To set this up, just find a large container with a lid (I used a large square cupcake container), dump in a heap of plastic dinosaurs – some large and some small – fill with water (leaving a bit of room for expansion) and pop on the lid. Then stick it in the freezer for a couple of days.
Some of the dinosaurs floated toward the surface, and the partially iced-in bodies looked really cool. I love how there are layers where smaller dinosaurs were trapped beneath the larger ones.
The kids’ task: free the dinosaurs!
I put the lump of dino ice into a tub, and gave them a jug of water and some spoons.
(If you missed it, you can see how I made this DIY sand, water and sensory play table here.)
They quickly began chipping away at the ice with their spoons…
And tipping water from the jug to melt the ice.
They used their fingers to prise loose any dino limbs and tails that were sticking out…
It was amazing to see how engaged the boys were by this activity. It took almost an hour to free the dinosaurs, and they worked at it with intense focus for that entire time. They absolutely LOVED the challenge!
You can see in this next photo how the ice is starting to melt and erode away after some diligent effort…
Every little success, every small dinosaur freed gave them extra motivation to keep going!
… until at last all the dinosaurs were freed from the ice.
It was great to see the boys use their problem-solving skills to free the dinosaurs. This really grabbed their interest and sparked their imaginations – a brilliant lead-in to a week of dinosaur fun!
Besides, any activity that takes me a short time to set up, but has a pay-off of keeping the kids entertained for a long period of time, is a win for me!
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