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The Triceratops was an herbivore, and its name means three-horned face. It is easily recognizable by its distinctive single horn protruding from its nostrils and the pair of horns above the eyes. Its bony skull created the look of a crown on top of its head. Paleontologists believe that the horns were used mostly as defense against carnivorous dinosaurs such as the Tyrannosaurus rex.
The Triceratops lived during the Cretaceous period in North America. Several Triceratops fossils have been discovered in the midwest United States, particularly South Dakota and Wyoming.
Extend your dinosaur thematic unit by creating this Triceratops kindergarten craft. Use the extension activities to devote an entire day to learning about the mighty Triceratops.
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Triceratops Craft Activity
- Toilet paper tubes
- Triceratops template
- Crayons or colored pencils
- Glue stick
Allow children to color the Triceratops with whatever colors they choose. Explain that no one really knows exactly what color dinosaurs were since there are no real photographs of them. It is the best guess of scientists that they were colored green and brown or other earthy tones so that they could easily camouflage themselves in their environment. Have the children cut out the pieces of their colored Triceratops template. This is a great activity for following directions and enhancing listening and fine motor skills. The large rectangular shape should be glued directly onto the toilet paper tube as the body of the Triceratops. The legs, head, and tail will be glued on after the body. This particular template clearly shows the three horns of the Triceratops as well as the bony frill on the top of the skull.
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Triceratops Extension Activities
After completing the Triceratops kindergarten craft, it is possible to devote an entire day to learning more about the Triceratops. The following books are perfect read-alouds and additions to your classroom library for a thematic week on dinosaurs:
- Triceratops (True Books) by Elaine Landau
- I Wonder Why Triceratops Had Horns and Other Questions about Dinosaurs by Rod Theodorou
- The Horned Dinosaur: Triceratops by Mike Berenstain
- Watch Out, Triceratops by Dawn Bentley and Karen Carr
Discuss the differences between herbivores and carnivores with your preschool class. Create a large poster with two sides. One side will be labeled "Carnivores," the other side will be labeled "Herbivores." Use printed cut-outs of several different types of dinosaurs. Ask children to decide whether each dinosaur is a carnivore or herbivore. Use books and the internet to research the eating habits of each dinosaur and place the cut outs in the correct column of your poster. Display the poster prominently during your dinosaur thematic unit.
Create a Triceratops Fact Book with your kindergarten class. Ask each child to recall one fact they have learned about the Triceratops. Ask children to draw a picture of a Triceratops. Either you or the child can write their recalled Triceratops fact on the picture. Gather all pictures and create a class book of Triceratops facts for your classroom library. Or, copy each child's fact page and create a book for each child to take home.
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Dinos For Kids: Triceratops Fact Page (http://www.kidsdinos.com/dinosaurs-for-children.php?dinosaur=Triceratops)
Triceratops Photo Credit: http://morguefile.com/archive/display/613189