Dinovember | Early Literacy Tips

For November’s early literacy tips, we are sharing ways to incorporate learning about shapes and letter-recognition into Dinovember! Find great activities relating to dinosaurs, shapes, and letters below:

Shaping Up

Shapes are one of the most important things your preschooler will learn! Practicing shapes will help teach your child letter recognition and the foundations of geometry. Here are some ways you can practice together:

  • Spot shapes everywhere | Look for them on signs, in books, and in your daily life. Take turns playing ‘I Spy’ for shapes when you’re out and about.
  • Shape Hopscotch | Kids love to hop! Cut shapes out of paper, tape them to the floor, and call them out for your child to hop upon. Make them different colors and orientations for extra difficulty!
  • Do puzzles together | Age-appropriate puzzles are one of the best learning tools! Turning pieces until they fit hones fine-motor and concentration skills, as well as spatial recognition skills. You can find these at dollar stores or make your own from cut-up cereal boxes, calendars, magazines, etc.

Dinosaur Crafts and Activities

  • Dino-Stomping Feet | Empty tissue boxes make great dinosaur feet! You can decorate them with crayons, markers, paper, or paint to create designs and claws. Try cutting out a big paper dino footprint and sticking it to the bottom of the box!
  • Shape Dinosaurs | Trace and cut out lots of different geometric shapes from colored paper (older preschoolers can help with this part). Rearrange them to create shape dinosaurs! Circles and ovals are good for the bodies and heads, rectangles and squares make legs and necks, and triangles for spikes! You’ll be surprised what your child can imagine.
  • Fossil Dig | Fill a tub or a box with sand, cornmeal, or something similar. Bury some fun things for your child to dig up: dinosaur toys, bone-shaped dog biscuits, even white sticks or twigs can stand in for dinosaur bones! Give them some tools, such as a magnifying glass, small paintbrushes, plastic spoons, chopsticks, and other materials for their excavation.

Social-Emotional Learning: Calming Down

Do you ever feel a dinosaur-roar coming on? Here are some ways your preschooler can help themselves calm down. Practice these together before you need them, and model them for your child – grown ups sometimes need to calm down, too!

  • Breathe and count | Practice taking deep breaths and counting each one. Count backwards from five, or count forwards and go for as long as you need to.
  • Sing a song | A favorite song or lullaby can help reset the mood.
  • Make a space | Create a corner, a chair, or a spot where your child knows they can go to calm down in peace. Putting a soft toy or a book in the space can help them relax. The goal is not a time-out space for punishment, but somewhere they know they can take a break when needed.

Literacy Skill: Letter Recognition

Letters are the building blocks of words and literacy, and shapes are the building blocks of letters! Your child will need to memorize the shapes associated with each letter, and practice is the key. Here are some tips and tricks for building this crucial skill:

  • Read alphabet books! Trace the letters with your fingers and practice naming them. Have your child identify any letters they know. Naming letters is usually learned before learning the sounds they make.
  • Children are often most interested in the letters of their own name – it’s okay to start with these! Look for them together as you go about your day.
  • Teach older preschoolers to recognize letters in different styles: print, cursive, handwritten, upper and lower case. Help them type their name in different fonts on your phone or computer. What makes an ‘A’ an ‘A’?
  • Play with letters! Flash cards (you can make your own), alphabet magnet tiles, alphabet blocks, and letter games will make it fun for your preschooler.

Library Resource

Check out the song ‘We Are the Dinosaurs’ by The Laurie Berkner Band on hoopla, a free resource from Spokane Public Library for streaming music, shows, books and more. hoopla has a kid-friendly section loaded with fun stuff, and this song is great for stomping around like a dinosaur!

Book Recommendations

  • Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
  • Dinosaurs by Gail Gibbons
  • Dinosaur vs. The Library by Bob Shea
  • Doctor Seuss’s ABC by Doctor Seuss
  • Shapes by Anne Rotner and Shelley Woodhall