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


  • 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? (No, we have different kinds of teeth in our mouths to chew different kinds of food). 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. Explain that this tooth 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 (dogs, cats, tigers, alligators). 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 so that they can mash and chew plants. Tell them that people and animals that eat plants are called herbivores. Ask them to think of some animals that might be herbivores (horse, camel, elephant, rabbit). If it is a plant eater say, “Yes, it’s an herbivore. If the animal eats both meat and plants tell the children that it is both an herbivore and a carnivore and is called an omnivore. Let the children name animals and guess if it is a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore.

Science/Scientific Skills & Measurements; begins to use senses and a variety of tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships. AND Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and respect for their bodies and the environment.

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; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways. AND Science/Scientific Methods & Skills; develops increased abilities wo observe and discuss common properties, differences and comparisons among objects and materials.

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/ Numbers & Operations; demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for problem solving and determining quantities.


Bring in pictures of dinosaurs or books about dinosaurs.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest and involvement in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction and non-fiction books and poetry.

Do a web search of dinosaur pictures to color and print off 4-5 realistic looking pictures for the children to talk about, compare, and color.

Literacy/Early Writing; experiments with a growing variety of writing tools and materials, such as pencils, crayons, and computers.

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; expresses through movement and dancing what is felt and heard in various musical tempos and styles.


Dinosaurs in blocks would be fun. If you do not have dinosaurs, cut out pictures from the internet and tape to your blocks.

Creative Arts/Dramatic play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming roles in dramatic play situations.


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 tabletop, help them be aware that the two colors are mixing into a new one. Make sure to give yourself a little extra clean-up time. Children seem to really enjoy painting the table but it takes extra time to clean.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; shows increased awareness and beginning understanding of changes in materials and cause-effect relationships.

Library and Writing

Write D/d on a piece of paper. Point to and name the capital D and then do the same with the lower case d. Tell the children that D/d is the letter that begins the word dinosaur. Have the children practice making the D/d sound several times. Ask the children to think of as many D/d words as they can and write them on the paper repeating the /d/ sound and the word each time.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress in associating names of letters with their shapes and sounds. AND Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing awareness of beginning and ending sounds in 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. You could have the children roar for each other when they or you have seen someone do an act of kindness or friendship.

Social and Emotional Development/Social Relationships; shows progress in developing friendships with peers.

Math and Manipulatives

This would be a good day to put out any puzzles relating to dinosaurs, teeth, or numbers. If you have none of these, any puzzles will do, both table and floor.

Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; grows in abilities to persist in and complete a variety of tasks, activities, projects, or 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 other dinosaurs . 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.

Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills; shows increasing levels of proficiency, control, and balance in walking, climbing, running, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching, and galloping. Mathematics/Numbers & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways. Develops increased abilities to combine, separate, and name “how many” concrete objects.


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.

Literacy/Listening & Understanding; understands an increasingly complex and varies vocabulary.

Dear Parents, Help your child learn to count by doing this little dinosaur song. As you sing each number hold up the corresponding finger.

Ten 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 there are no more.