Dinosaur swamp with frozen eggs

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!

Great Artists Week – Summer of Fun

Week three of our Summer of Fun we explored the world of Great Artists!   We created with paints, pens, by building and with food!

Here’s a quick reminder of what we’ve been up to this week:

Making Mondays Trip out Tuesdays Wacky Wednesdays Thinking Thursdays Foodie


Get inspired by a famous Artist.

Create your own versions of their masterpeices

Take a trip to a local Art gallery  Who will you be today?

Spend the day dressing up and taking photos of all the characters you have been 

Let Sculpture inspire you

What can you build with?


 Make your own sensory food paints.


Here are the highlights of our Great Artisits week…

Making Monday

We made cut out art in the style of Henri Matisse. Pook enjoyed cutting out shapes and using them to create a picture.   Meemoo just enjoyed cutting the paper up, but it was good scissor skills practice.

Miss N made some beautiful Renoir inspired umbrellas by drawing on foil with sharpies.

Wacky Wednesday

We had great fun playing dressing up all day. Meemoo and Pook kept their costumes on all day, even wearing them out on the bus to the city centre.

Sarah made an amazing photo booth, then in the afternoon Miss N made some amazing Picasso inspired art with her photo printouts.

Thinking Thursday

It was an open ended challenge with toilet rolls and straws.  I quickly cut some straws in half, and made some very basic holes in the tubes. I then left it for Meemoo and Pook to discover what they could make.

Pook was inspired by the recent art installation we have in the city centre, using the toilet rolls and straws to make her own version.

Mr Z had some wooden bricks with velcro on to build with.

Foodie Friday

Finally on our Great Artists week, it was time to create art with food. It was messy fun, getting to paint with yogurt, which was dyed using fruits. It started out as natural yogurt to which, fruit was added. The best results where from fruits which have lots of colour, especially berries. Sarah added jelly crystals to her making it thicker to paint with and it looks a lot smoother.  Fun was had by all and it was a great way to encourage healthy eating.

Please share your animal adventures on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram.

Next week we are being dinosaur explorers. You can still join us in our summer of fun, just sign up in the pop box on the right to receive your exclusive and free play ideas for next week straight to your email inbox.

If you have missed out on weeks one and two, take a quick look

Summer of Fun; Ocean Activities

Summer of Fun; Animal Activities

Playdough Jungle

Here is our first guest blog from Sarah, who has been mad enough to help me plan this Summer of Fun. It sounds like they had a fab time making their Playdough Jungle.

Playdough Jungle

We have been enjoying the animals theme this week, and what better way to combine this with our love of playdough than to make a playdough jungle?!


You will need

Playdough ingredients

2 cups plain flour

½ cup salt

2 tablespoons cream of tartar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Glycerine (optional)

1½ cups boiling water

Green food colouring


Small plastic jungle animals


A selection of small natural materials (we used stones, slate, bark and a mix of different leaves and branches)

Playdough tools, such as rolling pins (optional)


I made the playdough by mixing together the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil.  I added the food colouring to the water, then gradually added this into the mix.  You may not need all the water, so go steadily with it.  Stir with a spoon until it clumps together.  When it’s cool enough for you to be able to touch, add a few drops of glycerine and knead until it becomes smooth and soft.  If it’s too dry, add a touch more water; if it’s too wet, add a bit more flour.


Once the playdough was completely cool, I set up an invitation to play for Miss N to create her own jungle.


She chose tools she wanted from our playdough box, and used lots of problem solving skills to get the trees and branches to stay upright in her jungle.  Her preferred solution was to use the broccoli as a base for the thinner twigs and stems to be stuck into.  I’m always particularly impressed when she comes up with solutions that I would never have thought of!


For Mr Z, I made a small playdough jungle for him to explore initially.


I then added extra animals and loose materials to his tray to further his play and exploration.  He enjoyed making marks in the playdough with the lion’s feet and the bark, and squishing lumps of playdough with his fingers.  It was a good opportunity to explore cause and effect, as well as give those little finger muscles some extra exercise.


If you want to keep your playdough for another time, it keeps for several months in an airtight container.  Let us know how you get on!