Authors: Alex Barrow & Gabby Dawnay
A little girl dreams of having her very own pet. But what kind of animal would make the best companion? A mouse is too small; a cat is too ordinary; and a fish is too… wet! As she plays with her toy dinosaur, inspiration strikes. What about a real, live dinosaur?
Here are my top If I Had A Dinosaur activities you can do with your child to help support his/her speech & language development:
1. If I had a Dinosaur is full of wonderful adjectives (i.e. describing words). Go through the book with your child and find all of the fantastic descriptive words (e.g. giant, enormous, tall, massive, friendly). You and your child can then come up with your own set of adjectives to describe the dinosaur in the story.
You and your child should then create/ draw/ paint your own dinosaurs and then take it in turns to describe the dinosaurs to each other.
2. Cut out the FREE dinosaur pictures below and take it in turns with your child to hide the pictures around the room. You and your child should then give each other instructions to help you find the dinosaurs using positional language (e.g. under the table, beside the chair).
3. Due to the number of rhyming words in this story it makes it the perfect opportunity to work on your child’s awareness of rhyming words. When you initially read the book, you can place an emphasis on the rhyming words on each page.
For example you could say:
“I’d teach him lots of tricks,
like how to roll and how to sit
and fetch and carry sticks!”
On your second and third readings of the story you can point out the rhyming words as you come across them e.g. “Listen. ‘park’ sounds like ‘bark’. ‘Park’ and ‘bark’ rhyme. The end of the words sound the same”.
When your child is consistently able to recognise the rhyming words in the story you can then encourage him or her to come up with a word. You can say “Can you think of another word that rhymes with ‘school’ and ‘cool’?”.
4. Encourage your child to think of other animals that would not be suitable as pets. Discuss the reasons they would not make good pets. This will help to develop their verbal reasoning skills.
I hope you and your child love this story as much as I do. I’d love to know which of the activities you enjoyed the most, please let me know in the comments below.