Dinosaur swamp with frozen eggs
It’s time that Thinking Thursday’s fun got a proper airing. This is one to get thoroughly stuck into! It’s a couple of ideas merged into one great play experience. It can easily be adapted to suit a wide age range.
To make the frozen dinosaur eggs, you need:
Small round balloons
Small plastic dinosaurs
Squeeze a dinosaur into an un-inflated balloon. (Whilst it’s fiddlier, I found using the smaller balloons gave a more rounded egg-like shape). Fill the balloon with water, tie. Then place in the freezer until hard. If you can, make sure the eggs are flat in the freezer and have space, so they keep their shape. If you can turn them over after a couple of hours, the air bubble is less noticeable and the dinosaur is more likely to be in the middle of the egg!
Once frozen solid, cut the neck of the balloon and tear off the rubber. Your eggs are ready to go! I tend to spray the surface with a little bit of water and sprinkle on some glitter for extra sparkle!
Dinosaur Swamp play ideas for older children (4+)
So, you could just play with the eggs. In fact, Miss N did an experiment to find out whether hot water, salt or using a hammer would release the dinosaurs from their eggs the quickest.
We had lots of discussion around how to make it as fair as we could, and how to measure our results. This was good practise for organising her ideas, recognising and comparing outcomes. it was perfect as preparation for her undertaking independent investigations in future.
If you have a go at this experiment, then let us know your results in the comments on this post. I’ll put ours up later next week.
Dinosaur Swamp play ideas for younger children (18 months +)
For Mr Z, I decided to make this into a small world play set up, with the dinosaur eggs in a swamp!
To make the swamp, you will need:
A large tray or container
Natural materials to create habitats – we used logs, leaves, grass, flowers and stones
Washing up liquid (optional, but it added some bubbles and gave an extra dimension to the watery parts of the scene)
Large plastic dinosaurs
I used wet sand to create mounds on the tray, including a large nest for the dinosaur eggs, which I lined with leaves (we wanted the baby dinosaurs to be comfy when they hatched!). I filled the rest of the tray with water, added the natural materials to create different areas of habitat, then put the large dinosaurs around the play set up and the frozen eggs into the nest.
Mr Z was then let loose to explore and play as he wanted. He loved getting the dinosaurs to walk along the logs and jump into the water, and getting them to stomp and sink in the sand mountains. It’s an excellent introduction to imaginative play and storytelling, and increases his vocabulary when we talk about how we’re making the dinosaurs play.
We only stopped playing when it started raining heavily, and Mr Z was so upset at leaving his dinosaurs that we had to bring them in, and he kept playing with them in the sink!