All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//Early Years Foundation Reception

Articles that focus on teaching ideas and activities aimed at Nursery and Reception classes.

11 04, 2021

“The Plesiosaur’s Neck”

By | April 11th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Early Years Foundation Reception, Key Stage 1/2, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

“The Plesiosaur’s Neck” by Dr Adam S. Smith and Jonathan Emmett with illustrations by Adam Larkum.

Expert on the Plesiosauria, Dr Adam S. Smith (Curator of Natural Sciences at the Nottingham Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire), has teamed up with award-winning children’s author Jonathan Emmett to create a delightful tale explaining how some prehistoric marine reptiles developed long necks.

"The Plesiosaur's Neck"
“The Plesiosaur’s Neck” by Dr Adam S. Smith and Jonathan Emmett with illustrations by Adam Larkum.

Poppy is an Albertonectes, a plesiosaur named after the Canadian province of Alberta, where fossils of this giant with a seven-metre-long neck have been found, but what was that extremely long neck used for?

Poppy the Plesiosaur

Did Poppy use her enormous neck to help keep herself free of parasites? Or was she the equivalent of an electric eel generating electricity to shock any unsuspecting fish that happened to swim too close? In “The Plesiosaur’s Neck”, budding young palaeontologists get the opportunity to explore these entertaining hypotheses in a plesiosaur-themed prehistoric puzzle.

At more than eleven metres long, Albertonectes was a giant. The huge neck made up almost two-thirds of the animal’s entire body length and this delightful book examines some of the ideas that palaeontologists have proposed to explain this peculiar, plesiosaur body plan.

Checking over an exhibit.
Dr Adam Smith examining a cast of dinosaur vertebrae for an exhibition at Wollaton Hall. The talented Curator of Natural Sciences at the Nottingham Natural History Museum has helped to write a children’s book entitled “The Plesiosaur’s Neck”.

Prehistoric Puns

A mixture of playful, rhyming text and prehistoric puns guides the reader through the story. Members of the Mollusca have a prominent role to play with Alfie the ammonite and Bella the belemnite chiming in with cheeky comments whilst Dr Adam Smith ensures a smorgasbord of facts and information about life in the sea during the time of the dinosaurs. The book will entertain and inform children from 5 years and upwards in equal measure.

Beautifully illustrated by Adam Larkum, a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art, “The Plesiosaur’s Neck” combines colourful characters with a cornucopia of fun facts. It is an entertaining exploration of a genuine palaeontological puzzle focused on a plesiosaur with an astonishing seventy-six bones in its neck.

Published in May 2021

“The Plesiosaurs Neck” ISBN number 9781912979424 is due to be published on the 6th of May (2021), by Uclan Publishing. Priced at £7.99 it can be purchased here: Purchase “The Plesiosaur’s Neck”.

19 02, 2021

A Happy Dinosaur Model

By | February 19th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Early Years Foundation Reception, Everything Dinosaur Products, General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Aaron the little T. rex dinosaur model, which is one of 48 small prehistoric animal figures currently manufactured by PNSO, is proving very popular amongst young dinosaur fans. We received an email from a mother whose daughter had just received her parcel sent by Everything Dinosaur containing some of these PNSO figures. Mum wrote to say how delighted her daughter was with her dinosaurs and she had stated that the little T. rex replica (Aaron) seemed to be a very a happy dinosaur as the model had a smile on its face.

PNSO Aaron the little Tyrannosaurus rex
A smiling T. rex dinosaur model. The PNSO Aaron the little T. rex. Is this dinosaur smiling?

Happy Dinosaurs

Ascribing emotions to a dinosaur is somewhat challenging. After all, such traits are not represented in the fossil record. However, those near relatives of the “tyrant lizard king”, the birds, do demonstrate a range of behaviours that indicate emotions and even empathy towards others.

People who keep birds as pets have stated that they can sense emotional states and energy levels and the birds change their behaviours accordingly. Parrots, pigeons and budgerigars can sulk, show jealously, excitement and affection towards their human owners. Bird intelligence has been studied for many years, Darwin considered avian intelligence and pondered on their emotional states.

PNSO Aaron the little Tyrannosaurus rex
The PNSO Aaron the little T. rex seems to be smiling. It is a very happy looking dinosaur model.

A Contented T. rex?

It is the configuration of the jaw line that perhaps gives Aaron the little T. rex dinosaur model an appearance of smiling. With his big eyes and the indication of feathers on the top of his head, his look might be interpreted as a happy, contented dinosaur.

As scientists learn more about the behaviours and cognitive abilities of extant animals in combination with rare fossils that shine a light on nesting/brooding, herd behaviour and intra-specific interactions, then we are going to see more palaeo-artists producing artwork that develops these themes.

For the young girl and her dinosaur collection, if she thinks that Aaron the little T. rex is a very happy dinosaur then this is fine by us. Aaron and the other PNSO models will help her to develop through play as she uses her imagination and creativity.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of PNSO prehistoric animal models including some “happy” dinosaurs: PNSO Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animals.

13 11, 2019

Foundation Stage 2 – Animal Skeletons

By | November 13th, 2019|Early Years Foundation Reception|Comments Off on Foundation Stage 2 – Animal Skeletons

Foundation Stage 2 – Animal Skeletons

Whilst on a visit to a school to conduct a dinosaur themed workshop with some eager and excited Reception class children, our dinosaur expert spotted some super animal skeletons that the children had created.  Using straws and cotton buds to represent bones, the Foundation Stage 2 children had made skeletons of various animals.  The children had made skeletons of birds, people, cats, dogs and even a fish.

Anatomy Class – Reception Class Make Animal Skeletons

Reception class children make animal skeletons.

Colourful animal skeletons created by children in the Reception class.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The skeletons that the children had created certainly made a colourful display outside in the corridor adjacent to the hall where we were conducting our dinosaur and fossil themed workshop.

24 10, 2019

Reception Children Make Dinosaur Landscapes

By | October 24th, 2019|Early Years Foundation Reception|Comments Off on Reception Children Make Dinosaur Landscapes

Reception Children Make Dinosaur Landscapes

The children in the three Reception classes at Broughton Primary (Flintshire), have certainly enjoyed learning about dinosaurs this term.  A team member from Everything Dinosaur visited the school this morning to deliver three dinosaur and fossil themed workshops to help round off the scheme of work for the first half of the autumn term.

During the visit, our team member was shown some amazing dinosaur landscapes that the children had built.

Children in Class 1 (Reception) have Created a Prehistoric Landscape

The prehistoric landscape built by class 1 (Reception).

Dosbarth 1 (Class 1) had built their own prehistoric landscape.

Picture Credit: Dosbarth 1, Broughton Primary School

The Reception classes have been learning about animals and what they need to keep them safe and happy.  The children created a river to allow the dinosaurs to catch fish to eat.  The river would also provide water for the prehistoric animals to drink.  The plant-eating dinosaurs have plenty of leaves to chew but all the dinosaurs have to be careful as the volcano has erupted and bright red lava is spilling out down its slopes.

Class 1 Children Constructed a Volcano as part of their Dinosaur Landscape Project

A crepe paper volcano built by Reception children.

The volcano, part of the prehistoric landscape created by the Reception class children.

Picture Credit: Dosbarth 1, Broughton Primary School

Class 3 also constructed a home for their dinosaur models.  Their very own version of “Jurassic Park” included a big forest for the dinosaurs to hide in so that they felt safe and a huge cave for them to explore.  The hard hats we provided with the lamps on their front might come in handy when it comes to exploring the depths of the cavern.

The Prehistoric Scene Created by Class 3 (Dosbarth 3)

Reception class 3 and their prehistoric landscape.

The prehistoric scene created by class 3 (Dosbarth 3).

Picture Credit: Dosbarth 1, Broughton Primary School

The Reception classes enjoyed their dinosaur workshops and demonstrated some amazing counting and recall of dinosaur facts during the morning.  We hope they like the dinosaur hokey cokey activity we provided too.

8 06, 2019

Dinosaur Workshops at Newport Infant School

By | June 8th, 2019|Early Years Foundation Reception, General Teaching|Comments Off on Dinosaur Workshops at Newport Infant School

Dinosaur Workshops at Newport Infant School

Another busy few days at Everything Dinosaur with a series of school visits to deliver dinosaur and fossil themed workshops.  Our week concluded with a series of workshops with the Key Stage 1 and Reception classes at Newport Infant School (Shropshire).  The whole school is studying dinosaurs over a two-week period and Everything Dinosaur was invited into the school to help kick-start the scheme of work.

As our visit came to an end, we were presented with a set of dinosaur and prehistoric animal drawings that had been produced by one of the classes that we had worked with.

Drawings of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals Presented to Everything Dinosaur

Reception class draw dinosarus (Newport Infant School).

Newport Infant School Reception class draw dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Newport Infant School/Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We try to set lots of cross-curricular extension activities when working with children in Foundation Stage 2 and Key Stage 1.  This helps to support the lesson plans that have been devised by the teaching team.  We challenged the children to draw a dinosaur and to label body parts using some of the new terms that we had introduced to the class during our workshop.  It is always a pleasure to receive such wonderful drawings and the writing element of this exercise helps the children to develop important motor skills.”

For further information on Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools and to request a quotation for a school visit: Contact us and request a quotation for a school visit/workshop.

1 05, 2019

The Start of a Dinosaur Inspired Term Topic

By | May 1st, 2019|Early Years Foundation Reception|Comments Off on The Start of a Dinosaur Inspired Term Topic

Starting a Dinosaur Inspired Term Topic

Children in the Foundation Stage at Almondbury Community School have started a term topic all about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals.  The budding young palaeontologists in the Nursery and Reception classes took part in some dinosaur-themed workshops today to help kick-start their summer term topic.

The walls of the well-appointed and tidy classrooms at the Greenside Centre were already crammed full of lots of colourful and creative artwork.  Our dinosaur expert who visited the school, spotted some beautiful drawings of monsters that had been created by the Foundation Stage 2 children.  There was some very imaginative artwork on display and many of the drawings were accompanied by a sentence or two.  The vibrant posters highlighted the children’s development of fine motor skills, they must have had lots of practice holding pencils and forming recognisable letters and words.

Spotting Drawings of Monsters in the Foundation Stage Classrooms

Lots of lovely "monster themed" artwork on display in the Reception classroom.

Children in Foundation Stage have been learning all about monsters and dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Almondbury Community School/Greenside Centre

Draw Me a Dinosaur

As part of the work with the children, our dinosaur expert set a challenge – could they draw him a dinosaur?  As a further extension for the Reception-aged children, could they label the body parts of their dinosaur including its skull?  During the workshop with the Reception class, it was explained that palaeontologists call your head a skull and when working with the Nursery children, the eager, young learners confidently asserted that the helmet that a palaeontologist wears fits on their head!

At this school, there is a strong emphasis on giving every pupil access to a stimulating and balanced curriculum, lots of tactile activities were being prepared for the children by the dedicated teaching team.  In one part of the spacious classroom, a cargo net had been brought in and facts about dinosaurs posted up on the walls, as this area was soon to be turned into a “dinosaur den” for the children to explore.

All Set to Build a “Dinosaur Den” in the Classroom

Dinosaur den preparations in the Reception class.

All ready to build a colourful dinosaur den for the Foundation Stage children.

Picture Credit: Almondbury Community School/Greenside Centre

Dinosaur Footprints and a Dinosaur-themed “Hokey Cokey”

The Foundation Stage wing of the Greenside Centre was very busy with lots of activities for the children set out and the during the workshops the pupils demonstrated some super listening skills and they were very enthusiastic ammonites catching fish.  When pretending to be a giant, armoured dinosaur moving through the forest, our dinosaur expert witnessed super-sized steps, but slow moving dinosaurs keeping very quiet in case a hungry Tyrannosaurus rex came by.

The handy pronunciation guide we provided for the teachers should help with the scheme of work, along with the dinosaur footprints to measure and a special prehistoric animal-themed “hokey cokey” song for the children to learn.  Can they remember how many figures T. rex had?  How did a T. rex move its arms?

9 04, 2019

A Colourful Dinosaur Themed Display

By | April 9th, 2019|Early Years Foundation Reception, General Teaching|Comments Off on A Colourful Dinosaur Themed Display

A Colourful Dinosaur Themed Display

A very colourful and informative dinosaur and prehistoric animal display created by the Reception class at Micklehurst All Saints Primary school.  When visiting a school to conduct a series of dinosaur workshops with the Foundation Stage classes, our team member delivering the workshops, spotted a super, prehistoric animal themed display on the wall of a classroom “dinosaur den”.

A Colourful Dinosaur Themed Display Spotted in the Classroom

A dinosaur themed classroom display.

A colourful dinosaur themed display spotted in a Reception classroom.

Picture Credit: Micklehurst All Saints Primary/Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It was such a beautiful dinosaur display in the classroom, we asked permission of the teaching team so that we could take a photograph of the children’s work.”

21 03, 2019

Exploring the Properties of Materials – Exploring Dinosaurs

By | March 21st, 2019|Early Years Foundation Reception, General Teaching|Comments Off on Exploring the Properties of Materials – Exploring Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs Helping to Encourage Tactile, Creative Play

Spotted this simple but very effective play area whilst on a visit to a school to conduct a series of dinosaur and fossil themed workshops with Reception classes.  The teaching team had laid out a number of play areas related to the term topic of dinosaurs.  One play area involved the children building their own “dinosaur world”.

Tactile Exploration and Developing Creative Play

Foundation Stage children use dinosaurs in creative play.

Exploring the properties of materials, exploring dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Such a play area encourages creative play, the concept of sharing and working together (note the simple guideline provided as to how many children can play at this station at any one time).  The children have the opportunity to explore a range of materials and different types of dinosaur model.  This is a great resource for children to help them learn about the properties of materials and of great assistance to kinaesthetic orientated learners.

A simple play area with dinosaur models and other tactile objects helps children to explore the properties of materials.  This is a wonderful resource to help encourage creative, independent, imaginative play.

It is an example of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals helping to encourage creative play amongst Foundation Stage children.

16 03, 2019

Reception Children Expand Their Vocabularies

By | March 16th, 2019|Early Years Foundation Reception, General Teaching|Comments Off on Reception Children Expand Their Vocabularies

Reception Children Expand Their Vocabularies

The children in the Reception class at Micklehurst All Saints Church Primary (Ashton-under-Lyne), have been learning all about dinosaurs this term and they have been taking part in a wide range of dinosaur and fossil themed activities under the expert supervision of the teaching team.

Whilst on a visit to conduct a workshop with the enthusiastic young learners, a team member from Everything Dinosaur was given the opportunity to admire some of the displays in the classroom which highlight the children’s work.

A Colourful Dinosaur Display with Lots of Labels

Lots of dinosaurs with labels.

Reception children develop their vocabularies using dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: The Reception Class at Micklehurst All Saints Church Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Engaging Curiosity

One of the key objectives within the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS), is to inspire children and to help them develop an enthusiasm for learning.  Dinosaurs inspire children and prehistoric animals such as Tyrannosaurus rex certainly engages their curiosity.  The children were eager to show what they had been doing in class and pointed out the colourful display which included pictures of dinosaurs that they had labelled.   The pupils were keen to demonstrate their knowledge about dinosaurs, even dinosaurs that were omnivores!   A dinosaur themed display dovetails beautifully into the national curriculum, it assists with literacy development and helps to expand vocabularies as well as providing the children with lots of opportunities to express themselves and to explore the properties of materials through creative art.

The dinosaur foot measuring resources we provided linked into the teacher’s scheme of work as the children had been getting used to using measuring cubes and standard units.  We also challenged the class to draw for our dinosaur expert their very own prehistoric animal, as an extension we suggested that the children have a go at measuring their own drawings.  The pronunciation guide we gave the teacher, might come in handy with all those long dinosaur names.

A Dinosaur Den

Part of the classroom had been turned into a dinosaur den.  There were lots of stimulating activities for the children to try, including digging for dinosaur skeletons in sand and lots of books about dinosaurs (fiction and non-fiction), for the children to read.  The dinosaur den was very tidy and well organised.

 A Tidy and Well Organised Dinosaur Den

A dinosaur den (FS2)

A tidy dinosaur den with lots of activities for the children to try.

Picture Credit: The Reception Class at Micklehurst All Saints Church Primary/Everything Dinosaur

27 02, 2019

Dinosaurs Help Reception Class with Subtraction

By | February 27th, 2019|Early Years Foundation Reception, General Teaching|Comments Off on Dinosaurs Help Reception Class with Subtraction

Dinosaurs Help Reception Class with Subtraction

Children in the Reception class at Whirley Primary in Cheshire have started a topic all about dinosaurs and fossils.  The eager palaeontologists have been keen to demonstrate their knowledge about prehistoric animals to their enthusiastic teachers.  One of our team members visited the school today to conduct a morning of dinosaur-themed activities with the children.  Prior to the start of the school day, our team member was given a short tour of the well-appointed Foundation Stage/Key Stage 1 teaching area.  Although, the children have only been studying dinosaurs for a short while, there were lots of amazing prehistoric animal-themed learning to admire.

Counting with Dinosaurs – Dinosaurs Helping Young Minds to Get to Grips with Subtraction

Counting with dinosaurs.

Colourful dinosaurs help children gain confidence with subtraction.

Picture Credit: Whirley Primary School

A Carefully Planned Scheme of Work

The Reception class are getting to grips with subtraction.  The innovative teaching team had set up a number of work stations around the tidy and spacious classroom and on one table a dinosaur inspired subtraction exercise had been set up.  Could the children work out how many dinosaurs were on one side of the paper compared to the other side of the paper?

Unsurprisingly, gaining confidence with mathematics is one of the key learning and development goals of the Early Years Foundation Stage national curriculum. The children in the Reception class at Whirley Primary are certainly being provided with plenty of opportunities to develop and improve their counting skills.  During our workshop we set the children a special challenge, could they draw their very own dinosaur and label the body parts including the skull?  As well as supporting the literacy component of the topic area, our dinosaur expert suggested that the class could use measuring cubes to measure the size of the dinosaur drawing that they produced.

A Successfully Completed Dinosaur Inspired Subtraction Exercise

Subtracting with dinosaurs.

A successfully completed dinosaur-themed subtraction exercise.

Picture Credit: Whirley Primary School

Learning to Recall and Retell

Whilst our team member was admiring the special dinosaur activity area where the children could dig for dinosaur bones and fossils in a sand tray, the teacher (Miss Egerton), highlighted some of the work the children had produced in their topic books.  As an introduction to the topic, the children had taken part in a dinosaur egg hunt, one of the exercises in the topic book involved the recalling of information and putting events in chronological order.

Learning to Recall and Retell with a Reception Class

Recall and retell exercise for a Reception class.

Reception-aged children practice recalling information.

Picture Credit: Whirley Primary School

It looks like the dinosaur and fossil themed term topic is proving to be a big success.

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