Extend the Play: Dino Dig Sensory Play

Is your little paleontologist in love with KneeBouncers’ Dinosaur Shape Match Game? Then try this DIY Dinosaur Dig tabletop game for interactive sensory play. It’s a clever mash-up of hands-on activity and color identification that extends the play and learning! Summer weather is the perfect time to take sensory play outdoors. There’s less mess to clean up, and you don’t have to worry about sand all over your floor!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A box or large plastic tub.
  • Paint brushes of various sizes
  • Tiny plastic dinos in various colors
  • Large craft sticks or a plastic spoon

Step 1:

Fill the box halfway with sand, leaving ample room for digging.


Step 2:

Bury the dinos in the sand so your little one can excavate them!

dino dig step 2

Step 3:

Have your child use a craft stick, the paintbrush, or even their hands to dig for dinosaurs. Sensory play engages multiple senses, building a network of neural pathways!

finding dinos

Extend the Play

  • Have your child search for a specific color or type of dinosaur
  • Add plastic bones
  • Add funnels, cups, or other digging tools
  • Take it outside to the sandbox or in a kiddie pool for a more extensive excavation area.

Additional Sensory Play Ideas

If your toddler loves hands-on activities and sensory play and you don’t mind a little mess now and then, allowing them to engage in a variety of sensory play activities is an excellent way to stimulate their brain.

  • Water – Give the dinos a bath!
  • Water Beads – Bury the dinos in water beads instead of sand for a different sensory experience. Or you can pretend water beads are dino eggs!
  • Kinetic Sand – Kinetic sand offers a different sensory experience than standard sand; kids can form and shape it without water.
  • Playdoh – Make dinosaur fossils and footprints!

  • Slime – Re-enact the tar bits and exploding volcanoes from the Dino-times!
  • Fun Foam – Fun foam is moldable like Play-Doh but doesn’t try out. It’s a fun way to create and mold.
  • Drawing or Painting – Kids can draw diagrams of dinos or draw or paint dino scenes!

Updated July 31, 2023, by L. Elizabeth Forry

written by

L. Elizabeth Forry 

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Dakota and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and one in Music from Lebanon Valley College. She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding mental health, social-emotional development, gender development. She has written curriculum for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics on early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

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