Dinosaur Small World with Homemade Volcanoes | Still Playing School

Dinosaur Small World with Homemade Volcanoes

We made the perfect volcanoes for dinosaur small world play using a few household items! The volcanoes turned out better than I envisioned and my daughter said this was her favorite project that we've ever made together so it was a hit with both of us!

We're joining up with Project: Recycle & Create again this month to show you how we use materials we might otherwise throw away or recycle in our preschool projects. We created a cardboard box Polar Bear Dioram in January and a styrofoam Ribbon Sensory Board in February. We skipped March when I couldn't come up with an idea for our cardboard tubes but then E wanted palm trees for her dinosaur small world so we used those in this month's project, too!

This month's material for Project: Recycle & Create is egg cartons. E took one look at our empty carton and immediately told me that she wanted to make volcanoes. She has fear/fascination with "hot yava". Play can be a wonderful way for children to learn more about the world including those things that scare them!

Recipes abound on crafty kid blogs and Pinterest for homemade puffy paint.  We had never tried it before so I used Housing a Forest's recipe for microwave puffy paint and Fun at Home with Kids breaks down many puffy paint recipes in a fun and scientific way if you are looking for alternatives!

We mixed up the puffy paint in orange and red. E drizzled it over our egg carton volcanoes with our squeeze bottles. Once we popped the paper volcanoes in the microwave for 30 seconds the lava grew into a more solid and puffy form.  

E asked to create a whole world for her dinosaurs. I supplied her with cardboard tubes and paper which became palm trees. We also set out real stones, markers, crayons, other paper, and scissors for her to create her dinosaur land.

We had fun both playing with the dinosaurs in their small world and taking pictures of the scenes. E got her own digital camera out to document her creation, too!

I love the fact that this whole project was her idea and creation from what we should make with our egg carton to the fact that she wanted to add palm trees!  She's so proud of her creative play!

For more small world ideas, please check out my Small World Play Pinterest board:


  1. I love E's idea to use the egg cartons as volcanoes! With the puffy paint they look like the real thing. What a fun small world to play with!

  2. How adorable! I love how they turned out!
    I've been wanting to try puffy paint for a while... Got to put that on the to-do list for a rainy day this spring!

    So fun!