Dinosaur Dig Messy Play Kit Guide
Ready to dig into your Dinosaur Dig Messy Play Kit? On this page you'll find detailed step-by-step instructions, ideas to extend the learning, and some links to other resources. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about your kit. Now go get messy!
1. Shape the brown playdough into a volcano. Start with rolling a ball, then flatten the bottom, use your thumb to make an imprint in the middle, and continue to hollow out the inside and extend the neck until it looks like a volcano.
2. Place the playdough volcano on a surface with an edge- a cookie sheet works well, or a sink or bathtub.
3. Carefully scoop a teaspoon of the volcano mix into the middle of the volcano.
4. Fill a cup with water, and use the pipette to squeeze some of water into the center of the volcano. Watch it erupt and fizz use the pipette to squeeze some of the citric acid mixture into the center of the volcano. Watch it erupt and fizz!!
5. Continue to add more volcano mix and water to continue the eruption! For an extra foamy reaction, add one drop of dish soap (not included) to the baking soda inside the volcano before you add the water!
What are they learning?
- Fine Motor Control: Squishing playdough is a great way to build up the hand muscles needed to hold a pencil properly.
- Science: Touch the lava- it’s safe to feel. What does it feel like? Is it hot like real lava? The baking soda and citric acid cause an endothermic chemical reaction, which means the temperature will decrease while it’s reacting. If you touch the lava when it’s fizzing, it will feel cold! If you wait a few minutes after it stops reacting, it will become room temperature again.
- Hand-Eye Coordination: You have to squeeze the water into the volcano in order for the reaction to occur!
- Cause and Effect: When they squirt water, there’s an immediate visual effect. Young children thrive on actions and reactions, as it helps them learn to relate events together and connect their world.
Hatching Dinosaur Eggs:
1. Use scissors to cut open the top of the sealed package containing the dinosaur eggs. Place the dinosaur eggs on a surface with an edge- a cookie sheet will work well, or a sink or bathtub.
2. In a measuring cup or bowl, mix the citric acid with 1.5 cups of warm water and stir to dissolve.
3. Use the pipette to squeeze some of the citric acid mixture on top of a dinosaur egg. Watch it fizz and hatch!
4. You can also pour the citric acid mixture on top of the eggs to hatch them. Remember to save enough mixture to hatch all the eggs!
|TIP: Baking soda is also a great cleaning agent. If you hatch the eggs in the bathtub, scrub the baking soda around a bit before you wash it down the drain!|
What are they learning?
- Fine Motor: Pipettes are great for building fine motor control.
- Science: This is a simple chemical reaction with an exciting visual show. It’s easy to see that something is happening, and children are bound to question how and why. (If you don’t know, look it up together. This is a great way to teach your child that it’s ok not to know something, and how to be resourceful and find the answer.)
- Dramatic Play: It’s hard not to hatch the dinosaurs and then play with them! Let your child’s imagination run while they stomp around the volcano and roar. You’re building the foundation for creativity and problem-solving skills.
1. Pour the fossil mix in a bowl and combine with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Stir to mix.
2. Knead the dough until it stays together, then press flat like a pancake.
3. Use the dinosaurs you hatched to make dinosaur imprints in the fossil dough. Make footprints, spike imprints, lay the dinosaur flat… get creative!
Talk about what you are making. What are fossils? How are they made in nature? Why are they so important for understanding the history of the earth? For more information, visit Fossils for Kids.
|TIP: to dry the dough, either bake at 200 degrees for 3 hours on the parchment paper, or air dry for a few days.|
What are they learning?
- Fine Motor Control: Always! As they mix the dough, whether by hand or with a tool, they are building those muscles!
- Creativity: They can press the dinosaurs into the dough and re-roll it as many times as they want. Maybe they have their own dinosaurs or other animals they want to make prints of?
- Observation: Comment on the various print shapes you see. Do the dinosaurs make different footprints on the dough? What sort of pattern do you see when you lay the dinosaur sideways in the dough? What if you press other animal toys in- do those make different footprints?
- Vocabulary: Your child may not know what a fossil is, so take the time to explain it. If you don’t know, visit Fossils for Kids.
More Dinosaur Play!
There are so many ways to continue playing with and learning about dinosaurs. Here are some of my favorites.
- Build your own dinosaur from recycled plastic bottles with Projects for Preschoolers.
- Make a Dinosaur World you can crawl into with Growing a Jeweled Rose!
- For a different type of Dinosaur Small World, check out One Perfect Day.
- To learn more about fossils, visit Fossils for Kids.