Make a dinosaur helmet

Mar 17, 2012

In today's activity we turn an old cardboard box into a fun prop for imaginative play.

Dinosaurs have always been a favourite with my daughter and from the moment she popped this box on her head (well before we painted it) she was already in dinosaur mode.

We used this activity to develop areas such as creativity, imagination, fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, problem solving and colour mixing. You can take it where ever you like!

 Start with a cardboard box cut in a helmet style shape to fit on your child's head. We used a box from the supermarket that they use to display some foods so it was already this shape.

 Choose a base colour for your dinosaur and get painting. Maddie wanted green.

 Manipulating the 3-dimensional shape to paint all the sides required concentration and coordination. Whoops, watch the thumb :)

 While the box was drying it was time to make some spikes. I pre-cut the spikes out of cardboard and let Madeline choose the colours she wanted the spikes to be. I then labelled them with the name and colour to encourage literacy development.

 I then put out the paints we would need but only in Primary Colours (and white) in order to involve some colour mixing and problem solving. Which colours needed to be mixed in order to get the chosen colours for the spikes?

 We decided the easiest way to do it was to paint with the Primary Colours first. The ones that didn't need to be mixed.

 While painting the other side of the cardboard (which had some printing on it) she discovered that you could still see the printing through the paint. It was then we decided that some may need a 2nd coat.

 So that we didn't have to wait for 1 side to dry before painting the other side, we propped the spikes up like this so one side wouldn't stick to the paper. The splits in the bottom are needed for attaching the spikes to the box later.

 Now it was time for colour mixing! Red and white for the pink

 Deciding her purple needed a bit more red

 Here we discussed using the lighter colour as the base and adding in little bits of the darker colour at a time to get the desired colour.

 Once the spikes dried I cut a slit the same width as the spike in the cardboard box

 You then push the spike through and split the 2 tabs and tape to the underside of the box

 They will then look like this

   The finished dinosaur helmet. Ready for a roaring good time!

Some tips:

- To simplify this activity, leave out the colour mixing or problem solving part and just provide Primary coloured paints for the spikes. Focus on the fine motor skills and then the imaginative play.

- To extend this activity, let your child help with the cutting out or tracing of the triangles for the spikes. You could also test their reading and recognition by writing the colours for each spike in black and working out which colour to paint each spike together. eg "Which spike will you be painting orange? What sound can you hear at the start of the word, "orange?" Which letter makes the "o" sound? Can you see a spike with that letter at the start of a word?" etc

- Make your child aware of the problem solving they are doing. "You wanted to make an orange spike but we don't have any orange paint. How will we get orange?" "This orange looks quite reddish, which colour should we add more of to get the orange shade you're after? etc

- Use this time to talk about dinosaurs, when and how they lived, how they behaved etc depending on your child's interests.

Debs :)