Paper Plate Dinosaurs
Updated: Jun 26
Join us as we explore some of the prehistoric creatures - dinosaurs! This activity is a great way to engage preschool children and young school aged children using everyday household items. Watch children grow in their development as they work on fine motor skills, creativity, and decision making as they construct their own individualized dinosaur through this craft. With a little assistance from caregivers, the opportunities are endless! Will your dinosaur have a long neck or short neck? Will your dinosaur have really big spikes or small spikes? Will your dinosaur's tail be pointed or round? Will your dinosaur have spots, or maybe stripes? Have fun!
To watch a video of this activity click here.
Paint - any color you would like!
Construction Paper - any color you want!
Before we begin, make sure your workspace is ready to go with all of your materials (clothespins, glue, googly eyes, marker, paint, paintbrush, paper, paper plates, and scissors) placed on a flat surface. It is a good idea to lay some newspaper or something alike down to protect the surface as the paint and glue may be messy.
Step 1: First, you are going to begin by cutting one of the paper plates in half, this will be the body of your dinosaur! I used small dessert size paper plates, but any size will work. You can choose to work with one of the halves you made or both as we continue the steps, it depends if you would like to make one dinosaur or multiple. (note: each half is one dinosaur)
Step 2: Next, we are using a paintbrush to paint the body of your dinosaur! I recommend using a thinner paint so it takes less time to dry. I used an acrylic paint and it took about 10 minutes before it was dry and ready to be handled. You will also want a covered surface such as a table with newspaper on top as the paint can be messy. When it is time to paint, pick any color you would like, as dinosaurs can be many colors. Do you have a favorite color? I love yellow so I used yellow paint for my dinosaur. Once this is complete, set aside so it can dry. Remember, the thinner the paint the less time to dry!
Step 3: Third, take two clothespins and paint them with your brush. These will be the dinosaur's legs! I wanted my legs to match the dinosaur's body, so I used yellow again. However, they do not need to be a specific color. Have fun mixing and matching if you would like! Just like the paper plate, the thinner the paint the less time is needed for drying. I suggest you set these aside for 10 minutes to dry. Sometimes these can stick together depending on your type of paint. To help with this, clamp the clothespins on a toothpick or on paper so it is separated and won’t stick.
Step 4: While the clothespins dry, check on the paper plate (the dinosaur's body). If it is dry go ahead and grab the paper plate. If it is still wet, let it sit for a little longer (another 5-10 minutes) to make sure it is fully dry. Once it is dry, place the body on top of the construction paper you have picked. This construction paper can be any color or pattern! It will be the spikes of your dinosaur. Use a pencil or pen to draw the spikes on the construction paper, outlining the paper plate. Get creative with these spikes! They can be short, tall, wide, round, anything you can think of! If you are creating two dinosaurs, will they be the same or different?
Step 5: Then, using your scissors, follow the stencil and cut out the spikes you have just created. You will also need to cut out a tail and a neck and head for your dinosaur. You can draw these with a pen or pencil just like the spikes and cut them out on any paper you would like. Use your imagination to make a head and tail, they come in all shapes and sizes! For example, when I made my dinosaurs head, I drew a backwards C and then two lines going down from the two ends of the C.
Step 6: Now, once you have the spikes, head/neck, and tail, grab your glue. You will also want to grab googly eyes. When gluing the spikes, it was best to add the glue to the rim of the paper plate and then lay the spikes on top. Press that for 20-30 seconds so it will stick and then set aside to dry for 3-5 minutes. Allowing the pieces to dry in between is important as you will be handling lots of pieces and don’t want it to fall apart. For the head and tail, the glue can be placed directly on the construction paper and pressed onto the dinosaur's body, and sitting to dry just like the spikes. Then, add just a little glue to the back of your dinosaur's eyes and place them where you would like. All together, allow 10 minutes for all the parts to dry when you are done.
Step 7: Lastly, and once all the glue is dry, draw a face on your dinosaur! There are so many facial expressions you can use. Is your dinosaur smiling or maybe is it being silly? Additionally, add your two clothespins as legs at the bottom of the paper plate. To finish, add any designs or patterns you would like with a marker (spots, stripes, zig zags, stars, etc.)
Step 8: You are all finished! Enjoy your dinosaur! Feel free to play with them and show them off in a special place such as your fridge for everyone to enjoy your work.