Dinosaurs seem to be having a moment with my preschool age clients lately! I’ve been doing lots of therapy with all things dinosaur. With this in mind, I wanted to share some play based language ideas for those who love dinosaurs at home.


    • Describe those dinosaurs! They have some wild and wacky features! Think spikes, spines, bumps, huge, tiny, muscly, strong, long, short, tall…

    • Body parts – talk about their tails, spines, teeth, claws, necks, feet

    • Don’t forget the verbs! There are also lots of verbs (actions) we can talk about and act out – chase, roar, stomp, crunch, chew, stretch, swing, soar

  • Syllables – knowing words can be broken into smaller parts is an important pre-literacy skill – dinosaurs have long names, and I’m always surprised by how many of these children know! These long names are a great opportunity to clap the syllable, or beats, in words. Use clapping, tapping, or stepping to break up their name e.g. Stegosaurus = steg – uh – saw – rus

  • Instructions – give your child instructions for their dinosaur to act out e.g. “Put your dinosaur under the tree then give it some food”. Or, have your child act out some dinosaur instructions with their own bodies e.g. “Stomp your feet then roar!”

  • Shared book reading – Look for dinosaur themed books to share – head to the library together and look up dinosaur books. Your child may like non-fiction books with detailed dinosaur illustrations, or made up stories about dinosaur characters. Have conversations about these books. You might learn about their diet, or habitat, and be able to recreate this in your play.

My favourite is “I’m a Dirty Dinosaur” by Janeen Brian. Children are sure to join in with labelling body parts and actions.

  • Sing songs – Learn or make up dinosaur songs – Stomp Dino from Playschool is one of my favourites. It’s a great way to teach young children new verb vocabulary as it’s packed with repetition and actions. You could also change the verb!

Of course, all toys hold many language learning opportunities, so you can adapt these tips to whatever your child is interested in – farm animals, sea animals, Australian animals and more.