Monday, March 12, 2012

Mom Project: Felt Volcano and Dinosaur Bean Bag Game

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If you have a volcano or dinosaur lover at your house, this project is for you!

When my co-blogger EJ flew into the Bay area a few weekends ago, we started brainstorming all of the projects we wanted to create. She showed me this adorable volcano game mat from Green Planet Parties and I knew we needed to make one right away! The jumbo volcano mat created by Suzanne was a genius idea to make kid's birthday parties greener and serve as a game to play all year long.

I don't really have specific measurements for you, cause we just kind of winged it... but I'll try to share a few bits of info.

I love that this game can be used again and again and again and is so durable!

Materials Needed (for the volcano):
  • felt (orange and brown) The amount of felt you'll get will depend on how big you want your volcano. 
  • scissors 
  • pins
  • thread
  • sewing machine! You could easily just use a hot glue gun and make this a no-sew project if you'd prefer. 

Materials Needed (for the dinosaur bean bags):

  • some fabric scraps  
  • rice or beans to stuff the beanbags  
  • thread 
  • dinosaur template (I will add the pdf of mine when I find it)
  • scissors 

 Directions (for volcano)- made by EJ:
  1. Cut out your brown felt to the size you want your volcano to be.
  2. Lay out orange felt to decide how you want the lava to look.
  3. Cut pieces of orange felt and then pin them to the brown felt.
  4. Use the sewing machine to sew around the edges of the brown felt and along the edges of the orange felt to secure each pieces into place.
Can you feel his excitement?

EJ had him be in charge of putting the pins back in after we used them. 
He did an awesome job.

Here I am modeling my volcano dress so that you can see the actual size :)

Directions (for dinosaur bean bags)- made by me:

  1. Print and cut out your dinosaur template.
  2. Lay the template on top of a scrap piece of fabric (Make sure fabric is folded in half, design side outward).
  3. Cut around the template to make a front and back side of the dinosaur.
  4. Sew around the edge of the dinosaur leaving about a 3/4 inch edge and a small opening for you to use when you fill the bean bag with rice. (I didn't turn the dinosaurs inside out when I sewed them because I wanted kind of a rough edge look to them)
  5. Fill the dinosaurs with beans/rice and then sew the opening closed.
  6. Start over again! I made 4 beanbags. This was a great activity to help me practice sewing (since I am just learning).

* Some of my dinosaur bean bags look weirder than others because I kept tweaking my pattern until I liked it. The blue dinosaur in the middle is my favorite.

How to Play the Volcano Game:
Use your creativity. I'm sure there are tons of games that you can make up to use with this volcano mat. Here are a few ideas...

- Don't touch the lava!- We tried to throw the dinosaurs onto the mat so that they didn't hit the lava. This was tricky for the preschooler and worked on hand-eye coordinate and aim.

- Lava Letters- Cut out some extra alphabet letters from your orange felt remnants. Put them all over the volcano and have your child try to throw the bean bags to land on letters. With older kids you could have them throw the beanbags on the letters to try and spell different words. You could do the same thing with numbers.

- Throw the Dinosaur on the Volcano- Kind of like "pin the tail on the donkey," but volcano style. Blind fold kids or just have them stand further away from the mat and then have them try to make the dinosaurs land on the volcano.

- Pretend play with dinosaurs- Just let your child play with the dinosaurs and explore the volcano together making up your own dinosaur/volcano pretend play activity.

What else would you do with this volcano mat?

Do you have any kids at your house that love volcanoes?

What are some of your other favorite volcano/dinosaur themed activities?


  1. What a great idea! I'm a beginner sewer too and I love coming across little sewing projects. I have an in-home daycare and I know it'll be a hit with all of the kids. Thanks again!

  2. Can you say amazing? My son just started having an interest in volcanoes, so I've been looking for some crafts and activities for us. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. This is so cute!! I love active games like this!!!

  4. This is so cute! My son would have LOVED this when he was in his dinosaur phase! Great idea!

  5. This is super cute!! I look forward to seeing you at My Dream Canvas!

  6. What a fantastic idea.. Totally loved it.. Thanks for linking into Made with Love.. looking forward to seeing you at Colours Dekor..

  7. Hi there,
    I'm the owner of and the mom that designed this game. Thank you for being inspired by my vision of a truly eco party game. Could you please let your readers know the story behind the product and link to the game so that readers know where to find it? The link to use is:

    Many thanks,
    Green Planet Parties

  8. Thank you so much for your note Suzanne! I had a link in my post but had not been able to get it to link to just the one item. Previously your site just linked to a whole page of products. This link you shared is much better. I will definitely share this link with my readers. I'm not sure what the story behind the product is, other than it being a green eco friendly birthday party idea, but will pass along what I can. Feel free to email me more details at toddlerapproved at gmail dot com.

  9. Christina!!!! So I'm a little late to the comment party, but I found your website through a list of homemade gifts you can make for little boys! You're amazing & your website is amazing! :) I hope you're doing well! Love you! - Erin Quinn :)

    1. Erin!! Was just thinking of you the other day. Hope you and your little ones are doing well! We need a BYU LAX reunion sometime soon so we can catch up.

  10. This is awesome Kristina! Nico is a huge dino fan, thinking of making it :) Did you ever find that dino temple?

    1. Valerie- thank you!! I enlarged this template to the size of beanbags I wanted and I think those were my favorite ones.

  11. What a great idea. Did you ever happen to find your pattern? I tried to look some up but don't like mamy of them.


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