Dinosaur Mud Habitat + 15 Favorite Dinosaur Activities for Kids
In my experience, the best activities for children meet two requirements. First, they fit the child’s interest. Second, they are flexible, so that you don’t need special supplies. Because really, what parent has time to make extra trips to the store for activity supplies?
Sometimes, my laziness also leads to creative adaptations of an activity. On really good days, these adaptations make for an even more fun experience for our son. This was the the case with making what I’m now calling a Dinosaur Mud Habitat.
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Earlier this week, our dinosaur-obsessed four year was exploring an activity book that came with his Magic School Bus Back in Time with the Dinosaurs kit. One of the activities suggested making a diorama type habitat for dinosaurs by painting land and water.
Our little guy is not a big fan of painting, and he requested markers instead. I could not find the markers. I had a large box top to a copy paper box for the habitat. If I gave him crayons, I knew he would lose interest in coloring such a large space and abandon the project.
What to do? I suddenly remembered that we had a huge batch of hot cocoa scented homemade playdough on the shelf that looked exactly like mud. Since he loves squishy sensory experiences, I suggested we make a mud habitat and he jumped at the idea.
No Cook Mud Playdough Recipe and Supplies
Here’s the recipe we used to make the hot cocoa playdough, which also makes excellent mud! I like the fact that there’s no food coloring involved, so I didn’t come away with stained fingers like I often do with playdough.
Other supplies we used included:
- Box Top
- Plastic trees
- Branches from bushes outside
- Plastic dinosaurs
- Dinosaur Stickers
Since we were playing based on his imagination and our available supplies, there are all kinds of substitutions that could be made.
Building Our Dinosaur Habitat
Spreading out all the squishy mud was the first step. The little guy also wanted a body of water for his Pteranodon to fish in, so he colored that in with crayon.
He added some trees from his Animal Planet Tub of Dinosaurs. For a while, he just wanted to put different dinosaurs footprints in the mud, so we could guess which kind of dinosaur each was.
He also wanted me to string his Pteranodon above the habitat so that it could swoop in to fish and play with the other dinosaurs. That gave us the idea of getting out his shell collection to line up by the lake. I showed him how we could make prints in the playdough using the shells and plastic trees.
When I suggested adding real leaves from our outdoor bushes, I was quite impressed with his response. He said he wanted to put them all in one corner so that the herbivores would have something to eat. Then, he said the meat eaters would have something to eat too. I didn’t realize he understood the food chain so well!
Finally, he added some dinosaur stickers to the side of the box. This led to quite a bit of pretend play and conversation between the sticker dinosaurs.
There seems to be something about age four that has really expanded the importance of pretend play for him. This activity has kept him entertained for days, both through independent play and play with me. The sensory aspect has also held his interest much more than playing with the dinosaurs by themselves usually does.
Our 15 Favorite Dinosaur Activities and Crafts for Kids
Another activity that was a big hit this week was making dinosaur feet. These were so fun for stomping along to the singalong Dinosaur Rap.
You can download the supply list and step by step instructions for making dinosaur feet here.
Looking for more fun dinosaur activities and crafts? Check out these ideas:
Best Toy and Gift Ideas for Kids Who Love Dinosaurs: Pin this post for your next birthday or holiday gift-giving occasion
Homemade Dinosaur Bones made with salt dough
Frozen Dinosaur Eggs: Our four year old asks to do this one again and again
Dinosaur Movement Game: This one is great for getting the wiggles out on cold or rainy days
Kindness Dinosaurs: A dinosaur-themed random act of kindness
Fizzing Dinosaur Eggs: Hatch small dinosaur toys with this science activity
Build a Dinosaur: Such a fun way for preschoolers to explore shapes
Tape Resist Dinosaur Art: I love how tape resist creates patterns in this dino skeleton art project
Dinosaur Travel Tin: This is perfect for your next road trip or for long waits at the doctor’s office
Tissue Paper Dinosaur: This craft looks like a great way to build a child’s concentration
Cardboard Dinosaur Art: Use up some boxes sitting around the house as your child builds a dinosaur
Cardboard Box Dinosaur (wearable): Build a dinosaur costume that your child can wear
Dinosaur I Spy Game: Free printable game
Dinosaur Tracks Painting: This is a fun process art activity for preschoolers
What are your favorite dinosaur activities? Share in the comments!