My son is really enjoying dinosaurs these days, so in case you have any dino-fans around, I thought I’d share some of the activities we’ve been doing – paper clip cutout toys, building dino skeletons in the yard, a pretty awesome interactive dinosaur book on the iPad, and jurassic artwork.

This first one is some simple paper clip cutout toys. I just did an image search for dinosaurs and let my son pick out which ones he wanted to printout. Then he cut them out himself and we taped a bent paper clip to the backs of them so they could stand up. (See images below.) My daughter also drew a background which we stood up with bent paper clips. Finally, I tried to bend the shape of a T-Rex with some wire, and my son drew a head for it, which we taped on. Both of the kids really love playing with this set of paper toys and acting out exciting scenarios.


We’ve been having a great time searching and digging for “dinosaur bones” in the yard, then trying to put together an entire skeleton. Finding the pieces you need to complete the skeleton makes for quite an exciting scavenger hunt. Sometimes we have to go out on walks through the neighborhood or to the park so we can find the right one. Good outdoor fun!


I was really excited to discover this interactive dinosaur book from Me Books. (As always, this is not a paid advertisement). And the twins are both totally fascinated by it. You can touch a dinosaur and it makes the noise that the animal might have sounded like. You can also touch the words, and it will read the text aloud, which is my favorite part, because now I can finally pronounce all of the tricky dinosaur names with confidence! Sweet. Check it out here if you’d like.


Finally, it’s always great to just look at books or photos and get inspired to draw some dinosaurs on your own. Here are a couple drawings that my son did. One of them even for dad!

Hope you have some jurassic fun! Also, I’d love to hear about any dinosaur activities that you do, so feel free to leave a comment and share them!

48 Responses
    1. We’ve been experimenting with stuff like this for years, tughoh. And a lot of the genes that would need to be turned on in chickens already are on at certain points in life or have been tweaked.An example are the chickens that were bred to have feathered feet. On any other breed of chicken, their feet are covered in scales, but clearly they were bred to eventually have those scales give way to feathers. A fair amount of people assume if we can pull it one way through slow selective breeding, we can take it the other way by merely flicking the right genes on and off.Some species of birds while in embryo form have rudimentary teeth that disappear, and most species have bony tails that as the fetus develops, slowly shrinks to pudgy size that most birds have these days. If I recall correctly, there’s even some baby birds that when born have vestigal claws on their wings that slowly atrophy as the bird grows older.It’s not so much turning on random genes, but rather mapping the right genes that correlate with these developments, and coaxing them to stay on for longer than they were intended.

  1. I love how you always make art interactive with kids. It is inspirational, and I thank you! Maybe you can check out my Tree Project with kids!

  2. Cecilia

    I hide little dinosaur toys in plaster. When it is hard the kids have to break it to find what is inside. They feel like real paleontologists! They also love the prints the toy leaves in the plaster, real fossils!

    1. Cecilia

      I buy it at hardware stores, it is probably cheaper than in art stores. Anyway in Mexico it is, you just have to make sure it is not the rough kind, I believe there is a finer grain.

    2. I found the same type idea already done at the dollar store one day. I bought a bunch of them and did it at my sons birthday party. We talked about paleontologist and how they have to be really careful when scraping to find the dinosaur. you should have seen the 8 or so 5-8 year olds scraping carefully to find their dinosaur. Greatest thing we ever did. I think making them yourself is an awesome idea!

  3. Hey Joel,

    love your paperclip dinos! We are big dinosaur fans in this house so I will def be trying that one.

    Here are a couple of things we like to play with:

    Digging for fossils:

    Fossilised footprints:

    Dino-Stick Collages:

    Hope you get a chance to have a look!

    Blue Skies,
    Charlotte xo

  4. Seriously, kids’ artwork is THE BEST. I love it! (by the way, my daughter took her cereal box dollhouse to be featured in her ‘window week’ at school – my kids still play with these! – I am going to make the modern doll house for Christmas for them and we are all going to work on the furniture etc. together – thanks for all the BRILLIANT ideas!)

  5. The paperclip din’s are all kinds of crazy, awesome!!! We will most definitely be making these on the weekend. Also, love the pics. Thanks.

  6. Wunderkind

    Your “searching for dinosaur bones” brought up memories! My dad and I used to find rocks and make “dinosaur skeletons”.

  7. Just discovered you through “All for the boys” blog. As a mama of two boys (and one little girl) this project would be a huge hit in our home! Thanks for the idea! Off to view your other projects – looks awesome!!

  8. Elin Hestenes

    Hi! Love your dinosaurs and your imagination!
    I just wanted to tell you that I received you book from Amazon today. It’s amazing!
    I am supposed to give it away for someone for christmas, but somehow I think my friend will get a totally different present. I want this for myself:)
    Thank you for a great book and wonderful blog!
    Elin from Norway:)

    1. Sorry, Judegirl, the poll closed a while ago. I have cengahd the post so that people know the voting is over. The winner was number 4, the one about the left hand, and I sent off all the prizes. Good luck on the next contest!

  9. Ha, we have dinosaurs crawling up the stairs every night, and then everybody have to run and hide under a blanket! A lot of fun. Love the drawing your son did, he has really captured the features with the big teeth and scary appearence.

  10. These are fantastic. Thanks for the simple idea of the paperclip. Love it! I think it’s going to get a lot of use around our place. Cheers.

  11. Waouh! It’s amazing! You have always some great ideas! I’ve already “copied” some of your projects.
    Thanks a lot for everything!

    A french fan!

  12. […] Made by Joel’s Paperclip Dinosaurs — This project is one of those simple, brilliant ones that I never would have thought of on my own. Print images from the web, cut them out and then tape bent paper clips to the back so they’ll stand up. If you’re feeling fancy, draw a background on a piece of paper. It’s awesome because you can apply the basic concept to just about any theme. We ended up printing out dinosaur pictures like Joel did in his original blog post, but you could make a farm scene, a safari, robot war, paper dolls — anything! […]

  13. Hi Joel,
    Your creations are delightful!! Thanks sooooo much for sharing. My son adores dinosaurs, so this was just a perfect activity to do with him on a Sunday morning. It sure kept him content and busy for a while. :) I also shared it on my blog, I hope that´s o.k? Continue your great work!! Have a lovely week. Cheers. :)