How to Make Your Own Colorful Dinosaur Skin!

DDOW-bubble wrap

Promotes: Creative Expression

Age: 24-36 Months

Although most dinosaur fossils show just the bones of the incredible large animals, some fossils show the details of dinosaur scales and skin! Isn’t it incredible that we can know what dinosaur skin looks like, 65 million years later? In this activity, you can capture that wonder by helping your child paint “dinosaur skin” at home with bubble wrap and paint rollers. This painting project will help your child discover that art can come from all kinds of materials, explore cause and effect by repeating actions, and connect the patterns they create with animals.


What You’ll Need:

  • Bubble wrap in various sizes
  • Washable tempera paint in various colors
  • Paint trays or wide shallow containers for paint
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Paint rollers or wide paintbrushes
  • White paper
  • Photos of dinosaurs and skin (click here for ideas of dinosaurs and dino skin)
  • Scissors
  • Smocks or clothes that can get messy
  • Writing and drawing tools

What to do:

Before the activity, put each paint color in a separate paint tray. Mix in a few drops of liquid dish soap to help with cleanup. Cut a piece of bubble wrap for your child.

Invite your child to explore dinosaurs and paint his or her own dinosaur skin. Show your child images of dinosaurs and ask, “What do you think dinosaur skin looked like?” Explain to your child that because we only know about dinosaurs because of fossils, there are no pictures of them that show colors, but we can make pretend dinosaur skin any color we want. Show your child the bubble wrap, and explain that the bubble wrap is pretend dinosaur skin and he or she can choose a color to paint the bubble wrap and use it to make a print on paper.

Have your child use the paint roller to roll in the paint tray and paint the color onto the bubble wrap. Then help them press the paper on top of their painted bubble wrap to make a print. As your child is making prints, ask, “What colors did you use?” and, if they know the names of different dinosaurs, ask “What dinosaur might have had skin like this?”

Once the paintings are dry, encourage your child to draw dinosaur shapes on their prints and name “their” dinosaur.

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