Mar 25, 2014

Dinosaur Small World with Kinetic Sand

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For the past week or so we have been buried deep in our Dinosaur theme! Kingston is dinosaur obsessed, so we are having a blast. I feel like we have been living, eating, and breathing dinosaur fun. We have so many dinosaur books, toys, puzzles, and art items that K has been super busy exploring everything. One of the first activities we did to kick off our week was this dinosaur small world. The best part? Kinetic Sand!! 

For those of you who don't know what Kinetic Sand is, it is an amazing sensory material made out of 98% sand and 2% polymer. We have two containers of the one in the links above (thanks to Kingston's incredibly generous Aunta!) and they are awesome. It is virtually mess free, cleans up like a dream, is soft and stretchy, never dries out, and almost seems alive. When you mold it, it retains it's shape, but if you give it a little shake it moves through your fingers and turns back into sand. It almost seems to have liquid properties, but can also be a solid. It is so cool! It is definitely not intended for children who are mouthing. In fact, because of the issue of a possible mouthing toddler, it even states "5+". Honestly, if your toddler doesn't mouth things, then it is perfectly fine for them to play with it. My son LOVED it, and would never put it in his mouth, so it was such a fun medium for him to explore. For parents who are mess-adverse, this is magic. To clean up, I simply molded it and scooped it back into the tub with my hands. It's magical. You should probably go get some right now, for your child's Easter basket maybe?! Kinetic Sand rocks!

To set up Kingston's small world, I used the sand, river rocks, some little plastic trees that came with some dollar store dinosaurs, a group of dinosaurs from the Target Dollar Spot, and a piece of light blue felt to simulate water. I didn't want to risk mixing water with our fancy sand, so the felt worked great! 

When K saw his dinosaur setup, he was so excited! He rushed over shrieking, "DINOSAUR!!!! RAWRRRR!" and plopped himself down to dig in. He took out each dinosaur and examined them before putting the to the side. Then he worked on getting each of the rocks out. 

He was just as excited over the "rahks" as he was over the dinosaurs. He apparently thought my set up was not conducive to his dinosaurs, and he went to work moving the river rocks to the blue felt water to dam it up. He was adamant that the rocks stay there until the dinosaurs were ready to drink. I love that he is getting to the age where he can engage in his own pretend play! 

He couldn't resist examining the sand a bit, though at first he was much more intrigued by the landscape items. This sand packs down so well that it was the perfect medium to compare different dinosaur footprints. We took turns making dinosaur prints in the sand and examining them. 

Then we talked about the colors and parts of each dinosaur! Kingston was especially fond of the pointy head bone of the Parasaurolophus. (Even Mama is learning about dinosaurs now!)

When he had tired of dinosaur pretend play, we spent some time molding and playing with the sand. Kingston really liked the texture and squishing it in my hands. He used the tails of the dinosaurs to dig. He also covered the dinos in sand and then dug them out. It was a great, new sensory experience. 

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