Dinosaur small world play ideas

Dinosaur small world play is always a popular choice in early years settings. It provides a good opportunity for children to learn about the world and practice communication skills whilst using their imagination and getting a range of different sensory experiences. Most importantly though, it is lots of fun!

Here are 8 of our favourite ideas for adding a bit of variation and some new learning experiences to dinosaur small world play:

The Dinosaur Garden

A dinosaur garden is a great way to take dinosaur small world play outside with a semi permanent habitat for the dinosaurs to live in and the children to endlessly play with. A dinosaur garden can be created around an existing feature in an outdoor play area like a tree stump or fence or in a planter or planting container. Stones, shells, pieces of wood and gravel and even a water container can be used to add further features to the garden. It should contain some greenery and succulents (although not cacti) are an interesting addition to a dinosaur garden with their fat, fleshy leaves. Prehistoric looking ferns, rustling grasses, colourful flowers and fragrant herbs add a sensory element as well as being great for dinosaurs to hide in. Don’t forget to check that any plants that you add are child friendly!

Frozen Dinosaur Eggs

We really love this fun idea for Frozen dinosaur eggs by Little Bins for Little Hands. The sensory element of playing with ice, a bit of science, fine motor practice with pipettes to melt the ice and the anticipation and discussion of what they will find inside the eggs makes for a really fun and varied learning experience.

Dinosaur bones

Dinosaur Bone Excavation

Dinosaur bones can be buried in compost, mud or sand for children to discover, excavate and discuss. This Dinosaur Bones Match and Measure set is also great for children to sort, measure and match the bones introducing the concepts of doubling and halving

Sticky Dinosaur Mud or Slime

Mud and slime are almost always a favourite with children and are great sensory experience. Cornflour with food colouring and water is a simple way to create your own sticky mess for the dinosaurs. You could also use Gelli Baff or bath foam to create a dinosaur swamp in a tray tray for dinosaurs to get really sticky.

No Sew Felt Dinosaur Play Mat

We spotted this No Sew Felt Dinosaur Play Mat on Fun at Home With the Kids and though it was a fantastic idea for a soft, no mess place for children to play with dinosaurs. It is super easy to make and features a beach, trees, a tar pit and even a volcano dinosaurs to hide inside.


EYFS Dinosaur Play

Natural Materials Dinosaur Tuff Tray

Our little helpers loved playing with the dinosaur world that we set up in a Tuff Tray using a variety of different natural materials including pine cones, drift wood, gravel and moss divided into different zones. You can find a variety of natural materials to add to your dinosaur world on our treasure basket page.

Dinosaur play

Ice Age Dinosaur Tray

This ice age world is quick and easy to create in an activity tray and brings a bit of winter fun at any time of the year. Insta-snow or rainbow snow is great for dinosaurs to stomp, hide and roll in. Real ice (or the dinosaur eggs above) can be added for an additional sensory experience and glitter can also be added for a little bit of sparkle.

Dinosaur Wetlands

This fun dinosaur activity bin featured on Happy Hooligans adds water, stones and plants to a dinosaur small world for a fun combination of sensory, small world and water play. Splashing the dinosaurs into the water is a good way to keep cool on a hot summer day.

What are your children’s favourite ways to play dinosaurs?

For more fun learning activities visit our discovering the world page or follow us on Pinterest.
Follow The Consortium Early Years’s board Dinosaurs Theme on Pinterest.