This is by far my most intensive prep play, compared to other projects. This dinosaur themed play lasted for a month. A very kind soul gave me a huge box of dinosaurs, of different sizes and types. I knew these kind of toys are expensive and I just had to make the best of them. Also, I was really getting bored of playing cars with him like all the time. If you are considering to buy such toys and have the budget to do so, please do, the kids learn a lot with this kind of imaginary role play. Other than the initial investment that goes into the dinosaurs, everything else needed for the activities are things you can just get from home. And for Nat, it has helped him greatly to gain independence in playing by himself. Read ahead and be inspired but do note that the preparation and planning is not for the fainthearted!
WEEK 1 - DINOSAUR EXCAVATION
I froze the baby dinosaurs into a giant ice cube and provided some 'excavation' tools. Then I talked about how dinosaurs were extinct and how people excavated the dinosaur bones. He was at it for close to 45 minutes. I never knew that in our hot climate, the ice block could be so tough to break. He asked to do it again and so the next time, I will give him different things like sand/salt/flour to pour on the ice and it can be a science experiment.
WEEK 2 - DINOSAUR LAND
Then I made a mat by connecting different foam sheets to be his 'dinosaur land'. I kind of surprised him with a whole lot more of dinosaurs besides the baby ones he dug up previously. He was so happy! It was up to him to interpret what kind of 'land' the different colours represented. He also cut up some foam sheets into different shapes to be the water, logs, lava, grass, food. He set up his dinosaur land and from then it was a point of no return of non-stop play.
WEEK 3 - DINOSAUR OBSERVATION
We tried to learn about the names of the different dinosaurs. WX was much better than me at this, I was almost clueless. We matched the dinosaur babies with their dinosaur mothers. He also took the initiative to categorise the dinosaurs into different colours according to the mats. We watched an episode of SUPER WHY- Baby Dino's Big Discovery and learned about how to observe the dinosaurs carefully in order to differentiate them.
WEEK 4 - DINOSAURS AND VOLCANOES
Then I had a random idea to learn about volcanoes, just for crazy fun with his dinosaurs. We watched videos about volcanoes from The Kids Should See This, read the book 'Volcano Rising' and then did a volcano experiment - the good ol' baking soda with vinegar explosion. At the beginning he was rather upset that his dinosaurs got all dirty by the lava. But then he loved seeing the explosion so much he kept doing it again and again until we used up a giant bottle of vinegar and baking soda. In the end, he was very diligent in cleaning up his dinosaurs all by himself.
WEEK 5 - DINOSAUR EGGS
WX and I made dinosaur bath bombs the night before, because they needed at least 8 hours to dry. We told Nat that these were dinosaur eggs which will hatch when you add water. We ran this activitiy 3 times! He liked it a lot and we had a lot of dinosaur babies but it's also because I kept getting the consistency wrong each time so the first 2 tries, the bath bombs didn't fizzle at all. It was only truly successful on the 3rd try! My advice to you is that just add 3 times the amount of citric acid (pin shown at the end).
And last but not least. We can't do without the dinosaur stickers yeah? :)
Check out all the pins below for more details on how to prep each activity. I don't rewrite them because I want to give due credit to these awesome mommies who take time to come up with them by themselves :)