Wednesday, May 18, 2011

If I Had a Pet Dinosaur

If your child likes dinosaurs, making a mess, and has a wild imagination, this is a great activity! Working after school for three days, my son made a dinosaur egg, painted it, “hatched” it, and wrote about what it would be like to have a pet dinosaur. Here’s how he … um, I mean we … accomplished all that:

Day 1
PREP: Put a small plastic dinosaur toy inside a balloon and blow it up when your son/daughter isn’t around. Cut up strips of newspaper and mix white glue and water in a 2 to 1 ratio (i.e., twice as much glue as water).

After school, we read about dinosaur eggs and nests in Kate Petty's book "I Didn't Know That Dinosaurs Laid Eggs." Then we paper machéd two layers of newspaper onto the balloon. For directions on how to do this, check out instructions online. Notice I said we not he; it turns out not all boys like to make such a big mess. With a half complete balloon, I had to step in and help. (Be prepared to have glue under your fingernails.) I hung the balloon with a chip clip on a clothing rack to dry. NOTE: My son had no idea there was a dinosaur inside because our red balloon wasn’t very translucent; avoid using a white or yellow balloon to keep the secret.

Day 2
Twenty-four hours later when the paper maché was dry, he painted the papered balloon white. Once this was done, I had him go on a dinosaur hunt.

Day 3
PREP: Before my son came home from school I popped the balloon and pulled it out of the "egg," leaving the dinosaur inside. I drew lines radiating out from the hole and added small cuts to make it look like the egg was cracking.

When school was out, my son cut open the egg and discovered the baby dinosaur inside. WHAT A SURPRISE!! Then we read the book “Have You Seen My Dinosaur?”  by Jon Surgal (this rhyming tale reminded me of “Green Eggs and Ham” and had many sentences easy enough for my son to read on his own). Afterwards, he completed a worksheet by writing about his new “pet” dinosaur.

We’re so glad that Cody the Triceratops has joined our family! (I just hope he doesn’t drink all of my soda pop.)

Download a PDF of the "If I had a pet dinosaur ..." worksheet here.


  1. Great his answers. I also love the word scramble with magnets....I'm going to have to use that. Lots of great ideas here!
    Thanks for visiting my page too.
    Marcia :)

  2. What a fun idea! I need to remember this for a random project some day.

  3. I can't open the file and would love to use it next week. Would you be able to re-post it or send it to me? Thanks!

    1. Email me at and I'll reply with the PDF attached. Since the files are in Google Drive, you'll need to log in to a Google account before clicking the link.