We’re continuing with Dinosaur week for Storybook Summer and have a taste safe dinosaur sensory bin for your little ones to play with based on the book If you Happen to have a Dinosaur. Taste safe and edible sensory bins are one of the best ways for young children to work on fine motor skills in play as well as get the different sensory inputs. In the past, we have used taste safe pretend mud to create some dinosaur fossils and used jelly and oats in a taste safe ocean sensory bin.

Create a taste safe sensory bin ideal for using with toddlers and preschoolers to let them stomp, roar and play with the dinosaurs.

We welcome Alana from Parenting from the Heart to Rainy Day Mum to give you the ideas for the Sensory Bin and talk about channeling disappointing visits into something productive with kids.

Disappointment to FUN!

On Friday, I accompanied my two children’s classes on their end-of-the-year field trip. A friend offered to drive me and the baby and we would follow the bus. Our respective kids decided to join us and we were off.

We set out for the hour-and-a-half drive to the dinosaur site. With four kids and a baby in toe. The sun was shining and the kids were excited as none of us had been to this tourist spot before.

About 20 minutes into the drive, the kids got restless. Soon the seating arrangement wasn’t right, staying quiet enough so that the baby could sleep too hard, and the drive was already “way too long.” When we finally arrived, both my friend and I breathed a big sigh of relief. The kids, thrilled to be there and explore, were jumping up and down.

I gathered the group of kids assigned to me and went through the entry gates.

Now, I’m a big kid at heart and love any chance for hands-on learning and/ or learning outside. But what I saw before me was, well, disappointing. We stood before a massive field with a handful of poorly painted, chipped life size dinosaurs and that was it.

I looked at my friend and said, “I’m going to go back in and grab a brochure because I think I’m missing something.” She laughed “Oh no, this is it.”

The kids took a quick a few minutes to examine the dinosaurs and we were done. The information on the plaques was too advanced for five and six-year-olds so we did our best to make it kid-friendly. About fifteen minutes in, the dinos had lost their charm.

Fortunately, the park was filled with different caterpillars, cocoons, and butterflies. So we switch from our brief stint as paleontologists to entomologists and all was well.

Discover, enjoy, play and learn with this BIG list of dinosaur crafts and activities for toddlers and preschoolers that can't be missed.

Find Even More Inspiration for Dinosaur Activities Ideal for doing with Toddlers and Preschoolers HERE!

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Once home, I felt like we had missed out on really exploring and understanding dinosaurs in the way I anticipated. I wanted to teach the kids more by setting up fun dinosaur activities. So I grabbed some of our dinosaur books including the book, If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur.

It’s perfect for my kids’ ages because it uses humour and intrigue while depicting actual dinosaurs. Just the opening alone had my kids laughing. “If you happen to have a dinosaur lying around your living room and you don’t know what to do with it… maybe you could use it as a can opener.”

On that page, it shows a cartoon image of a triceratops opening a can of tomatoes.

They loved it.

dinosaur colouring pages with toddler and preschool book recommendation

When we had finished reading, I printed off my dinosaur activities package and the kids coloured triceratopses, T-rexes and more.

Wanting to revisit the book that made them laugh so much, we made a sensory bin inspired by If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur!

Check out more of our favourite Dinosaur Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers to look for at the library or add to your bookshelf.

Taste Safe Dinosaur Sensory Bin

make taste safe dinosaur sensory tub based on the book If you happen to have a dinosaur

The book suggests another great use for dinosaurs is to use them as a coffee grinder, nut cracker, or potato masher.

Inspired by this, we collected some very tired looking potatoes I forgot in garage, some food colouring and my kids’ plastic dinosaur figurines. Here is how to recreate the fun at home yourselves.

Why not check out some of our Book Themed Sensory Bins to encourage your toddler and preschooler with reading as well!

What you need for your Prehistoric Sensory Bin

  • 4-5 large potatoes
  • Potato peeler – we love this Kids Safe Potato Peeler which is ceramic rather than metal
  • Knife – Kids Safe Nylon Knives is what we would recommend if you would like your children to help with preparing the sensory bin
  • Bowls/ containers
  • Spoon
  • Food colouring
  • Bin – we recommend a storage box for using with sensory bins you can add a lid and store it to come out again at a later date.
  • Dinosaur figurines
  • Kitchen utensils (optional)
Printable Dinosaur Games and Activities Now Available in the Rainy Day Mum Store

How to Set up your Dinosaur Sensory Tub

  1. Peel potatoes
  2. Roughly cut into cubes
  3. Boil potatoes on stove
  4. Choose number of food colouring colours you’d like to use
  5. Separate boiled potatoes into the number of colours selected
    Colouring your potatoes to make a taste safe sensory bin filler
  6. Drop food colouring on potatoes and mix
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until desired colour is achieved
    setting up a dinosaur sensory bin for toddlers that put everything in their mouth
  8. Let potatoes cool completely – food colouring also sets during this time
  9. Place in sensory bin with plastic dinos
    sensory bin on the dinosaur theme
  10. Add kitchen utensils for extra mashing fun.
stomping and playing with the dinosaur sensory bin

Though the food colouring should set into the potatoes and not dye hands, if it does, use this technique.

Alternative Sensory Bin Fillers for your Dinosaur Fun!

simple to set up dinosaur sensory tub for taste safe play for toddlers

If you would prefer to skip the potatoes, other alternatives to this sensory bin based on the story If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur include:

  • Using dried lentils as the coffee beans – they won’t smash but they are fun to play with.
  • Stale cereal as something to crush with the dinosaur toys.
  • Collect grass trimmings and leaves along with dinosaur figurines to recreate the screen about the dinosaurs mowing your lawn.
  • Or, add topsoil to a bin and let kids dig with dinosaurs.

Days later, we are still enjoying finding more ways to explore and learn about dinosaurs. We hope you enjoy this too.

More Sensory Dinosaur Fun for Kids

dinosaur sensory play in the water table
Bringing alive Three Little Dinosaurs Egg Rescue with Kids - egg hunting and rescuing
Dinosaur small world play connect and play with the children's storybook Dinosaur Dig! using Kinetic Sand
Dig for dinosaurs whilst reading The Berenstain Bears' Dinosaur Dig a simple and easy to set up play for young kids
 

Dinosaur Play with Water and Mud in the Water Table

Dinosaur Sensory Tub

Kinetic Sand Dinosaur Play

Digging up Dinosaurs Sensory Tub

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Taste Safe Dinosaur Themed Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Early Preschoolers

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Dinosaur Themed Sensory Bin for Taste Safe Play with Toddlers
Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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