Creating dinosaur lands – Imaginative messy play activity

Our imaginative messy play dinosaur land.
Our imaginative messy play dinosaur land.


In our last family update, I mentioned how Oliver has really taken to the children’s book ‘Dinosaurs Love Underpants’.


I’m a strong believer in encouraging children’s interests and so I set about coming up with an idea to incorporate dinosaurs into a messy play activity. Eventually I settled on the idea of creating a dinosaur land.


To create our special dinosaur land you will need:


– A mortar mixing tray (available on Amazon)
– Some cut plants
– Sand
– A small weaning bowl
– Water
– Toy dinosaurs
– Sticky Mud (Recipe below)


I took out our trusty mortar mixing tray, covered half of in children’s play sand, created a small circle in the sand and placed small weaning bowl (filled with water) in the circle.


I then took some of our collected cut ferns and taped them to one side of the tray (this took a lot of tape). I then cut the leftover ferns into smaller pieces and placed them on the tray next to the taped on ferns.


To create the sticky mud, I mixed a few household ingredients together:


– ¼ pint of cornflour
– ¼ pint of cocoa powder
– ½ pint of flour
– ¾ pint of water


*Top tip – sieve the coca powder into the mixture last and mix with a fork to work out all of the lumps.


Once the mixture was made I simply poured it onto the tray and let it spread out across the tray. For our dinosaur land, I used three lots of the above recipe.


For the finishing touch, I placed some toy dinosaurs in the various different parts of our dinosaur land.


Oliver playing with our dinosaur land.
Oliver playing with our dinosaur land.


Oliver absolutely loved this activity and so I left it out in our dining room all day for him, so he could keep going back to it when he wanted. We spent a lot of time burying the dinosaurs in the sand and then digging them up again. Mr. C got very involved in the ‘imaginative play’ aspect of it when he got home from work and set about making the dinosaurs eat the ferns and take a drink from the bowl of water, which encouraged Oliver to do the same.


This is a particularly interesting messy play activity because it is something that can be as big or small as you like and can be made in various different ways. A friend of mine saw the pictures and took to making a dinosaur land for her son to play with too. She created their dinosaur land by taking a tray and filling half of it with sand and half of it with soil. She then added a few plants from her garden and the dinosaurs and ‘hey presto’ their very own dinosaur land for a minimal budget.


My friend's dinosaur land.
My friend’s dinosaur land.


What do you think of our dinosaur lands, messy play activity? Would you recreate it at home? I’d love to know what you think, let me know in the comments, on Twitter, Instagram or on Facebook.

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