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Welcome back to Pondering Playtime, my fortnightly series where I share a favourite picture book and a craft or play activity to go with it. This week, I’ve chosen My Dinosaur Dad by Ruth Paul*. Toddlers love a sensory tuff tray, so I’ve created this fun dinosaur tuff spot activity to go along with it.
My Dinosaur Dad – What’s the Story?
My Dinosaur Dad is a book of descriptions. Each page has a picture of a different dinosaur dad and a sentence to describe him. The over-arching message in the book is that no matter what their shape, size or habits, dinosaur dads love their children. With Father’s Day coming up, I thought this would be a great one to share alongside My Dad by Anthony Browne (check out my Father’s Day card craft).
My Dinosaur Dad – Dinosaur Tuff Spot
This tuff spot was really easy to create. Artificial grass makes a great base as an alternative to the usual plain tuff spot. I bought a 1m square piece, then simply laid it in the tuff spot and used a sharp craft knife to cut it to shape and size. Now I have a piece of astroturf that fits perfectly into the base of the tuff tray. I just fold it up and pop it behind the sofa when we’re not using it!
My toddler loves dry sensory experience (although she is getting more confident with wet ones now!). I decided to use different coloured split peas to create mini habitats for the different species of dinosaur, then added some little plastic model trees. Some model dinosaurs completed the tuff spot activity.
You will need:
- Tuff spot
- Artificial grass
- Model dinosaurs
- Model trees
- Green split peas
- Yellow split peas
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Dinosaur Tuff Spot – What M thought
This is a really low-effort tuff spot activity that took me about five minutes to set up. You could use any kind of split peas, lentils or even dry cereals to create the dinosaur habitats. Top tip: I tried using rice, but it was a total nightmare and got caught in the webbing of the artificial grass. I’m still finding bits stuck in there weeks later!
M really enjoyed this sensory tuff spot activity. As you can see from the photos, she certainly got stuck in! She particularly enjoyed running the split peas through her fingers. The activity developed into her finding different things to sprinkle the lentils on to, to see what different sounds they made. Think plastic tubs and metal pans from her play kitchen. M has asked to do this activity again since, so it must be good!
I’ve made a little video to show the tuff spot and how M interacted with it, below.
If you enjoyed this, you can find more Pondering Playtime activities here, and you might like to join my Early Years craft and activity Facebook group; Play Craft, Explore. We’d love to have you! And lastly, don’t forget to Pin it!
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