Dinosaur Shadows STEAM Activity

Combine science and art in this fun dinosaur shadow activity. Experiment with making dinosaur shadows, then transform them into playful characters for some awesome pretend play.

dinosaur preschool science art activity


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How loud can your dinosaur roar? It seems that kids can take the roar to new heights!

The world of dinosaurs is a magical one for kids. It involves a lot of pretend play with big imaginations, big enough to take on some pretty big characters.

This dinosaur activity was inspired by the popular children's book Dinosaur Roar! by Paul and Henrietta Stickland

This is a wonderful book of opposites, with large, colorful pictures of dinosaurs. Despite the differences in their sizes and shapes, all the dinosaurs have one thing in common - they love to munch and crunch!

This dinosaur shadow activity is a fun way to provide insight and discovery into the world of dinosaurs.

Dinosaur shadow STEAM activity

Dinosaur figures can be used in different ways for promoting imaginative play.

  • Add mini dinosaur figures to a sand box or sensory bin.
  • Wash plastic dinosaur figures in soapy water.
  • Create a small world scene with trees and rocks in a cardboard box.

I used Tyrannosaurus Rex for this activity, but you can use whatever dinosaur figure you have on hand.

Note: STEM with Art added is known as STEAM 

Here's more information on the use of these educational approaches to early learning.


1. Create a dinosaur shadow

Dinosaur characters science activity


Set up a light source to cast a shadow.

The collage above illustrates the difference between natural light and using a light source.

As you can see, the shadow is more pronounced with a light source directed at the dinosaur.

Set a lamp or flashlight on the floor or on a table in front of the dinosaur. This will serve as a light source.


Dinosaur shadow character


It can be difficult to get the shadow of the feet. I raised the dinosaur by placing wood blocks under his feet but it was still difficult to cast a suitable shadow of the feet to trace.

  • You can sketch the feet later if they do not show up well.

2. Complete the dinosaur character

Tape a piece of white poster board or chart paper behind the dinosaur.

Trace the shadow onto the paper with a pencil.



Dinosaur art activity for kids


Highlight the shadow with a marker.  

With your child, observe and discuss the position of the dinosaur in relation to the shadow cast. The way my dinosaur was positioned, the legs were cast as one shadow.

The language you use will depend on your child's interest and skill level.

The goal is to make it a fun activity!


Dinosaur shadow painting activity


Paint the dinosaur character.

Cut pieces from chair foam to make paint stamps for painting the dinosaur.

Use a combination of paint colors to create your dinosaur character.

  • We mixed yellow and blue paint to make green.
  • We didn't have a lot of yellow paint so we mixed some orange with the remaining yellow.

Create a new species with colorful patterns and designs!

When the paint is dry, cut out the dinosaur for pretend play!


Dinosaur art activity for preschoolers


Explore the science of shadows

  • Place the dinosaur close to, and far away from, the wall.

  • Place the light source near to, and far away from, the dinosaur.

  • Raise and lower the light source.

  • Observe the shadow getting bigger or smaller than the dinosaur.


Learn through play

What makes the dinosaur roar? Is he hungry, tired or lonely?

  • Show dinosaur emotions with your facial expressions.

Where will the dinosaur live?

  • Create a cave or forest with blankets or a large box.

How big is your dinosaur? Is he bigger than a car, smaller than a house?

  • Move your body to take up as much space as possible and as little space as possible.

How much noise can your dinosaur make?

  • Practice making a loud roar and a soft roar.
  • Practice making loud stomps with your feet and quiet steps.


Enjoy the book, then roar through awesome pretend play with this fun science and art activity.

How loud can your dinosaur roar?


dinosaur art and science preschool activity


Preschool Science: STEM to STEAM on Pinterest


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