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Dinosaur Grid Game

September 12, 2008
children playing dinosaur grid game

This activity lets your child use all the information he knows about dinosaurs in different way. It also reinforces location terms like: top, bottom, middle, left and right.

Using the characteristics that your child will be familiar with, you will give him clues to figure out which dinosaur goes into a specific box on the grid.  You can use directions like: top left, middle, right or you can put a colored shape in each box.  Have the necessary dinosaurs available for your child to select for the clues.  Making the grid large enough for him to stand in makes it more interactive and your child will enjoy it.

Dinosaur Facts

Dinosaur Characteristics
  • Meaning: anchi – near, cerat – horn, ops – face
  • Long frill behind two horns, a third horn above
  • parrot-like beak
  • Meaning: “rigid lizard”
  • Clubbed tail, walks on all four legs
  • Meaning: “deceptive lizard”
  • Tooth – peg like
  • long necked
  • Meaning: “arm lizard”
  • fore legs longer than hind legs
  • long necked
  • Meaning: “meat-bull”
  • Horns like a bull
  • Has forearms with 4 fingers
  • Bumps line the skin and are larger near the spine.
  • Meaning: “dainty jaw”
  • small like a turkey – forearms – 3 fingers
  • Weight: 6.5lbs
Duckbill (Hadrosaurus)
  • Meaning: “sturdy lizard”
  • Egg:  10-12 cm long, 7.9 cm wide
  • Meaning: “thick headed lizard”
  • Pachy-  “thick”
  • Cephale- “head”
  • Saurus- “lizard”
  • dome on head (10 inches thick), bipedal
  • omnivore – plants and animals
  • Meaning: “near crested lizard”
  • length of skull with crest (5.2 ft)
  • large crest on head, bipedal and quadruped, both
  • Meaning: plesios, near to
  • sauros, lizard
  • lives in water, short tail and long neck- neck is longer than tail
  • Is NOT a dinosaur.
  • Meaning: “roof-lizard”
  • stegos – “roof”
  • sauros – “lizard”
  • Plates on back, quadruped, smallest brain 2.8 oz
  • Weight: 10,000 lbs
  • Meaning: “three-horned face”
  • tri –  “three”
  • ceras – “horn”
  • –ops –  “face”
  • three horns (skull – 7 feet)
Tyrannosaurus Rex
  • Meaning: tyrannosaurus  – “tyrant” lizard, rex – “king”
  • Tooth – 12″ long including root
  • Meaning: “swift thief”
  • Biped and feathered, sickle claw 2.5 inches

Preparation for Dinosaur Grid Game

masking tape or string
assorted dinosaurs to fit the clues
list of clues to start with
  1. Get ideas for a list of clues you can use.
  2. You may want to make a chart with your child of the different characteristics for dinosaurs that he can add information to as he learns it.  This would be a great visual tool, as well as, a source for coming up with more clues! PDF of pictures of the dinosaurs.

Set-up for Dinosaur Grid Game

tape or string to make the grid
plastic dinosaurs for each direction or a picture of each
  1. Using the string or tape, mark the grid with 2′ x 3′ squares.
  2. Make at least 6 boxes.
  3. Place dinosaurs to select from nearby. There are some sample clues in this PDF file.
  4. Making directions that are complex or easy depending on the child.
    For example you could say:

    1. Put the meat eating dinosaur in the top yellow square (for young children that aren’t familiar with left and right, you can put colored shapes or just colors into the squares)
    2. Put the carnivore in the square on the top left (this would be appropriate for an older child).
    3. Put the long neck into the middle square…etc
  5. If he is having difficulty determining a location, guide him with simple directions, such as, “When you are standing here (at the base of the grid), what would be the top?”
  6. After your child goes through it once, he can make his own clues up for others  to match the dinosaurs to.  It shows what he has mastered and allows him to gain further understanding when he explains it to others.


Great dinosaur museum web sites:

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