Have your child brainstorm a list of all the kinds of dinosaurs he knows. Make a list of all guesses. (Don’t worry about spelling!) Then ask: How many different kinds of dinosaurs were there millions of years ago? Reveal the answer: No one knows. No people were around back then to see the dinosaurs, take pictures of them, write books on them (or make TV shows about them). But scientists have found fossils and other clues to know about hundreds of different dinosaurs. And there are more dinosaur fossils discovered every year. There were probably many more. You might tell your child that the word “species” means “kind of animal.” To get practice with this word, you could ask your child, “How many dinosaur species do you know?” and respond accordingly.
Announce that you are going to play a game with a song about 26 kinds of dinosaurs. The song is called “Dinosaurs A to Z.” Have your child watch video clip of the Conductor singing the song “Dinosaurs A to Z.” Then show her the printable page of all 26 dinosaurs.
Write each letter of the alphabet on an index card. Use capital letters, and hold the cards horizontally, so they resemble the cars of a train. Say the name of each letter aloud as you write it. (If your child is older, she can write these letter cards herself.) If desired, your child can decorate each of these cards, being careful not to obscure the letter. Put a tape loop on the back of each card, and then tape them in a long line on a blank wall. Point out that the letters are like the cars on a train.
Play the “Dinosaur A to Z” game. The rules are simple. Your child stands in front of the letter “A” as the Conductor sings the song. Your child needs to point to (touch) each letter as the Conductor says it. For older children, child, try the “Challenge Round” of this game. Switch around the order of the letters (slightly), and see if your child can still follow along (point to the cards) as the conductor sings.
Use the printable Lyric Sheet for "Dinosaurs A to Z" song to help your child learn the words to this song. If you wish, you can have your child perform this song for others, or record her singing and pointing as a video.
Have your child draw each of the 26 dinosaurs from the "Dinosaurs A to Z" song on index cards, and then attach the cards horizontally with tape into a long train that can be pulled around the room. Help your child differentiate the dinosaurs in their pictures by paying attention to obvious details such as body shape, length of tail, whether the dinosaurs has horns or not, whether it has a crest or not, and so on.
To help your child think about other animal species she knows about, have her make her own Animal Alphabet Book – putting a large letter on each page and coloring a picture of an animal that is alive today (example: Ant, Baboon, Catfish). Your child can use a video camera to make her own A to Z song and share it with others. Your child could also create special animal books on a theme such as "Mammals A to Z" or "Birds A to Z."