This simple preschool activity is a fun way to help your preschooler practice measuring and see how HUGE some of the dinosaurs were by making your own T-Rex footprint and comparing it to your family members’ feet.
Little boys and dinosaurs…they go together like peanut butter and jelly. And Little Man is hanging with the best of the dinosaur-lovers right now. He has requested a “dinosaur world” cake for his birthday next month and is constantly stomping around the house, roaring, and proclaiming himself to be a hungry T-Rex. That boy cracks me up.
Since I like to plan our preschool activities around things that Little Man seems interested in at any given time, I thought we were due for a dino-themed week. Little Man is thrilled. We’ve been reading about dinosaurs, sorting them by what they eat and how they move, singing songs, and lots of other fun things (see the bottom of the post for some great resources).
One activity we did the other day just kind of popped in my head, and I was happy to find that Little Man got really interested in it. We’ve been reading a book called How Big Were Dinosaurs? (affiliate link). It’s a Beehive Book Award Nominee for 2016, and Little Man loved learning about some lesser-known dinosaurs as well as some of his favorites. It’s great because it talks about how big (and small) various dinosaurs were in comparative terms that are easier for kids to understand.
Even with the book, though, I felt like it was still a little difficult for Little Man to grasp the size of these creatures. I wanted to create an activity for him that would make the measurements more concrete for him.
Here’s how we learned about how big the dinosaurs were by making our own T-Rex footprint and comparing it to our own feet.
- large sheet of paper (we love the rolls you can get at IKEA, but any butcher paper or a poster board would work)
- measuring tape
- Other miscellaneous objects (optional)
What to do:
- First, lay out your paper and measure the size of your T-Rex foot. According to Enchanted Learning, a T Rex footprint was about 3.3 feet (1 meter) long and 1.55 feet (46 cm) wide. I had Little Man help hold the measuring tape while we marked the measurements.
- Sketch out your footprint. I just free-handed my footprint based on an image I found here. I’m not claiming that it’s super scientifically accurate, but I was more concerned with the overall measurements than the exact shape. Once we had a basic shape, I traced over it in marker and cut it out.
- Tape your footprint to the floor (this was important for us because the paper kept rolling up when we tried to leave it loose).
- Gather up a shoe to represent every member of your family. Start with your child’s shoe, and measure how many of his/her shoes you can fit from heel to toe inside the footprint. For Little Man, it was five. Then, do the same measuring with each family member’s shoe. We had an interesting result. Daddy’s shoe fit 3 times, mom’s fit 4, Little Man’s fit 5, and Little Brother’s fit 6.
- This also led to a great discussion about WHY Daddy’s shoe fit fewer times than Mommy’s, and other similar questions. It was a great little math skills lesson that Little Man found fascinating. He insisted that we leave out the footprint so we could show Daddy when he got home.
- If your child is still interested in measuring, you could take your dinosaur foot and use it to measure other objects in the house, as Jenae did over on I Can Teach My Child.
Want more fun dinosaur learning activities? Try these:
I regularly link up here.