Dinosaur Bone Investigation Table

Dinosaurs are a favourite topic for early years settings. A dinosaur bone excavation and investigation area will not only stimulate children’s imagination but will also give the opportunity for discovery, role play, discussion, early maths and art.

Here is what we included in our excavation and investigation area:

Dinosaur Bone Excavation

We initially set up our area with a tray filled with sand and buried dinosaur bones, smooth pebbles and shells in it. We left a dinosaur bones sticking out of the sand ready to be discovered. Our enthusiastic helper didn’t waste any time in finding all of the hidden objects. We could easily have stretched this activity out for a little longer by burying the bones in a larger tray of sand or a sandpit. The excavation is also a great opportunity for role play and discussion about where the bones came from.

Dinosaur bone pictures

It was fun placing the bones onto black paper to create shapes and try and work out what the bones had come from.

Dinosaur Bone Investigation Table

Our little helper then moved onto the dinosaur bone investigation area which was equipped with a magnifying glass, paper, a note book, card board tubes, a ruler and coloured pencils. We used a piece of natural coloured hessian to place all of the items on. Again this area worked well for role play, imagining they were working in a museum and investigating, preparing the dinosaur bones to exhibit. The hand lens was great for studying the bones and shells in more detail.

Dinosaur bone sorting

The cardboard tubes also came in useful for storing the dinosaur bones to make sure that they didn’t get damaged.

measuring bones

The pencil and paper came in useful for drawing around the dinosaur bones and the ruler for measuring them.

Dinosaur bones, pebbles and shells

We particularly liked the combination of natural colours or the bones shells and pebbles perfect for playing with, holding, stacking and sorting.

shell investigation

The colours, texture and patterns of the shells were particularly interesting under the magnifying glass which allowed the children to explore the patterns which they then drew using coloured pencils.

The Dinosaur Excavation and Investigation Area Can Cover a Number of Areas of the EYFS Framework:

Communication and Language

  • Discussing what the dinosaur bones and other objects found
  • Role play on a dinosaur bone excavation or in a museum

Physical Development

  • Handling equipment and tools effectively using magnifying glass, ruler and pencils to investigate bones.
  • Using coordination to fit dinosaur bones into cardboard tubes.
  • Moving about, digging in a sandpit when dinosaur bones are hidden in an outdoor area.
  • Stacking and sorting stones and bones.


    • Developing self confidence by choosing how to play with dinosaur bone investigation area.
    • Making relationships working in pairs or larger groups to find and investigate bones.


  • Writing names of dinosaurs.
  • Using words to describe the different objects found.
  • Reading and sharing books about dinosaurs.


  • Counting, sorting and measuring dinosaur bones.
  • Keeping a tally of the number of each dinosaur bone found in the excavation area.

Understanding the World

  • Discussing dinosaurs and what extinct means.
  • Discussing what bones are, what they are made of, why we need them and why we might find animal bones in the ground.

Art and Design

  • Drawing shells using coloured pencils or crayons.
  • Using dinosaur bones to create pictures.
  • Observing and sorting according to the colours of different objects.

Do you have any fun dinosaur activities to share? You can discover more ideas on our Dinosaurs page or by following us on Pinterest

Follow The Consortium Early Years’s board Dinosaurs Theme on Pinterest.