Ten Ways to Bring Jurassic Park to your Garden

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It's a blockbuster movie with a roar - the latest instalment of the Jurassic Park series returns to our screens later this year, 22 years after the first film wowed fans with its CGI. But why wait to visit Isla Nubar when you can create Jurassic World and its dinosaur inhabitants at your own home?
The Jurassic Park special effect still excite 22 years on
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The Jurassic Park special effect still excite 22 years on

1) A Trilogy of T-Rexs

It's hard to believe that Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and the late Richard Attenborough first introduced moviegoers to the spectacular theme park back in 1993, because the effects have aged well. 

That gives you an excuse to load up the DVDs onto a portable DVD player, and watch them again in the garden. Look out for the little hidden touches such as the hidden reference to Mickey Mouse, and the incorrect 'female' buckles on the seat belts in the helicopter - an oblique reference, apparently, to the fact that all the dinosaurs are female.
The Jurassic Park movies were filmed in Oahu, Hawaii
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The Jurassic Park movies were filmed in Oahu, Hawaii

2) Going for Green

Before you source your terrible lizards it's time to create their world. As with the original trilogy much of the latest instalment was filmed in beautiful Hawaii,  to recreate the Jurassic world of giant ferns, and cycads.

Pacific-style giant artificial plants could be placed across the garden to create shadows and mystery, but make sure you hide or discard the bowls underneath. Surround by logs, artificial leaves, and woodchip, and sprinkle a few fiendish plastic insects in the undergrowth. encourage your children to help you build the 'set'.

For a fun version try picking up a forest of inflatable palm trees - even if they deflate they'll look authentic and withered in the prehistoric heat. Arrange wisely, leaving an open area for Gallimimus runners, and allowing room to drive a (toy) 4wd. 
Cardboard boxes can be turned into metal grates or gates
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Cardboard boxes can be turned into metal grates or gates

3) Creating an Enclosure


If you have any large cardboard boxes lying about  (from washing machines, ovens and other appliances) get the scissors out. Cut squares out, paint in a grey/silver colour and leave to dry. 

These can be made into cages for the dinosaurs, fencing (cut along one edge to open them out and cut away squares) or incubators for 'hatchlings'. If you've extended the 'fence' out, cut a few holes out to create an illusion that a beast has ripped through them. Mesh fencing held in place by canes could also create the same effect. 

You could even toss in the odd bone from the butcher, or Halloween bone props. to show the remains of a poor creature that stepped into their path for the last time.

These models are suitable for all terrains
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These models are suitable for all terrains

4) Paddling Plesiosaurs

There's an awesome scene in the trailer for the new movie where a carcass is dangled over an expanse of water and a terrifying leviathan known as a mosasaur rises to consume it.

A paddling pool need not just be for a relaxing splash; with a little imagination it can be a performance area for a 'dinosaur'. Make your own costume, buy one, or grab a large dinosaur toy, or one of the huge selection of Jurassic Park toys.  Chairs around the pool for parents or brothers/sisters can complete the theme park surroundings shown in the trailer. 

Alternatively consider installing a garden pond. The preformed, plastic shell costs as little as £20, but for the real effect several water features (using plastic and not 300 million year old granite) and garden pond waterfalls can be fitted around the landscape. Some rockery rocks, far too big for youngsters to pick up but just small enough for you to manoeuvre,  will enrich the prehistoric vista.
The original Jurassic Park 4WD
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The original Jurassic Park 4WD

5) The Hunt is On

Trucks, cars and aerial vehicles are a key component of the Jurassic series, and many accurate toys are available. However, little dinosaur hunters may be better served if you build your own 4WD - or something similar.

Take an old electric children's car and repaint it, or perhaps fashion a cover for it from paper; simply print out 15 or so sheets of green/red striped paper in the patter above and sellotape it onto the exterior. Consider laying some matting as a track for the vehicle to move through the undergrowth, and plant a few dinosaur toy surprises along the way.

The new Jurassic World film also features 'world famous gyrospheres' for negotiation, and until these are invented the closest 2015 can offer is a zorb ball. not ideal for dinosaur hunting, but good fun nonetheless.
The ultimate game of cat and mouse - or dinosaur
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The ultimate game of cat and mouse - or dinosaur

6) The T-Rex Approaches

Remember that classic scene when the T-Rex looms, and its giant foot stomps shake the glass of water on the dashboard? Iconic, memorable - and ripe for recreation in a modified game of hide and seek.

Wait until it's evening and sit your little ones in the 'car' from the previous section. Attach a long length of thread to the bottom of a plastic cup of water, which you will periodically pull to simulate the approach. Your children have to guess where you're coming from as you crawl the 'undergrowth', and shoot you with their toy guns before you grab them - wearing a dinosaur mask, of course.
Your cute little dinosaur will get years of fun
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Your cute little dinosaur will get years of fun

7) Dressing up Dinosaurs

if your little one wishes to take on the role, then these costumes are distinctly fluffier than your average tyrannosaur or velociraptor. These comfortable unisex costumes are perfect for tiny tots who want to stalk the Jurassic garden and prey on innocent...insects.

What's more, one outfit is suitable for several age groups - so when Jurassic World II roars into view your little ones will be well-equipped.
You can make your own dinosaurs from these moulds
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You can make your own dinosaurs from these moulds

8) Mini Archaeologists

Your little scientist might also enjoy searching for dinosaurs the old fashioned way - digging. 

Hide a few plastic bones in flowerbeds, and encourage them to dig in sandpits or soil. The pictured moulds can be used to build an entire dinosaur in the sand, or jellied treats for the diggers.

Alternatively, take a plastic lunchbox and fill it with water, placing a dinosaur model or bones inside. Pop it in the freezer the night before the 'dig' and the next morning hand your youngster an age appropriate tool to chip away at the block, to find a perfectly-preserved 'dinosaur'. 
There is a huge range of toy weapons available
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There is a huge range of toy weapons available

9) Destroying the Dinos

The prehistoric lizards need to be tamed, but which weapon do you choose? The range of toy guns for bringing down dinosaur prey ranges from pistols to semi-automatics to missile launchers, so choose wisely. As a parent you need to assess the pros and cons of guns that actually fire soft darts, or just make a noise.

You should start your son or daughter with toy dinosaur eggs (or very hard boiled ostrich eggs), which are stationary but large targets. Then, as they hunt through the jungle, position toy dinosaurs in strategic positions - if they don't get them within five seconds they're eaten.

For a real challenge, challenge your youngsters to hit a remote controlled dinosaur, or a flying model dinosaur perhaps thrown from a bedroom window.
The ankylosaurus is one of an impressive range of models
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The ankylosaurus is one of an impressive range of models

10) Official Models

A huge range of new toys are being released to coincide with the Jurassic World movie. The old favourites such as the triceratops are joined by lesser-known friends such as the Spinosaurus and Dimorphodon.  There's also a mosasaurus which is perfect for the pool (see above).

Many of the toys, suitable for age 4 and above, possess bashing, chomping and growling actions, but the ultimate fans will plump for either the 20 inch Stomp and Strike T-rex, and the awesome colour-changing, super-wide jawed Indominus Rex. Keep an eye out for games, Playskool Heroes (for younger children), and cuddly toys.

If the official versions are too easy then set your youngster the task of building their own, from a dinosaur model kit. They don't usually require glue, but do contain small parts so are not suitable for very young children.
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