Preschool dinosaur activities: Ideas for inspiring pretend play

toddler girl playing outside with four different plastic dinosaur toys, including a sauropod, Pachycephalosaurus, and hadrosaur

These preschool dinosaur activities begin with a thought experiment. If you were given a living dinosaur to take care of, what would you do? There are no rules, and kids can use a variety of props to bring their ideas to life. The goal is to learn about dinosaurs, think imaginatively, solve practical problems, and keep a record of your discoveries.

Preschool and kindergarten science activities about tracking animals

A little girl studying an animal track - a canine paw print - left in dirt.

© 2009 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved These preschool and kindergarten science activities build on what most young children are already interested in — animals! And in addition to teaching lessons about biology, they also offer kids opportunities to practice analytical, spatial, and symbolic reasoning skills. Where to begin: Free exploration with Read More »

Evidence-based social skills activities for children and teens (with teaching tips)

diverse circle of children's happy faces

These social skills activities can help kids forge positive relationships — and better understand what other people are feeling and thinking. How can we help children develop social competence — the ability to read emotions, cooperate, make friends, and negotiate conflicts? Kids learn when we act as good role models, and they benefit we create environments that Read More »

Preschool science experiment: Using ice to teach kids about scientific concepts (with crucial safety tips)

preschool boy carefully removing ice tray from freezer

© 2008 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved A preschool science experiment is an opportunity to introduce children to the concepts of observation, prediction, and testing (Gelman and Brenneman 2004). Exciting? Yes. But it’s also tricky. On the one hand, research suggests that young children don’t think as creatively or as critically when Read More »

Cooperative board games for kids

family playing a board game - grandfather leaning on the floor with two grandchildren

Cooperative board games have a lot in common with competitive board games. There’s a board. There are game pieces. Individual players take turns. But cooperative games differ in one key respect: Everyone is on the same team, working toward the same goal. What’s the point of this? Isn’t competition a fact of life? Why should Read More »

Preschool science activities: How to nurture your child’s interest in the natural world

© 2008 – 2012 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Can we design better preschool science activities? Activities that stimulate curiosity, teach science concepts, and avoid overwhelming or boring children with lessons that are developmentally inappropriate? In the article below, I review the advice of educational and cognitive psychologists about preschool science education. But if Read More »

Preschool science experiment: Making mud bricks

This preschool science experiment is designed for kids who have already had experience playing with mud — both mixing mud and drying out mud. For best results, try this experiment after your child has explored the properties of dirt and mud. Materials Multiple dirt samples (sand, topsoil, dirt-and-gravel, etc.) Dried leaves or grass Sticks Buckets Read More »