Our local shopping centre currently has a brilliant Dinosaurs Alive display. The dinosaurs move and make noise. Its a treasure trove of fun for the toddler and preschooler alike! There is information on each one on display, which I must read over and over, and the best bit for Mini Miss? There are foot prints all over the shopping centre leading to each display! She is so focused on these foot prints every time we go, much to the annoyance of some older, less interested shoppers (to them I now say, get a life, she is 3!!).
So for obvious reasons, Mini Miss has been OBSESSED with dinosaurs! No, these obsessions are not confined to boys!
My first activity I found on Pinterest and as always, altered it a bit to make it more fun and more personal for my Mini Miss.... We built.....
I bought a Kitty Litter tray from our local Dollar Tree for $3. Yes, that sounds gross, but I promise Miss Lucy is not allowed to use it! They are great for containing messy crafts, science experiments, and other fun stuff. You will see the 2 I bought starring in a lot of the science and messy craft Mini Miss gets to do!
To do the landscape, I filled the tray with Baking Soda, which acted as the sand. I made a Bubbly Blue Lagoon using Vinegar with blue food colouring. I decorated with plastic trees and rocks. Then, The Piece de Resistance, The Erupting Volcano.
I made the outside of the Volcano using our favourite home made Playdough recipe. (find it HERE). To make it more interesting I mixed granulated coffee (I know, it seems like a waste, but it was cheap coffee & it really did make a difference) into the mix to give it the brown colour, but also a bit of texture. Inside the Volcano was a plastic cup with a water/vinegar/dish soap mix coloured with red food colouring.
Finally I added some dinosaurs and the masterpiece was set & placed outside (a great place for messy play, I highly recommend it!)
|apparently, from this photo, they were all headed to the Bubbly Lagoon!|
Mini Miss got stuck straight in and had a ball with this. She loved the Bubbly Lagoon and although I missed taking a photo of the Volcano as I was supervising its eruption, she loved it! It oozed red bubbles everywhere. Lots of mess was made.
Of course, once all the contained bubbly fun was had, she got into the Making Mess part. This is more just fun than science, although there is colour mixing, more chemical reactions...you get the idea, but basically, its like playing with colourful mud!
And then later in the day, even more messy play was had! This involved measuring and pouring, scooping and loads more wet gooey mess seeing as I had been busy with Mr Moo and hadn't got around to hosing it all away.
Yes, a bath was VERY necessary after this day!!
- For ALL outdoor messy crafts I keep 2 things nearby. A bucket of soapy water and an old towel. That way the mess does not make its way into my house!
- Spend time talking about why the vinegar and bicarb when mixed together bubble up.
- Encourage your child to think about what the world was like when there were dinosaurs, what was the land like? Were there people? Where did all the dinosaurs go? What about Volcanoes? What makes them erupt?
If they have questions you don't know the answer to, I find honesty the best policy. I am not all knowing, but I do know how to find out and I love to show my kids how to use the tools they have to find out more. Mini Miss is already learning the value of Google. Investigating together is great fun and it teaches such valuable skills like researching, making sense of the information they find, and coming to your own conclusion with the information you have found.
So get building, get messy and have fun with your kids! Play is such an important part of learning at this age!