Monday, November 25, 2019

Dinosaurs! - Family Storytime

Dinosaur Storytime

Yes, dinosaurs again. I never outgrew my childhood fascination with dinosaurs and paleontology, so I have to do at least a couple of dinosaur programs every year. [Plus it gives me another chance to wear my dinosaur dress and earrings!]

Last year I finally got the chance to do a whole big month-long Dinovember program that included passive programming, storytimes, a school-age STEM program, a dinosaur hunt, and social media campaign, and had hopes of doing it again this year on an even grander scale. However, our previous social media person left, and our social media situation is currently a mess, to put it bluntly. Without having the social media component and promotion, Dinovember really wouldn't be the same, so I decided to scrap it for this year and just do a dinosaur storytime.

Dinosaur StorytimeWe started with a "Hello" song, and warmed up with "Hello, Everybody" which has lots of fun motions. I then gave an introduction and we talked a little about our favorite dinosaurs. Then I led into our first book with "If You're Ready For a Story".

I chose a relatively new book, I Love My Dinosaur by Giles Andreae for our first story. This books shows a boy and his pet dinosaur as they go through their daily activities, and of course the dinosaur has to sleep with the boy so he (the dinosaur) won't be scared. Short, simple text combines with Emma Dodd's bright, bold, uncluttered illustrations with heavy outlines.

We followed that with one of my favorite songs that the kids always love doing:

Five Little Dinosaurs
(to the tune of "Five Little Ducks")

One little dinosaur went out to play,
Out in a giant swamp one day.
She had such enormous fun,
She called for another dinosaur to come.
(put hands to mouth and call, then slap thighs to sound like running)

Two little dinosaurs....Three little dinosaurs....Four little dinosaurs....

Five little dinosaurs went out to play,
Out in a giant swamp one day.
They had such enormous fun,
They played all day til the day was done.

Then the mommy dinosaurs called,
"Oh, little dinosaurs! It's time to come home!"
(slap thighs to imitate running home)

Dinosaur Storytime, Dinosaur Pop-Up Book
Next I read a great pop-up book, Dinosaur Stomp by Paul Stickland. All the dinosaurs are getting ready to go to the big party in the swamp! 

Pop-up books are always a big hit, and the pop-ups in this are engaging, without being too intricate or delicate (thus easily damaged), and Stickland's dinosaurs are a nice blend of cartoony without being completely unrealistic, and have very engaging facial expressions. The text is short and simple, so this is a good all-ages choice.

Then we got a chance to practice our dinosaur stomp, and more as we pretended to be dinosaurs with this song to the tune of "The Wheels On The Bus":

The Dinosaurs Go...

Tyrannosaurus rex goes roar, roar, roar.
Roar, roar, roar. Roar, roar, roar.
Tyrannosaurus rex goes roar, roar, roar,
All day long.

Pteranodon goes flap, flap, flap...
Mosasaurus' tail goes splash, splash, splash...
Triceratops goes munch, munch, much...
Brontosaurus goes stomp, stomp, stomp...

Dinosaur StorytimeI had initially planned to read We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins as I have not had a chance to use it yet, but I was afraid it might be too long, so I switched and read Jane Yolen's How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food

With Thanksgiving coming up, I thought it was a great time to talk about good table manners and trying different kinds of foods, and the kids are almost all familiar with this series and love it. It has relatively short rhyming text that has a nice rhythm and cadence when read aloud, and Mark Teague's illustrations are wonderfully realistic. I especially like how he hides the scientific name of each dinosaur within the illustrations.

We ended with a closing song, and I put out our extra large toy dinosaurs (pictured below from last year's Dinovember, from Lakeshore Learning) for them to play with, and an optional fold-and-cut 3-D dinosaur craft to make, with "Wee Sing Dinosaurs" playing in the background.

Dinosaur Storytime

Optional Craft

Back in the summer I did a preschool dinosaur program with multiple stations, one of which was making this simple 3D dinosaur from cardstock using this free printable file from Krokotak, which proved to be surprisingly popular. I had a lot leftover, which meant a ready-made storytime craft! All I had to provide was crayons to color it and scissors to cut it out, then they just had to fold along the dotted lines.

Dinosaur craft, dinosaur storytime

How It Went

This was probably one of the best family storytimes I've had in a while. I had a slightly larger than usual crowd, and had quite a few older kids instead of just 2-3 year olds, which is always a big help. The best thing of all was that all the older kids came and sat in the floor right in front of me!

That may not sound like a big deal, but I have been shocked at how hard it is to get people to move in closer so they can see the pictures and hear better. It is so much easier to keep their attention when they sit close, and easier to engage and interact with them. 

All the books and songs went well, and they had a great time making their own dinosaur and playing with the toy dinosaurs afterward.


  1. Is it possible for one to outgrow their love of dinosaurs?! I just scored a great gently used big book copy of Dinosaur Roar and I can't wait to bring it out for storytime. Asking kiddos and grown-ups to sit closer is something I always forget makes such a difference, too.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Storytime in the Stacks

    1. I have a pop-up version of Dinosaur Roar, but I've never seen a big book version; great score! I wish more of the books I like for storytime came in big book versions.