Dinosaur Small World Play in a Suitcase

Create a dinosaur small world play scene in a suitcase for playing on the go! Perfect for long journeys, staying with grandparents, keeping small toys organised by theme and as a simple yet beautiful homemade gift!

If you follow this blog you will already know that I am in love with these gorgeous paper mache suitcases I found via an ebay shop recently and have begun to create a series of small world, imaginative play scenes with them. The first box was an arctic small world scene with polar bears and sensory pay elements which is wrapped up ready for Christmas already.

This next small world scene is a dinosaur landscape, ready for my 4 year old nephew as one of his Christmas presents! He absolutely loves dinosaurs in all shapes and sizes and making him a small world to store all his little toys in and carry along with him when he goes out seems a perfect match for him!

To create this box I simply painted the inside of the lid with blue ready-mix paint to represent the sky. Inside the base I painted green and added a little mountain to form part of the backdrop. You could get really creative and make any kind of landscape you can imagine! When the paint was dry I added white clouds to the sky and outlined them with blue glitter glue to make them sparkly.

Into the box I added:
a set of small pay dinosaurs
large pebbles
green pom poms
pine pines
spiky grass cut from green felt
I will also add a dinosaur story book to complete the gift!
The loose elements are important for fostering imaginative play and open-end creativity. There is a set limit on what can be done when all the materials are glued into place or simply painted into the scene. The girls have already had a little play with this box (road-testing it for quality control purposes of course!) and it has the big thumbs up! They rearranged the sensory materials, told little stories and took the dinosaurs on journeys.


As with the Arctic play box, I didn’t paint the outside but you could do of course. This time I simply personalised it for him so everyone will know it’s his special box (keep away big brothers!)

If you make one of these I would LOVE to see a picture or hear about your ideas in the comments or on my Facebook page. I respectfully ask other bloggers not to post about this idea on your own blog until I have finished my own series (these boxes are very special to me!) Thanks so much.


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10 comments to Dinosaur Small World Play in a Suitcase

  • Ohhh fabulous – these I’ve got to make for 3 little ones for next year I don’t have enough time this year but if I get buying and making now they can all be done in January for them :) THANK YOU

  • Cant wait to hear about other ideas for these! I’m going to make some for when my LG turns 2, I think!

  • Gorgeous and just perfect for storing all your beautiful small world play scenes in, can’t wait to see the rest – you always have such amazing ideas, thanks for sharing. Ellie

  • I love that you made this as a Christmas Gift! What a wonderful idea…something that can be played with again and again and in so many different ways.

  • I love it! will make one too, thanks for inspiration!

  • That’s lovely, my two boys certainly love carrying around mini suitcases and boxes so this looks ideal.

  • This is brilliant and my boy loves dinosaurs. Could do it with our farm yard set too.

  • I just want to say THANK YOU for the inspiration on this! My almost-four-year-old can play with a setup like this for a few hours without suggestion or intervention. Inspired by your earlier post, I bought a few arctic animals from Schleich and used hot glue, felt, and a few super cheap cookie tins to make him a tiny play set! (His brother is getting an African savannah version!)

  • liz

    I have ordered my cases. Also found dinosaurs cheap on Ebay. I’m doing one for my little boy & one for his friend as an Easter gift – complete with dinosaur eggs of course! I have polar bears & penguins from your snow dough sensory tray which will be rehoused in the Arctic case. I’m also going to make a sea world one. Hoping to decorate the outsides with themed wrapping paper & sticky back plastic.

  • I like your imaginative play in suitcases. Where is the volcano? :) Keep up the great work! Creative play is great for all children to explore.