An Activity on How to Build a Dinosaur

Updated April 11, 2017

Many young children are fascinated by dinosaurs. If you want to spend an afternoon with your child making a dinosaur craft, make sure you have a large area that you can work in and where you don't mind a mess. You can build your dinosaur large enough to stand in the corner of your child's room, or you can make a small model dinosaur to put on a shelf.

Design It

In order to construct the dinosaur, determine how large you want your prehistoric figure and what it will look like. Work with your child to create some designs on paper before you begin, then use the drawings to assist you as you work on the construction. Larger dinosaurs included the Allosaurus and the Cerotosaurus; smaller dinosaurs included the Adasaurus and the Bambiraptor.

Frame It

Use small sections of chicken wire to make the frame for the body of the dinosaur. You'll need wire cutters to snip off excess portions of the chicken wire as you work. Protect small hands and don't let your child use the wire cutters on this portion of the activity. Twist and turn the wire as needed to make your dinosaur shape, then use the ends of the chicken wire to wrap around the other sections of wire to secure all of the pieces in place.

Mold It

For the papier mache body, you can use either glue or flour with water to make your paste. However, keep in mind that flour and water paste attracts insects, so white glue paste is recommended. In either case, mix one part white glue with one part water, or one part flour to one part water. Then stir your paste thoroughly. Shred newspaper, then dip strips of the newspaper in the paste, soaking the paper completely. Apply the newspaper to the chicken wire frame of your dinosaur, making sure that you cover all of the chicken wire. You'll need to apply two to three layers of newspaper for your dinosaur and allow the paper to dry completely before moving on. This may take a few days.

Decorate It

Decide with your child which colours should be on the dinosaur, then paint it with acrylic paints. Avoid oil-based paints, as the oil will seep into the paper and never completely dry. Once your paint is dry, add elements to your dinosaur, such as craft feathers, with craft glue. If you're creating a fashionable dinosaur for a girl's room, add some glitter to the body, or on the eyelids.

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About the Author

Patrice Lesco has been a writer since 2001. Also a certified teacher, she writes for newspapers, magazines, books, theater and film. Lesco holds a Master of Fine Arts in theater from Michigan State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in education and theater from Methodist College.