Dinosaur swamp!


We’ve been loving the hot weather- the boys don’t seem too bothered by it and I’m in my element!  It has also meant that much of our play has been outside and it has been messy!

Last week, several of Toby’s friends came over to play and there were a few different things set up for them to play with:  we had dry, coloured rice (green) making up a farm-themed small world play with animals and tractors; a tent on the climbing frame for shade from the sun; the sandpit with various different containers and vehicles; and in the tuff spot?

A dinosaur swamp!


This is a picture from today, the swamp’s second outing, as I couldn’t get a pic of the first one before little hands got busy!

The dry land was made of a mix of oats, lentils and some stray green rice and the swamp was made with Gelli Baff.  If you’ve never come across this stuff before, you have to give it a try…if only once!  I saw several bloggers had used it for play on the ‘Messy Play for Matilda Mae’ linky hosted by Edspire and thought we’d try it.  I knew that Toby would not countenance the idea of his entire bath turning into jelly whilst he stood in it but I thought he might get stuck in from outside.  Not so the first time we used it, but with the dinosaur swamp, I made it thicker and added a secret ingredient….a bucket of soapy water next to the tuff spot!

IMG_2790This did the trick as all the children, whether mess-averse or not, enjoyed pushing the dinosaurs through the gloop and then dunking them in the bucket of water for a wash. Toby is wearing the beige hat…

IMG_2787 IMG_2789It occupied them for ages! And, as you can see, they were exploring different textures and mark-making.

Today, I recreated the scene to see what Toby would do the second time. From a bit of a reticent start:

IMG_2805we discovered that the dinos made footprints in the thick gloop before they all ended in the bucket!  Toby then played with his pirate ship for a bit before returning to the tuff spot for some genuinely child-led play.


He had added water to the swamp using one of his cups and then had redistributed piles of the stuff telling me that they were different lands.


The use of a cup distanced him from actually touching the stuff, but still allowed him to manipulate it

He then fished out a Mummy and Daddy dinosaur (his words, not mine!)


and asked for a baby dinosaur:

IMG_2817they then were given their dinner whilst we went in for ours!

IMG_2818After dinner, he went back to it and decided to get himself another tool from the sandpit to move the gloop from the tray into the bucket

IMG_2819 IMG_2820So although he didn’t actually put his hands into it, I’d say that was messy play! There was certainly quite a bit of tidying up…








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