If your kids love the Disney•Pixar move The Good Dinosaur, they’ll love this fun dinosaur garden craft and activity.
The free printable 3D dinosaurs are the perfect prehistoric creatures to roam your dinosaur garden which can be used over and over for lots of different imaginative play.
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Have you seen Disney•Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur?
We watched it the other night and we loved it!
Such beautiful animation, and lots of funny moments as well as some sad, thoughtful parts. It was perfect for a family movie night.
After the movie the kids and I chatted about what life would be like if dinosaurs never became extinct. Would we be dinosaurs sitting on the couch watching a movie about people? Or would dinosaurs have evolved alongside humans, so your best friend might be a T-rex!
The idea really stuck with my five year old, and he couldn’t stop talking about it, so we decided to make our own ‘Dino World’ to play with.
If your kids love dinosaurs and want to learn more, check out this free dinosaur lapbook for a fun, hands on way to learn about the life cycle of a dinosaur.
Supplies to Make a Dinosaur Garden.
Here’s what we used to make our dinosaur garden:
- A large shallow container
- Dirt/potting mix
- Aluminum foil
- Small plans – ferns, grass, succulents etc.
- Small sticks or other natural materials
- A small digging implement such as a spoon.
We used a large plastic tray for our dinosaur garden, but you could use any large, shallow, container. It just needs to hold enough soil for the plants to grow.
We bought a variety of small plants from the nursery – tiny pots of mondo grass, some tiny ferns, a succulent (because succulents are cool!), and we used some lawn seed we’d planted for another project. Make sure your plants are small enough to be planted in the shallow tray of soil.
We found a few stones and other natural materials around the house and we also bought a bag of little pebbles from our local dollar store.
How to Make a DIY Dinosaur Garden.
Making the dinosaur garden is messy. It would be best to do it outside if you can, but it was too wet and windy here, so we covered our table with paper and I just ignored the dirt on the floor till later!
Start by filling your container with dirt, don’t fill it too full as you don’t want it to spill over the sides when you play.
We decided we needed to have a river, just like in the movie, so we dug out a path across the centre and used a folded piece of foil to form the river.
Once you’ve got the river where you want it, gently take it out and set it aside while you plant the plants otherwise it will fill up with dirt.
Next decide where you want your plants to go, and plant them!
Add the foil back in and arrange rocks, pebbles, and other natural materials along the edge of the ‘river’ to keep it in place.
Now you can add the water, and you are ready to play!
How to Make 3D Printable Paper Dinosaurs for your Dinosaur Garden.
We made an Apatosaurus, a Triceratops, and a T-rex inspired by the characters in the movie to live in our dinosaur garden!
To make the 3d dinosaurs you’ll need:
- Printable template (download below)
- cardstock or printer paper
- glue or double sided tape
- laminator (optional but recommended)
To make the 3D paper dinosaurs all you need to do is print the templates onto cardstock and cut out all the pieces of each dinosaur. I suggest that you laminate the individual body and leg pieces to make them a bit sturdier and long lasting in the damp garden.
To build each dinosaur, fold the body piece where it joins and glue or tape them together. Then cut along the marked lines on both the body and the legs to make slits, then just slot all the pieces together.
These printables are A4 sized pdf files, you will need a pdf reader such as adobe acrobat to open them. If you are printing on US ‘letter sized’ paper be sure to select ‘fit’ or ‘shrink to fit’ from your printer options.
Disney•Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur is such a fun movie to watch and it’s so fun to think about what would happen if dinosaurs never became extinct!
What do you think would happen if dinosaurs never became extinct?
More Imaginative Play Ideas
If your kids love imaginative play like this fun dinosaur garden, then you definitely need these simple tips for getting started with imaginative play at home.
And you might also like one of these easy small world play set ups: