If you see that your toddler it’s getting obsessed with Dinosaurs, but you don’t own any, I think that a great idea is to creat a small world sensory tub for him.
What’s the point of it? Well… it provides a setting for your baby to play with his dinosaurs in; it puts them in context and encourages LOTS of wonderful imaginative play. Being a small world tub, it’s all nice and contained in an under-bed storage tub, meaning it’s mess-free – bonus!!
The base is made up from dry split-peas and black coloured rice (simply put some rice and black food colouring in a zip-lock bag and shake! You can add a few drops of alcohol hand-gel to prevent the colour from staining your little ones hands when they play… just be sure they don’t eat any!) The base is then PERFECT for scooping and pouring, and picking out, so it’s great for developing fine-motor skills through play!
I’ve also included herbs for some pre-historic foliage. This gave the tub a wonderful scent and enhanced the sensory play opportunities. Combining the different textures of the items in the tub, with the different colours and scents means that the brain is more stimulated and open to learning and retaining information.
So what exactly did I use?
On my weekly trip to the supermarket, I picked up a £3 bag of dinosaurs and two bags of dry split peas. I already had rice and black food colouring in the cupboards, and some herbs and rhubarb growing outside. I grabbed the small pebbles, pipe cleaners, coloured pom poms and glass beads I already had in my craft cupboard. So it’s hardly cost me anything, but has been played with for days now (I don’t think it’s getting packed away any time soon!)
I also wanted to add a volcano… so I simply used a pudding tin from the kitchen cupboards, an empty toilet paper tube and some tissue paper! I’d run out of orange tissue paper, though… so an orange carrier bag got the chop!
How to put it all together
I began by putting the base down, using the split-peas for a lush green, the black rice for the lava and create the effect of a stream using the blue glass pebbles. I held the rice back and created a neat edge, using small pebbles. Large stones added to the pre-historic landscape!
Then, simply add your volcano, dinosaurs and pom-poms. Add the vegetation last; rhubarb leaves make great pre-historic looking plants and the herbs (especially parsley,) looked fantastic as ‘trees.’
So here it is… the finished product! Enjoy!