As the weather is getting warmer and we’re starting to spend more time outside I thought I’d show you one way my girls love to play in our garden: in our Dinosaur Land. Big recently did a ‘show and tell’ at school about gardening and the Dinosaur Land proved to be so popular an idea with her classmates, that several of them have gone home and made their own – so it comes highly recommended.
This kind of ‘small world’ play is fantastic for young children: they get to be the boss of the world, create characters, role play situations, use their language skills, be imaginative….. I love watching children engaged in this kind of play as it really gives you an insight into where they’re at, what’s concerning them, what they’re exploring at this present time. Big’s characters are often having battles at the moment, as she works through ideas of ‘being fair’ and negotiations. Little’s play in nearly always focused on a family group and playing out familiar routines – her dinosaurs get tucked up in bed and read a bedtime story.
As always, this idea is easy to make and you’re likely to have most, if not all, of the things you need around your home.
Start by finding a big plastic storage box and making some drainage holes in the bottom. Then let your children fill it up with soil – good, messy fun. Add a few rocks – we have one big one, which the dinosaurs like to stand on to survey their territory, and some smaller one to sit on. How about some plants for the dinos to eat and hide in? Have you got one to spare somewhere in one of your borders? The grassy one we used works really well – low maintenance, pretty robust and won’t get too overgrown. You can add any other props which catch your children’s eye: glass pebbles, fir cones, sticks, water too if you’d like a swamp area.
Then it’s over to the kids to get playing.
If your children are enjoying the garden, have a look at our Sunflower Club for more outside play ideas.