As you know, I’m a proud daddy & love spending time with my toddler son. My wife & I enjoy coming up with new and creative ideas to entertain him. Right now he’s very much into dinosaurs. Every time he sees a dinosaur toy (or anything) he says “Grrr” and Dine-”O”! It’s just the cutest thing how excited he gets over them. Over the weekend, we put together this cool (pun intended), frozen dinosaur dig & sensory play for the munchkin. I found a similar project from Parenting Chaos where they used balloons to freeze small toy dinosaurs and thought I would try it with leftover Easter eggs. My munchkin also had a T-Rex sand mold lying around in his beach toys, so I wanted to incorporate that as well.
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Here’s what we used:
- Plastic Bin (16 7/8” L x 11 1/2” W x 5 7/8” H) – Wal-Mart
- Smaller Tupperware Bin – Our Kitchen Cupboard 😉
- Small Plastic Dinosaur Toys – Found at Dollar Tree. You can also get Vinyl Mini Dinosaurs (72 count) to help teach sorting & counting or these cute guys here.
- T-Rex Sand Mold – From Dollar Tree but you can also get a cool 3-pack here.
- Rocks (or something else heavy to hold the sand mold down in the bin)
- Plastic Easter Eggs – Originally Purchased at Wal-Mart for Easter.
- Larger Dinosaur Toys – From Dollar Tree but you can get something similar here.
*Please use caution & supervise your children closely when playing with small toys. If they are at the age where they put everything in their mouth, the small toys could be a choking hazard.
Start by placing the T-Rex dinosaur mold upside down in the plastic bin. Place the “skeleton” pieces to position him in his final state. May he rest in peace. Place the rocks or any other heavy objects that you don’t mind getting wet on top of the pieces to hold them in place. This way the pieces don’t move around too much. Gently pour just enough water to slightly cover the pieces because you are going to want to be able to remove the rocks before the final freeze. Put in the freezer and wait. Once the first layer of water has frozen, remove the rocks carefully and cover the area with ice until the bin is about half-full. I’m a half-full kind of guy! Pour ice water to fill the bin and return to the freezer for the final freeze. Be careful to do this quickly & make sure to use ice water so the ice doesn’t start melting.
The dinosaur eggs were much easier to do. Fill a medium Tupperware with water. Open each dinosaur egg under water and place a small plastic dinosaur in the egg. You may need to “tuck-in” a tail or two to get them to fit. Close the egg underwater and continue until all the eggs are filled. The eggs we used had holes in them so we decided to freeze them in the Tupperware full of water so we wound up with a block of frozen dinosaur eggs.
On a very hot Florida afternoon, the wife & I decided to break out the frozen dinosaur ice excavation bins we made for the kiddo. We placed the plastic bins upside-down on the grass and they quickly separated from the ice. My son stood in amazement at this awesome new finding, wondering what the heck it was. I told him that he needed to help get the dinosaurs out of the ice. He repeated “Dino?” with excitement. I brought the hose over to help speed up the melting time. My son loved playing with the hose and spraying the larger dinosaurs off the block of ice. It was a prehistoric slip and slide. We made a game of that for a while. We talked about how the ice is cold and is made of frozen water. My son would say “Brrr” every time we used the word “cold”. We showed him how the water melted the ice and he got into that as well. Then we referred to the bigger dino’s as the mama’s and dada’s and the smaller dinosaurs as the babies. He repeated after us and would call them mama, dada, & Baby accordingly. We continued to “hatch” the babies from the eggs while explaining how eggs hatch in nature. Of course, our 20-month-old didn’t exactly grasp everything we were talking about, but he sure had a fun time repeating after us and going through the motions of dino retrieval.
We had so much fun watching and playing with our munchkin during this activity. I highly recommend it for toddlers. You could get creative with it and freeze other types of toys or add food coloring to the water. If your kids are older, you could make a competition out of who can melt the ice faster. The possibilities are endless!
If your kids are 8 or older & maybe want something a little bit more challenging, have fun with the Smithsonian Diggin’ Up Dinosaurs T-Rex where you can dig up and assemble the T-Rex bones.
Have you tried something like this with your kids? What was the outcome? Please share in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!