Provoking creativity

A dinosaur park made from Lego

It’s been all about dinosaurs for our son Harry lately. Daily screen time has been dominated by playing LEGO Jurassic World on PS4 and before school creating small world paleontological dig scenes. Every walk we go on turns into a fossil hunt, we’ve read almost the entire series of Dinosaur Cove books and imagined the size and scale of all kinds of dinosaur from Brontosaurus to T-Rex in comparison to buildings, buses and football pitches.

So when Grandad and Granny Anna arrived this half term and produced a Hatch’Em Magic Growing Pet dinosaur from their suitcase Harry’s face lit up with delight. We submerged the egg about the size of a goose egg in a bowl of luke warm water then managed to persuade Harry to get ready for bed while fielding question after question about whether the egg was real, how long it would take to hatch and what would be inside. We woke the following morning to shouts of, ‘There’s a crack!’

Over the next couple of days more cracks appeared and the shell began to split. Harry continued to check on it every couple of hours and talked animatedly about the prospect of having a dinosaur in the house. ‘We’ll need somewhere to keep him’, said Grandad and this triggered a project that would last the rest of the week.

Out came the drawers of the apothocary table. (I can’t tell you how pleased I was to find this in a second hand shop. Finally I could get the LEGO in order - and yes I hold my hands up to organising it into colour coded compartments.) ‘We need an enclosure for the dinosaur. It’s a Brachiosaurus, I can tell.’

Harry set to work building his enclosure. ‘We are going to build a visitor’s centre’, he explained as he started to build a carpark. Up sprang a cafe and picnic area with benches and trees, signs and a zebra crossing for the safe passage of visitors. ‘What’s that?’ I asked, pointing to a random brown piece I know has been taken from a Ninjago kit. ‘Oh, that’s a bridge. A Diplodocus smashed a bit of the pavement, so I had to put a bridge across it.

It turned out we didn’t need to worry about the Brachiosaurus expanding to the size of the house in the end. It was woefully small. After five days in the water we decided it probably wasn’t going to grow any more and it was time to take it out. But this was moving day and far from dampening Harry’s spirits, the prospect gave him cause for much excitement.

The Brachiosaurus was moved in and security measures put into place. Harry constructed an electric fence and installed three spring-loaded bricks with green missiles aimed at the enclosure. ‘These missiles are to shoot the dinosaur if it escapes’, he explained. ‘They’re not to kill the dinosaur though, they’re to put it to sleep. They have cameras on them to watch in case it gets out. I’m going to make crane for lifting the dinosaur back in.’

For the rest of the week Harry continued to add to his model, including two ‘helping droids’ to feed and clean out the dinosaur enclosure, a mountain for visitors to walk over and an entry ticket office. The park has had a very busy opening weekend with large visitor numbers, many travelling in from as far away as Tattooine and the Galactic Republic.