I saw this on the wonderful Imagination Tree. Yes, I thought to myself. We had a small raised bed on the patio that required some attention. Sorting this out could lead to some serious garden fun for the kids, aka mummy sits down unaccosted for a bit. And all it would take was a bit of gardening. Win!
It appealed to me, gathering dinosaury bits and bobs. A recent bit of cutting back had produced a decent looking pile of sticks and we had a bag of shells brought back from Cornwall by my parents that would be fun to play with. I had a rummage in the cupboard and liberated his big dinosaurs that I picked up for a quid at a nearly new sale and set Jet to task collecting pebbles from the garden. I squashed any qualms about workers’ rights and tax obligations and popped onto Amazon for a browse where I found some plastic bones, bright blue aquarium gravel, log slices, glass nuggets, bark chips, and a pack of small dinosaur figures. Imagine the possibilities! I did.
Whilst we waited for the orders to arrive, Chris removed the old tree stump that had finally had the decency to go rotten enough to be pulled up, and sorted out the bed with a new egding. I filled it up with compost, then Jet and I went to a local garden centre where we bought some what we considered Jurassic looking plants –
Armeria Maritima Alba
and a couple of other bits that didn’t have a label. We arranged them in the bed, then planted them and watered them in with the hose – Jet’s current favourite garden toy. I wanted to let the plants bed in a bit before setting up the rest of the garden, so it was the next day before we added the rest of the landscape.
We had a lot of fun creating the landscape, making a river with the blue gravel, marking out areas with the pebbles, building a shelter with the sticks and putting in the bark chippings. Jet populated the garden with a few of his figures, and decided the glass pebbles were eggs and laid them in a couple of nests, which he decided belonged to Brian the dinosaur and Stelladactyl. If you need to ask what type of dinosaur she was, you haven’t spent nearly enough time in the company of a four year old recently!
There were some of his chums he didn’t know the name of, though.
Jet: “What’s this one, darling?”
Me (hoping he wasn’t about to get on Google and check up on me): “Erm… I think it’s Iguanadon.”
Me (stifling a giggle): “No, Iguanadon.”
Jet: “Oh, Iglearnadom.”
Me (less concerned now about the whole Google thing): “Yeah.”
It made me chuckle to listen in to the narrative he created, and I managed to scribble down some highlights:
It becomes clear why extinction was an inevitability
Brandishing two dinos, he waggles them about as they chat. “He’s coming!”
“Hide behind that tree – quick!”
“OK, I’ll try, but I’m not very good at hiding.”
“Uh oh! My tail’s stuck!”
Later, another dinosaur, aided by Jet, attempts to clamber up the fence and gets stuck. Appealing to the others, he asks “Hey guys, could someone help me with my foot?”
Justice is served
To me, “Brian’s naughty. He just tries to get people. But now he’s dead.”
Maths is demonstrated
One of the dinosaurs collected a big pile of glass eggs, with the help of Jet’s opposable thumbs, and was in the mood for showing off his estimation skills. “Look! I’ve got millions! I’ve got about three!”
Stella was also enjoying the dinosaurs, running about saying “Diesaws! Rah!” in her best George Pig impression. She was a bit confused about the soil-covered pebbles though. At one point I found her with her face covered in mud trying to eat one, saying “Chocklit! Eggs!”
A new idea popped into Jet’s mind and he busied himself for five minutes or so, instructing Stella according to his agenda. “Stella! Prepare the sticks! Get the eggs! Put this…somewhere!” Obediently, she met his demands, trotting off to gather things and bring them to him. Together, they created their own subsidiary dinosaur garden on top of the nearby sand and water table by arranging all of the pebbles, bark, glass nuggets and everything else I had carefully laid out.
Finally, it was ready. “Come and play the dinosaur game!” Jet announces, in the manner of a ringmaster or market stall holder. “You have to jump over the octsticles to get the shiny things!” It was a pretty cool game, but I was struggling.
I have to admit what they were doing was troubling me. I wanted them to play with it, but I didn’t want them to touch it or move anything. I had to really fight the urge to say no! The pebbles go here and the bark goes here! Then I thought back to my original aim for this idea: kids have fun, mummy sits down. I decided that what needed to happen was for me to take myself off indoors, put the kettle on and just keep my fingers crossed that Stella didn’t get peckish again. So I did.