactions; to take turns in games and using materials; and to interact without being overly directive or submissive. AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.


            As the children go to their next activity, ask them to make loud chomping sounds if they are an herbivore plant eater, roar if they are a carnivore meat eater, now stomp on off. 

Language Development/Listening & Understanding;understands an increasingly and complex vocabulary.


to hang in block center
About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.