Imaginative play has wonderful benefits for children’s development. Experts find that children who engage in pretending are more creative, perform better in school, and develop a strong problem-solving approach to learning.
In this dinosaur themed activity, most of the fun comes from using our imagination to build the world of dinosaurs. You can use anything you have in the house. Start off by talking to your child about what a dinosaur’s world might look like, and what they need to be happy in their environment. Make sure to ask lots of questions that can help them with the answer. For example, dinosaurs need water to live. So try asking them what a dinosaur would drink? Remind them that dinosaurs live outside, so they understand dinosaurs would drink water that comes from rivers and lakes.
Once they have the elements of what a dinosaur needs in their world, take a look around the house, or outside, for the things you could use to create that world. You can use small things, like we did in this activity, or you can use big things to make a big dinosaur world, think like couch cushions and pillows, or towers of blocks for trees. We made play putty to help create our dinosaur world, scroll through for the recipe!
Once you have all your items and the world has been created, it’s time to play in the dinosaur world! If you made a big world, your child might enjoy pretending to be the dinosaur themselves! With a small world, small dinosaur toys can be used to interact with the world.
Here are some of the items we used in our small world of dinosaurs:
- small dinosaurs
- small trees
- homemade play putty, colours brown, blue and green
- blue glass beads for water
- small branches
- pine cones
- play tray or cookie sheet
- vegetable serving tray / organizing tray
Things that are great to create some texture:
- Fork – run a fork along your play putty to make a grass effect.
- Foil – roll some tin foil into a ball and push it into the play putty to make a bumpy, rocky effect.
- Spoon – push a spoon into blue play putty to make a wavy effect for water.
If you’d like to make your own play putty, here is the simple recipe we use!
Super Simple Putty
- 3 cups of water
- 3 cups of flour, sifted
- 3/4 cups of salt
- 8 teaspoons of cream of tartar
- 3 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- Food colouring, whatever colours you want to make your putty
1. In a medium to large saucepan, add your dry ingredients and mix well, then add the wet ingredients. Using a large spoon or spatula, mix everything together until the mixture is nearly clump-free.
2. Heat mixture over medium heat and whisk frequently. As you continue to stir, the mixture will start to clump together. Switch back to spatula and continue mixing. When a large clump has formed, remove from heat and let cool.
3. Once cooled to a comfortable temperature, begin to knead it by hand. Once the consistency is even, begin separating the putty into even sections if you are making different colours. In this batch we were able to make a good amount of three different colours. To add the food colouring, make an imprint with your thumb at the centre of the ball and slowly add a few drops of food colouring at a time between kneads so the colour spreads evenly. Once you reach your desired vibrancy of colour, the play can begin!
*Store up to 6 months in a sealed plastic bag.
Have fun exploring your dinosaur world!
For more dinosaur themed activities, visit Caitie in Caitie’s Classroom and watch our dinosaur episode!
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