Many parents are vary about sensory play when it comes to their toddlers, especially if materials used inside sensory bin are small or non-edible. Continuing our A-Z of Sensory Play series we are exploring the letter D. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to make a Dinosaur Sensory Bin. However, we opted to turn our sensory bin into an edible one and created a Dinosaur Chocolate Mud Sensory Bin.
What You Will Need to Set Up Dinosaur Sensory Bin
You will need following items:
What We Learn About as We Play with Dinosaurs in an Edible Mud
There are few senses working while we played with dinosaur sensory bin: sense of touch and sensations of warm and cold, sense of smell as we sniffed the chocolate and this activity was also visually stimulating with different effects of melted and hardened chocolate. As an extension, you can engage older toddlers in science as you discuss about temperature affecting hardening chocolate and dinosaur fosiles that you got at the end.
How to Set Up Dinosaur Sensory Bin for Your Toddler
Setting up the play was super quick. I melted 10oz of cooking chocolate in the microwave and poured it into our green sensory bin. The melted chocolate looked like a sticky muddy swamp. I then placed a variety of plastic dinosaurs in the bin. Some were standing fully in the mud whilst others had already left muddy footprints around the bin.
How To Play With Dinosaurs in Chocolate Mud
At first I didn’t tell my son that the dinosaurs were standing in chocolate. I wanted him to explore the sensory bin but also see if he would notice the smell of the chocolate whilst he played. My son decided that T-Rex wanted to eat the “mud” and it wasn’t long before most of the dinosaurs had their faces placed in the chocolate.
My son became fascinated that the dinosaurs could walk through the swamp and that they left footprints which were really clear. He also noticed that during his play the footprint had hardened and he could peel it off from the base of the sensory bin. When he was looking closely at the hardened footprint, my son noticed the smell of chocolate! Surprisingly though he didn’t want to eat any of it – he wanted to save it for the dinosaurs to play in.
During the play T-Rex was rolled around in the mud. My son wanted to see what would happen to the dinosaur if he left it alone.
So his play continued but he wouldn’t touch T-Rex. It was a cool day and the chocolate hardened fairly quickly. We were left with a fossilized chocolate dinosaur! My son was amazed and it led onto a long conversation about fossils and how the dinosaurs became extinct. Isn’t it amazing what sensory play can lead to!
Follow the Play with Reading about Dinosaurs!
There is nothing better than pair up play with reading! And, since we are playing with dinosaurs, we should read some of my toddler’s favorite books about dinosaurs!
My Big Dinosaur Book
Sturdy pages, big format, large and colorful images are all good sides of My Big Dinosaur Book. Your little dino fan will be fascinated and look over pages over and over again! Let them try to match their dinosaur toys with the images in the book!
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
“How does a dinosaur say good night when Papa comes in to turn off the light? Does a dinosaur slam his tail and pout? Does he throw his teddy bear all about? Does a dinosaur stomp his feet on the floor and shout: ‘I want to hear one book more!’? DOES A DINOSAUR ROAR?” Most certainly not. Dinosaurs give their mommies and daddies big hugs and kisses, tuck their tales in, and whisper “Good night!”
Dinosaurs Love Underpants
There is a hilarious reason behind dinosaurs’ extincion! You will learn all about it in the book. This cute little book is in rhymes and it is easy to remember so expect your toddler to recite it back to you soon enough!
Adorable illustrations and lovely rhymes about dinosaurs in the book will be even more engaging and fun if you follow up the reading with dramatic sounds! Your toddler will adore you for it!
Touch and Feel: Dinosaur
Both of my children loved touch and feel books when they were babies and toddlers. Does your child loves them too? Kids will get to practice object recognition and dinosaur sounds, and help your baby learn what a dinosaur may have felt like when they roamed the Earth on tactile board pages that are perfect for small hands.
Next Play Idea for Little Dinosaur Fans
You can practice fine motor skills with dinosaur hunt or explore volcanos! One of our weekly theme in Tot school is about Letter D and Dinosaurs. There you can find a full week of ideas for hands-on learning using dinosaur theme. And, if that is still not enough for your little dino lover, you can check out one of 33 dinosaur sensory play ideas! Have fun!