Nurturing creativity is crucial for the future of our children. Giving our preschoolers fun creativity prompts and invitations to create help them develop, not only creativity, but also critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Preschoolers learn best through play and when following their own interests, which is why I often find myself surrounded by dinosaurs. My kids {2-12} all love dinos, and since we’ve already used their creativity by staging cornmeal “digs,” dinosaur play sets, and have made dinosaur fossils, I needed something new to spark their creativity.

Inspiring Creativity with Dinosaur playdough

The Dinosaur Island Creativity Prompt was born.

I picked up three 4-packs of cheap play dough instead of making my own, and so the colors weren’t perfect. I knew we wouldn’t be reusing this dough because it would get wet and mashed around, so I didn’t want to bother with expensive or homemade. Feel free to use whatever you have handy. I’m sure you could make some beautiful, natural island-like colors with homemade dough.

I set out an art tray for the base, fashioned a little bowl out of foil to serve as a watering hole for the dinosaurs, and set out plastic toy dinos, trees, and plants.

Creativity with Dino Island

I challenged the girls to create their own interpretation of “dino island” and they went right to work. They smashed blue and yellow dough onto the tray to make the sand and the sea, while covering the outside of their foil lake with dough. My older daughter made a volcano by covering a play dough container with orange dough (there wasn’t any brown) complete with red lava flowing down the sides. The girls plan to erupt baking soda and vinegar from their volcano eventually.

Once the play dough island was all set up, the girls added their trees and shrubs, and introduced the dinosaurs to their new habitat. They played for hours, and my older son even joined in. In fact, one afternoon of creativity has led to at least an hour of focused, quiet, sensory play for my preschoolers every day for the last two weeks.

Dino Island Creativity Prompt

I’m not sure why I’m always so surprised by this, but it really is the simple open-ended activities that lead to the most enjoyment for kids. Do you have dinosaur lovers? Grab some dough and encourage them to create their own habitat for play dinosaurs.

Want more simple and fun creativity prompts for your kids to try? Check out Raising Creative Kids: A Collection of Simple Creativity Prompts for Children, an eBook filled with over 70 pages of ideas to spark your kids’ creativity using things you can find around your house.

Colleen is a former teacher of gifted children who prayed for nice, average kids. Since God has a sense of humor, she now stays at home to nurture creativity in her highly gifted children, trying desperately to stay one step ahead of them while writing about their adventures {and messes} at Raising Lifelong Learners. You can find her avoiding housework by playing around on Pinterest and chatting on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.