School of Earth Sciences
Bristol dinosaur project.
The discovery that Bristol has its own dinosaur, the Thecodontosaurus , presents a wonderful and unique opportunity to bring real science into schools. Since 2000, the Bristol Dinosaur Project team has been visiting schools all over Bristol and surrounding areas.
What is the Bristol Dinosaur?
Bristol's very own dinosaur, Thecodontosaurus , was found in 1834.
200 million years ago, when the small-sized Thecodontosaurus roamed the earth, England lay in tropical latitudes. The England that Thecodontosaurus wandered across would have resembled a tropical limestone archipelago at the time. During rainy seasons in this period, the dead bodies of dinosaurs, lizards and mammals were washed along the rivers. Some bodies washed up into caves in the limestone, and fossilized. These fossils are today found trapped in ancient cave systems in and around Bristol and South Wales, where the Bristol Dinosaur was found.
Thecodontosaurus was named in 1836 - only the fourth dinosaur ever to be named. Today, over 1000 species of dinosaurs have been named, but the world’s journey to understand dinosaurs has origins in Bristol.
What is the Bristol Dinosaur Project?
The Bristol Dinosaur Project brings science to life in the classroom through creative learning, whatever subject, theme or keystage. By working with local schools, the project aims to encourage children to think about science in a positive way, and engage with the history of their city.
The Bristol Dinosaur Project does this through:
- --> School visits The Bristol Dinosaur will come to your school and can deliver workshops and talks for key stages 1–4.
Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
Find out more on our blog, including stories and research from students past and present.
The Bristol Dinosaur Project was initiated in 1999. The project has received crucial support from a variety of partners, including:
- The Leverhulme Trust
- Heritage Lottery Fund
- Bristol City Museum
- Bristol Alumni Foundation
- Grades 6-12
- School Leaders
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These 20 Dinosaur Activities and Crafts for Kids Are Totally Dino-mite
Dig for bones, make fossils, and more prehistoric fun!
Dinosaurs are one of the first obsessions for many kids. Once they get started, they just can’t get enough! That’s why we know they’re going to love these dinosaur activities and games. They’re the perfect way to have fun and learn at the same time, in the classroom or at home. Pick a few to try now!
1. Dig into kinetic sand for dinos
Kinetic sand is so much fun to play with, and it goes perfectly with dinosaur activities. Bury some plastic dinos in the sand and let kids dig them out with small tools and brushes, just like real paleontologists.
Learn more: Fireflies and Mudpies
2. Go for a dino stomp
Make a set of cardboard dinosaur feet and let kids stomp and roar to their heart’s content! This is even more fun in the snow or dirt where you can leave giant tracks behind.
Learn more: Team Cartwright
3. Play with personalized finger puppets
Grab the free printables, then color and decorate these cute little dinos. Stick your fingers through the holes at the bottom, and you’ve got puppets for imaginative play.
Learn more: Nurtured Neurons
4. Build dinosaur skeletons from pasta
Round up a variety of pasta types, then use them to build dinosaur skeletons. Glue them to paper, or press them into clay to make your own fossils.
Learn more: PreKinders
5. Learn how clubbed tails work
Dinos like ankylosaurus had heavy clubbed tails … but why? Kids find out the answer with this simple hands-on experiment.
Learn more: Stay at Home Educator
6. Move like a dinosaur
Kids love dinosaur activities that let them get up and move. Roll the die and do your best dino moves, from a T-Rex twist to a Stegosaurus tail swing.
Learn more: Pre-K Pages
7. Sculpt some dino bones
Mix up a batch of salt dough and sculpt your own dinosaur bones. Once they’re dry, bury them in some dirt and then excavate!
Learn more: Simple Everyday Mom
8. Compare footprint sizes
We all know some dinosaurs were enormous, but dinosaur activities like this one really make it clear just how huge they were. Measure out a dino footprint, then fill it with kid-sized footprints to see how many it takes.
Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
9. Create a dinosaur terrarium
Use model dinosaurs to build adorable little terrarium scenes. Break them down by habitat type and era for deeper learning.
Learn more: Messy Little Monster
10. Craft a paper plate dino
This easy dinosaur craft is fun for kids to customize with paint, crayons, glitter, or anything else that strikes their fancy. The only limit is their imagination!
Learn more: Made To Be a Momma
11. Paint with dinosaur tracks
Make a prehistoric masterpiece! Pull out your favorite toys and use washable paint to make artwork with their tracks.
Learn more: Sunshine and Chaos
12. Sort dinosaurs by type
There are so many ways to sort dinosaurs: habitat, size, era, diet, and much more. Sort smaller toys in bins; use Hula-Hoops for larger ones like stuffed animals.
13. Turn cardboard tubes into a skeleton
Hang onto your toilet paper and paper towel tubes, then use them to assemble dinosaur skeletons. Kids will love it!
Learn more: Your Modern Family
14. Wear a dino hat
This is easily the cutest dinosaur activity around. Kids will get a kick out of tearing around in these cute dino hats, especially if you pair them with the big feet above!
Learn more: What Can We Do With Paper and Glue
15. Bake dinosaur footprint cookies
This is the perfect snack to eat while you’re reading a dinosaur book or watching a documentary together. Learning can be delicious!
Learn more: Buggie & Jellybean
16. Play a game of Tricera-toss
Throwing a dinosaur party? Put together a game of Tricera-toss featuring one of the most beloved of dinosaurs.
Learn more: Mom Trends
17. DIY a dino excavation kit
You can buy excavation kits, but they’re a little pricey. Save your money and learn how to make your own instead. It’s easier than you’d think!
Learn more: A Pumpkin and a Princess
18. Create a paper dinosaur
We know a lot about dinosaur bones, but we’re really not sure what they looked like on the outside. Let kids use their imagination and create their best ideas!
Learn more: Mini Matisse
19. Light the night with dino lanterns
Every dinosaur-loving kid is going to want some of these lanterns for their bedroom. Find out how to make them at the link.
20. Measure and compare dinosaur sizes
Research some of your favorite dinosaurs to find out how tall or long they were. Then measure and compare using sidewalk chalk outside or string inside.
Learn more: Math Geek Mama
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