Dinosaur Imaginative Play – Fun with painted rocks

Guest Post by Ness from One Perfect Day Blog

Painted rocks dinosaur game

We recently spent an afternoon painting some rocks in fun bright patterns. The rocks have been a big hit with my 4 year old son, R. We’ve used them for all sorts of games including a fun garden treasure hunt.  The collection of rocks you see in the photo above reminded me of dinosaur eggs so I decided to create a dinosaur imaginative play scene. We’ve created dinosaur worlds before, but this time I added to the activity by burying our “dinosaur eggs” under some sand and R had to dig to find them.

What you need


Rocks (painted)

Foil or plastic tray

Dinosaur figurines

Decorative stones

Other play items like a fish net, plastic spoon.

Stickts and leaves

Painted rocks dinosaur game 2

I began by filling a tray with sand. I then buried some of our dinosaur eggs under the sand and added glass pebbles, leaves, and of course dinosaurs. I left some of our painted rocks on the surface to add to the scene.

Painted rocks dinosaur game 3

Then it was time for my little archeologist to get to work! I gave R a small aquarium net and a plastic spoon. He scooped and poured the sand, looking for the hidden dinosaur eggs.

painted rocks dinosaur game 4

Jackpot! A dinosaur egg is uncovered.

Painted rocks dinosaur game 5

R loved this activity and added many elements of his own to the imaginative scene including some plastic insects and frogs that we have used in our frog pond small world play scene.  He was creating stories for all the dinosaurs and other animals as he played.

Painted rocks dinosaur game 6

When he had found all the “eggs” he stacked them behind our tree and continued to play and dig around in the sand. I left the tray out and he kept coming back to it all day. I think this one is going to be popular around here for quite a while.

About Ness

Ness is the creator of One Perfect Day, a site full of creative ideas for kids to play and learn, family recipes, and information about positive parenting and connecting with our children. She is also a contributor at KidsActivitiesBlog.com. Ness loves creating fun kids’ activities and has decided that permanently having paint under her fingernails and play dough in her hair is a fashion statement. You can find One Perfect Day on Facebook and Twitter or follow along on Pinterest.


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  • Reply
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    September 25, 2012 at 8:35 am

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  • Reply
    September 25, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Oh now I know a certain few kids in my house who would LOVE this!

    • Reply
      Ness @ One Perfect Day
      September 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      Thanks Kate! This has really been a hit with R. It has so many elements – the treasure hunt for the “eggs”, imagination in creating the small world scene and what child doesn’t love playing with sand?

  • Reply
    September 25, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Oh this is so stinkin cute!!! And just in time – we are doing dinosaurs this week!

    • Reply
      Ness @ One Perfect Day
      September 25, 2012 at 11:27 pm

      Thank you so much Deborah! I can’t wait to see all the fun things you do in your classroom for dinosaur week.

  • Reply
    September 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Those rocks are sure getting a lot of use! 🙂 I love the idea of using the rocks and the dinos and the fish net- so cool.

    • Reply
      Ness @ One Perfect Day
      September 25, 2012 at 11:27 pm

      hahaha! They certainly are! I think I may need to start an entire “painted rocks” category on the blog. lol

  • Reply
    September 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I love those brightly coloured rocks. My girls would love to hunt for them. Great idea.

    • Reply
      Ness @ One Perfect Day
      September 25, 2012 at 11:29 pm

      Thank you Ali! Everyone loves a treasure hunt don’t they? 🙂 The great thing about these rocks is we spent a really lovely afternoon painting them and creating something wonderful and now we’ve found so many ways to play with them.

  • Reply
    Janice - learning4kids
    September 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    This is such an awesome idea!! I can imagine my girls playing with this for hours.

    • Reply
      Ness @ One Perfect Day
      September 27, 2012 at 1:41 am

      Thanks Janice. My son has certainly had hours of fun with this activity and he keeps making up new stories to go along with it. It’s lots of fun to watch.

  • Reply
    September 27, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Such a simple activity but will provide hours of imaginative fun. I really need to paint some rocks. They look so funky!

    • Reply
      Ness @ One Perfect Day
      September 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Painting rocks is so much fun Penny. We’ve made all sorts of different ones and have come up with so many different games for them.

  • Reply
    Kelly Be A Fun Mum
    September 29, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Ness, I adore your painted rocks and how you’ve used them in this creative play scene. Thanks so much for sharing it here on Be A Fun Mum.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    This is just such a lovely activity Ness!! Those stones are so beautiful and would surely encourage any child to want to get creative…thanks for the inspiration as always!!

  • Reply
    October 1, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    How fun! I absolutely love the language development that comes from this type of play. I really must paint some rocks of our own too as those look so pretty!

    • Reply
      Ness @ One Perfect Day
      October 3, 2012 at 12:20 am

      Thanks Debs! The language development really is an exciting aspect of this type of play, isn’t it? I love listening to my son’s stories as he plays with sensory tubs and small world scenes.

  • Reply
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    Mary @over40andamumtoone
    April 16, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    I love this – Monkey will too

  • Reply
    May 2, 2013 at 2:39 am

    R would have been a palentoligist if he was searching for dinosaur bone or eggs. Archeologists study prehistory and ancient periods of history based on the examination of their physical remains like cities.
    Paleontologists study the fossil remains of animal and plant life of past geological periods.
    Sorry my father in law was a paleontologist and would have rolled over in his grave if anyone had refered to him as an archeologist.

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