Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eyesaurus Land - foldable playmat

Our museum currently has a visiting exhibit of robotic dinosaurs. Rainbow has wanted to go since she saw the adverts outside the museum. They were really exciting. Some roared, others stomped or swung their tail. Rainbow's favourite were the triceratops eggs - that were shaking. You could sometimes see a little baby poking out. She stood there for a long time waiting for them to hatch. She also enjoyed roaring (along with a dozen other kids) back at the t-rex. Moonshine was a little concerned about the whole thing. She looked on with wide open eyes and clung to me. On returning we've 'read' (looked at pictures and talked a lot) about dinosaurs and created this dinosaur world.
It's created on a poster size sheet of card that folds to form a box which holds all of the pieces. On typing this I've realised I need to add a photo showing the whole playmat and perhaps a drawing showing the measurements. I'll try to add that later.

The dinosaurs were made from Rainbow's artworks using the templates from "Playing by the Book". You may recognise the apatasaurus from a larger one we made into a birthday card.

It was amazing watching Rainbow apply her growing knowledge of the animal world. First we made the apatasaurus. Then they needed something to eat so we made the palm trees. Then we made the stegosauruses and Rainbow decided that we needed 'smaller trees' as they couldn't reach the palm trees.Then we needed something for the dinosaurs to drink and on and on we went.

You're very lucky to meet the t-rex. I had to go searching for him to take his photos. He's not allowed on the playmat because he scares the other animals. It's a very civilised world - lots of introducing themselves and inviting others to share their tree.
How to make a mini-palm tree:
The leaves are great for little ones who like to snip though Rainbow got fatigued after one tree.

The old drink lid gives the tree a flat base so that you can glue (PVA) it onto the playmat.
A dress making pin holds the foliage on.
How to make a spiky bush:

Fold paper into quarters.
Cut into points as if you were making a paper snowflake.

Unfold and cut int from one edge to the middle.

Roll into a cone shape and tape. Then glue onto playmat. I used a pencil in the middle to push it down.

How to make a cave:

Then papier mache with brown paper.


  1. What a wonderful mommy you are! I do suspect you are like me though and enjoy playing as much (if not more) than the children sometimes!

  2. Wow! This looks like so much fun. My son loves dinosaurs so I might give it a try, although he also loves instant results.

  3. True Catherine, this took us about 2 weeks. We maintained interest by doing it in a sequence which meant we could play with it as we added to it.

  4. It really makes me so happy to see this. To see an idea take wings and spread around different families, all of us playing and learning. Your trees are great - we'll definitely be adding them to our landscapes. And I love that you reused some of the kids' artwork to create the dinos.