Dinosaur Skeletons and a Sensory Play Area

When thinking about creative play ideas for Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) or children in Year 1 who are learning about dinosaurs, try this simple and fun idea to help with exploring the properties of materials.  Dinosaurs as a topic is a great way to help children to move from free-flow play into activity centred learning.  Use a plastic tray, some sand and some plastic dinosaur models to re-create a dinosaur dig for the children.

Sensory Play – Digging up Dinosaur Skeletons

An idea for sensory play linked to a dinosaur topic.

An idea for sensory play linked to a dinosaur topic.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The substrate does not have to be entirely sand, in the tray pictured above, a range of small gravels have been added to help the children explore different materials.  The paint brushes are just old brushes from the art department or from home that can’t be used for painting any more.  They make great brushes for the palaeontologists to use to brush away the sand and stones to discover dinosaur skeletons.

Dinosaur Skeleton Models – Ideal for Sensory Play Activities

Different plastic models for creative play.

Different plastic models for creative play.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of dinosaur themed learning materials including skeletons and other models: Everything Dinosaur Educational Products

The budding palaeontologists loved finding the skeletons in the sand, we then sorted them into matching pairs and split the skeletons into plant-eating dinosaurs and meat-eating dinosaurs.  Some newspaper under the tray is helpful to prevent too much sand ending up on the floor.  We then looked at pictures in books to see how palaeontologists excavate fossils of dinosaurs.  The children were excited when they spotted a paint brush, very similar to one that they had been using, in a photograph of a real-life dinosaur fossil dig.

This is one sensory play idea with a dinosaur theme that we highly recommend.

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