DINO-TASTIC SENSORY PLAY
I love making sensory bins but always feel as if there's never enough, a recent afternoon party proved me wrong. So wrong in fact that I just had to share the details so you can create it yourself and share the fun with your lil' paleontologists!
I had 4 sensory stations set up and while I manned the lava flow the kids were free to roam the room and explore more. You can choose to do all 4 or just one! Here was the setup...
1. Kinetic Sand Dino Dig- Using a small deep IKEA bin (items are located on table), I loaded it with 5.5lbs of Kinetic Sand. Along with the sand I hid here and there Dino fossils and included a dinosaur chart nearby so the kiddos could match the fossils to their names by noticing specific body characteristics.
Included on this table were magnifying glasses, dry paint brushes, small bin with water and small nail brushes so kids could "clean" off their discovered fossils.
These guys loved being able to dig, find, clean, then chart their findings!
2. Colored Rice Dig- This was probably the most used bin and in my mind I giggled thinking to myself, "We are going to need a bigger bin". The kids had so much fun with this one and with minimal effort on my end! I added fossils to the rice as well as scoops, funnels, a magnifying glass, and cardboard tubes.
Rice Coloring Recipe/Supplies- White Rice, Gel Food Coloring, White Vinegar, Large Freezer Bags, Wax Paper, Large Cookie Sheet
- Separate rice into freezer bags (I did 2 cups each bag).
- Add food coloring. 3 colors is always pleasing to the eyes but if you really want to blow kids minds, go further and do the rainbow!
- Add 1tbsp ( 1tsp if doing smaller batches) of vinegar to each bag. This step helps spread and hold the color to the grains of rice.
- Now the fun part!
- Let out air from the bag and zip it tight. Begin smooshing the rice around and around until all the rice is full of that gorgeous color.
- Get yourself a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and dump out the rice into a thin layer.
- Air dry for at least an hour.
TIP- There are recipes where you can bake the rice at a low temp to speed up the drying process but I prefer air drying. You can do outside in the sun or inside in a dry safe space. Run your hand over the grains now and again until dry. This process takes about 1 hour.
3. Volcano Eruption Bin- Okay guys, this was the favorite next to the rice bin and kind of a no brainer as to why. Kids LOVE science! You can research age appropriate discussions on this chemical reaction or just have them experiment on their own. One I found useful for my 4+ party was this fun video via, YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CYgsqji_0k
Three volcanoes were made for this bin and each one covered tall narrow bottles which sat inside to hold all the ingredients, two volcanoes were made from corrugated cardboard the other a large foam sheet. The foam sheet volcano made it to the end and I highly suggest using this material instead of cardboard so as to reuse it for another day. But if you are like me and hoard cardboard then by all means, upcycle away!
TIP-Be sure to use staples to hold your volcano closed and not glue or tape due to the heavy amount of liquid.
For a fun and safe interactive explosion here is what you will need.
Eruption Recipe- Baking Soda (Base), White Vinegar (Acid), Dish Soap (Optional but adds more bubbles and I felt slowed down the chemical change.), Gel Food Coloring, Large Bin or Cookie Sheet, Volcano Materials (Cardboard or Foam Sheet), Scissors, Stapler, Empty Water Bottle, Squeezable Condiment Bottle or Pipette, Eye Protection or Wet Paper Towel (Vinegar + Eyes = Tears)
- Make your cone using material of choice and staple to secure. Be sure to make your cone the same height as water bottle which will hold your fizzy ingredients.
- Once you have your volcanoes constructed now you can get ready to have a fizzy partay!
- In your empty water bottle add baking soda and food coloring. Shake it a bit to get the coloring mixed with the baking soda. Don't worry about mixing it too well.
- Place your volcano over empty bottle.
- Using a squeezable condiment bottle filled with vinegar, or your pipette, start filling your volcano up with vinegar.
WHOA, NELLY! What is happening? Is the lava flowing fast or slow? Is it cold or hot?
TIP #1 - No more vinegar? No worries, try and scoop up from your bin or cookie sheet some of the liquid that was already used.
TIP #2 - Adding vinegar to baking soda gives you an immediate reaction whereas adding baking soda to vinegar delays the reaction. Have fun experimenting!
4. Dino-dough - This was a bin using homemade playdough, a dowel roller, and mini dinosaurs.
(See attached for dough recipe.)
Well there you have it!
Use these recipes to cater to your own theme and just know that while these stations do take time to prepare, you can easily reuse them given the proper storage and will last up to 2 weeks.
Air tight lid bins are highly suggested.
Looking to make this experience even more GINORMOUSLY fun? Make this fossilized egg!
(See seperate blog post for downloadable recipe and process pics.)