Easy Kid Craft: Make Dinosaur “Fossils”
K. Mitton has a Canadian lifestyle blog with a twist of inspiration. They have a wide variety of topics to pique your interest, from nature and science to urban life and heartfelt stories of human connection. When we first connected online and they expressed an interest in writing a guest post for Abrazo and Coze, I happily agreed. This guest post will take you and your dino-loving children back through time to create an awesome prehistoric fossil! (Of course, if they hate dinos, you could easily adapt to make fossils of whatever they love.) An easy kid craft: make dino fossils!
Visit mittonmusings every Tuesday as they share their crazy adventures. Their hope is to encourage you to muse together about this journey called life!
Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, Everywhere…
When my middle son was in kindergarten he was obsessed with dinosaurs! He knew the scientific names of twelve different kinds of dinosaurs but refused to count to ten and recite the ABC’s. I remember asking the classroom teacher if this was normal behaviour for a four-year-old… she assured me it was.
Lots of children love dinosaurs! Mine still has aspirations of being a paleontologist (which my husband had to ask the definition of when it came to Halloween costumes)… but now his focus is directed to Marine Paleontology and ancient fish who may still lurk in the depths (just in case his NHL career doesn’t work out). All this to say, our house did dinosaurs. A lot. So, I was super excited when Abrazo and Coze asked me to guest post on an easy kid craft: make dinosaur fossils!
In addition to my new blogging adventure (come visit me at www.mittonmusings.com) and full time mom to four (two boys, two girls), I am a scientist who visits classrooms to teach kids about science! I love it… and the kids love this activity! The ideal age is kindergarten, but even older students love it! You can use it as a great teaching tool on fossilization and how fossils are created and discovered by paleontologists. Perhaps, you too, will learn the scientific names of the dinosaurs you create!
Get Ready to Create
Here’s what you need to get started:
- Plaster of Paris: you can find this in craft stores or places like Home Depot and Lowes… note it is not plaster for drywall… it is for creating molding, patching and the like; you can buy a small box or a giant bag depending on your needs
- Some small plastic dinosaurs or skeletons: your local dollar store may have some or you can get some fancy skulls from Michael’s
- Play doh for the “mold” part: I use homemade, but the store bought kind works too
- Some containers and a spoon for mixing and mold making
- Your imagination!
Now that you’ve got all your materials, roll your play doh into meatball size portions and press it down into your small containers… make as many as you like! Then gently press your dinosaur skull into the play doh to create a mold impression. Don’t forget to take it out again!
Mix as much Plaster of Paris as you need to cover your fossils. The kind I use is one part cold water to two parts plaster. I use about one cup measurements and it covers about 10-15 molds. As you mix, your plaster should be the consistency of a thick cake icing or pancake batter and flatten out when you bang the container a bit to release any air bubbles. Work quickly as the Plaster of Paris dries in about 10 minutes or so. Don’t play around with the mix too much… if you get the measurements wrong, it won’t harden properly. If you screw it up… that’s a good learning experience for your kids… so just … learn and move on to a new batch!
If you want to use this as your learning activity, you can explain that the dinosaurs fell into “mud” when they died (our play doh) and more “mud” fell on top of them (our plaster). Eventually the mud gets hard and creates fossils. (Okay there is way more to it, but you can elaborate as much as you need to!)
Once your Plaster of Paris has dried completely (it gets a slightly duller colour and hard to the touch), you can peel off your play doh and voila! DINO FOSSILS! If any of your play doh sticks in the “holes”, I gently dab it with more play doh and it pops out.
Three Steps and You’re Done
You can have fun with your fossils… I have tried to add a little sand to the plaster and you can “dust” it off like a real paleontologist. You can paint or sparkle or marker them too! Try different sizes and shapes of dinosaurs… or even little shells or plastic plants. And don’t forget to learn the official scientific names of the ones you have created… but for the sake of your parent-teacher interviews… practice the ABC’s and count to ten first.
Once you’re kids have played paleontologist with this easy kid craft: make dinosaur fossils, add to the fun with some edible slime. Perhaps it was a big slime asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs? (I bet your kids will imagine up an even better explanation!) Or perhaps they want to create some time-traveller wands (adapted from this tutorial) to pretend their way back to the Jurassic Period.
Do your kids love dinosaurs? Which is their favourite? Or will your little darlings be making something other than dino fossils? Let me know in the comments.