In order to do this I made this one in my home instead of my work environment, setting myself a challenge to only use everyday things I could find to make the play as sensory as possible!
So here is what I came up with and I am going to show you what I used along the way.......
Considering my children are teenagers now, I think it's pretty good, proving that you don't have to go out and spend lots of money on play items. I have kept hold of the dinosaurs and the back mountain prop from when my boys were little as you never know....I may one day have some lovely grandchildren and be able to recreate this for them?
So I started off looking for a tray I could put everything in......you don't have to include all the items in the picture above. You can make it work on a smaller tray that you might have in the kitchen. I decided to use the shoe tray I had by my back door. When I originally purchased this for the shoes, I knew it would come in handy for a whole range of activities and only cost me a couple of pounds from a store such as 'Pound-stretcher' or 'B & M bargains'.
Next I looked through my material stash where I keep off cuts of anything I think will be valuable to use for playing with. I found some shiny orange material which I thought looked a little bit like lava from a volcano, (perfect for dinosaur play). I also found some green plain material for grass, which I laid down on the tray first for the overall effect and some sparkly blue material for water ( which you can see in the pictures). Always think twice before throwing clothes out. If they cannot be recycled for whatever reason, then think about the fabric and how it can be reused.
I went into the garden to find some leaves, which as we have just entered into Autumn have already started to fall. I then placed them by the orange material so it looked a little like they were burnt, being too close to the lava (brown leaves).
I also cut off a small branch from the apple tree in the garden to make a mini tree for the tray (Seen in the first picture). I am not recommending that we encourage children to break off branches, however there are many natural items we can use at this time of year including acorns and pine cones. My apple tree is soon to be pruned and so the branches will end up being made into wood pulp anyway.
For a lake for the dinosaurs to visit, I used the blue sparkly material I mentioned earlier. To this I added blue feathers and a selection of blue buttons in various sizes and textures. I am somewhat of a button hoard...I just love them. There is so much you can use them for. The feathers are left over from when my boys were younger and we used to use the craft cupboard a lot. I definitely think that the dinosaur below is smiling because he is now nice and cool!
I also added some real water using the lid of a cooking pot. I would have used some blue food colouring to add to the effect, but as I didn't have any and the challenge was only using things from around the home...natural coloured water was perfect.
For the stepping stones I used some of my cotton wool pads from the bathroom. This also adds to the sensory side of the tray.
To add a sparkly effect for another grass area, I found a bag of sequins in various shades of green as well as various sizes. I poured these into a shallow saucer to not only contain them but also to make another sensory area to add to the play.
The last thing I added was a gloop pool. There had to be somewhere where some of the dinosaurs might get stuck. I poured corn flour (used to thicken gravy) into a container and added water slowly to achieve the right consistency. This then became the gloop. Fabulous stuff. Hard to pick up and then runs off your fingers. This little dinosaur loved it even though he did get stuck!
Why not set yourself the challenge and see what you can come up with using items only from around your home.