Jun 26, 2009

Playdough Dinosaur Island

The kids were a bit keen to make more stuff with the playdough after Wednesday's playdough train table, so today when some of their friends came to visit, we set about making the dinosaur island I suggested might happen in my last post.

I got a load of random stuff out of the recycling bin (as usual, the starting point for anything that gets made around here). I pulled out a couple of pizza boxes, a frosted flakes box (my, isn't this making us look healthy!), some other boxes and an old cleaned aluminium foil roasting tray.
I stuck them all together and cut bits off to kind of make them a bit of an island shape. Then I cut a hole in the pizza box to sink a pyrex dish into (will be a lake/pond eventually)After the shape was kind of ok I packed it out a bit with crumpled up newspaper and then covered it all in aluminium foil, because that way we can pull off the playdough easily when the fun is over and reuse it yet again.The kids spent probably an hour sticking playdough on this island shape. Same playdough that we used for the train table on Wednesday. The kids were two four year olds, one three year old and one 18 month old. I was surprised that considering the ages of the kids, it still came out looking pretty respectable. I had to manage the build process by pulling out one colour of playdough at a time and then they took peices, rolled them flat with mini rolling pins, or just squishing them with their palms, then sticking the flat pieces to the island.The plastic funnel that was used for the volcano on the train table was added to the top of the island, because every dinosaur island needs the props for an extinction event (not willing to play meteors in my kitchen I'm afraid, so super volcano it is) The lava was some old plasticine that we had lurking in the craft bin.Once we had all the playdough on, I brought out all the toy dinosaurs and the bits and bobs of pretend plants, like lego trees and flowers and one lonely plastic palm tree. The island still looked a bit sparce, so we went out in the garden and pillaged a load of greenery and rocks to add to it.
Last thing was to add some water (with a drop of blue food colouring) to the dinosaur lake in the middle of the island. Yes, the green playdough around the lake got quite wet, but it was well worth losing that bit of playdough to the bin considering how excited the kids were about the lake being "real".
Lots of dinosaur splashing and roaring ensued. Awesome game of which dinosaurs eat which other dinosaurs too. I was surprised that they were able to pick out the carnivores and herbivores from our play dinos pretty easily and to make us look even healthier, the king of the dinosaurs (the giant t-rex) was a happy meal toy. Oh the shame.
I should go and pack it all away now and put the underlying structure back in the recycling bin, so we can play again another time.


LiEr said...

So, so, so much fun to see the whole island come together and the kids enjoying it. We have the same T-Rex from the same sponsor. Sigh. I am very impressed that the 18-month old got to participate and not eat any part of the island. You are just amazing, KM! Your kids are so lucky to have you as mom!

Jen Barnes said...

My sister introduced me to your blog. I had to comment on this post. You are officially the most creative mom I've ever seen! I am a mom that likes to do lots of projects with my kids, but nothing to this extent! Wow!
We will be doing something like this over the summer. How fun.
I also want to thank you for your solar system. Me and my kids (age 4, 2) made one (not nearly as cute as yours!) but it really was so fun. Thank you so much for documenting these great ideas. Many children benefit from it.

This Girl loves to Talk said...

OH MY!! I dont think I even own that much playdough.... you are amazing!! found your blog via crafty crow :)

Vacskamati said...

Hi, I'm a new reader in your blog, and I'm just amazed your creativity! :)

That island's awesome! :D

your home is like a real theme-park! :-))

One question: what do you do with these creations after playing? Do you keep them for a while and where? Or do you take apart for repurpose or throw away?

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Mama King said...

You are AMAZING! I love this!

PuppyLovePrincess said...

Ohmygoodness! I love this idea, and love this blog. In fact, I'm giving you the One Lovely Blog Award (I couldn't find any email/contact links, so I'm just awarding you via comments, & I hope that's OK... I'm not too sure about official OLBA protocol!) Congratulations and thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas, Erika http://puppylovepreschool.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Fabulous! You should send your photos to Family Fun or some other magazine so they can do a spread on you.

I'm so doing this!

Lindsey said...

Thanks LiEr! I happen to think that your kids are ridiculously lucky to have you and your creativity on tap too!

Jen, I'm so glad to hear that you've had a go at the solar system project we did. I think that's my favourite part of blog feedback, getting to hear that the blog has given someone an idea to run with for their kids too!

Vacskamati, thank you, and yeah, I guess it is a bit of a theme park here. The giant rocket ship was directly opposite the front door. I thought about rigging up a camera to take a photo of some of the great facial expressions that visitors made about three seconds after I openned the door to them. Some even said "what the?!?"

The rocket ship lived for over 4 months. The full wall aquarium for about two months. The solar system is still up on the walls. Walle and the tin foil sombrero are cluttering up the kitchen. Both the dino island and the playdough train table were dismantled at the end of the day they were made though, so we could reuse the home made playdough without it drying out. Pretty much everything we make comes out of the recycling and eventually goes back into the recycling, so it's not too much of a big deal.

Puppyloveprincess, thank you for the award! I'll blog about it soon and visit your site too.

kristin said...

how, oh how, oh how did i not know of your blog until now?!?!?

wonderful stuff!!!



Kirsten said...

I think you must be the coolest Mom ever. :D

Dana Leeds said...

That is one of THE MOST AMAZING creations I've ever seen! I showed it to my daughter and she loved it, too. Though she thought we could just make an island - no dinosaurs. Anyway, thanks for the GREAT idea and I just came across your blog today and am LOVING it!

Anonymous said...

We made a Playdough Dinotopia today thanks to your awesome idea!! Thank you so much! Your blog is amazing!


Anonymous said...

I am amazed that you didn't add "lava" to the volcano (baking soda in a cup add vinegar tinted red with food coloring)! Kids love to watch the explosion!

pink and green mama MaryLea said...

this totally rocks!! We've made a dinosaur land with playdoh on a cookie sheet before with a working baking soda volcano but this would get a lot more mileage and be less goopy!!

A Little Diddy said...

I wish you lived next door to me. I am so blown away by your creativity and you must have the patience of a saint. I have a hard enough time finger painting with my two toddler boys. How do you do it?

Just Jess said...

Thank you so much for the inspiration. We made our own dinosaur island and it was an amazing day for my kids.


Helen said...

That is just amazing, I love it!

Faolmor said...

I am new to your blog, and with a dino-crazy child, how could I not try this?! Our own creation is a bit limited, and in no way as cool as yours. You can see it here (I credited your blog, too!) :)