Dinosaur Sensory Box

Following the success of our zoo-themed box, we decided to continue in a similar theme and capitalise on the dinosaur exhibition we had seen at the zoo.  This was by special request from L, our dinosaur sensory box.

We dyed rice using food colouring and alcohol hand rub to make a grassy base:

I’ve found the easiest, least messy way to do this is to place the rice inside a ziploc bag, along with a few drops of food colouring and squirts of alcohol hand rub, let the children squish it about to coat the rice with the coloured mixture and leave a few hours to absorb the colour.  It’s also great fun watching the colour change over time, and a good way of introducing shades of colour – darker, lighter etc.  I then tip the coloured rice onto a sheet of newspaper and dry, preferably overnight.

To create a dinosaur jungle with varied textures, we dyed pasta in the same way, adding a bit of black food colouring to give a darker green:

Then, as part of “operation build L’s confidence and creativity”, I asked him for ideas and put together the box together.  It’s easy to see where he gets his temperament and need for things to be done “right” – I find it really difficult not to correct, or impose my ideas of what would work best, but this time I kept my mouth shut and allowed the box to take shape in L’s mind, with some great results, even if some were inspired by our previous activities I was pleased that he did suggest and execute some of his own ideas too.

L cut out paper leaves of different textures, using straight scissors and pinking shears

Concentrating on cutting very carefully

We made felt leaves, and trees from painted toilet roll tubes:

Added some cotton bud “bones” for the meat eating dinosaurs, along with some  insects for them to eat, following L’s careful research in his dinosaur books.

Pipecleaner insects with shiny craft paper wings

Cotton bud bones

Then in came the toy dinosaurs… L spontaneously started sorting them into flying dinosaurs, ones that wakled on two legs as opposed to four, and lining them up at the ready.

Dinosaur Land!

L was quite experimental this time, having seen his sister immerse her feet in the last sensory box, he wanted to give that a try.  baby F seemed to like the feel of rice better than oatmeal or water too.  She also enjoyed feeling / chewing a piece of felt and handling the dinosaurs.  Again, I liked being able to include her in the same activity as the others.

L asked for some plastic spoons to conduct his own archaeological dig…then N came home and joined in.  I thought it would be great fun at some point to fill a large tub with sand and bury the dinosaur artefacts for a more challenging dig, or perhaps surround them with clay – an outside activity for another day – for now, they are very happy with their spoons and rice, and N especially enjoyed measuring and pouring.

Paleontologists at work!

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