Need a cute new activity? Kids of all ages will have a great time (and maybe even learn something) with this fun sensory friendly DIY fossil dig kit!
Summer break is thisclose to being here, and while the kids can’t wait to be out of school, I am busy trying to prepare for three months worth of empty time to fill. I am all too familiar with the cries of “Mooom! I’m boooooored!” once there is no school to fill their days, but this year I am prepared for it. This year, I have a stockpile of boredom busting activities that I can pull out any time I need to fill an afternoon. I will be posting some of my favorites here over the next few weeks, but let’s start with this adorable DIY dino dig kit. It is perfect for kids of all ages, takes minutes to put together, and is something they can do over and over again in fun new ways!
My kids absolutely love activities that they can make themselves, and this is such a unique experience that they want to do it over and over again! If your littles aren’t into dinosaurs, there are tons of other things you can use – fake treasure, jewels, figurines, “bones”, and even Shopkins (which is Kaia’s personal favorite).
Here is what you will need:
- Plaster of Paris
- Play sand
- A basin with a sealable lid
- Plastic dinosaurs, rocks, or anything you want to dig for
- Clay sculpting tools
- Plastic safety glasses
- A small hammer
First, combine equal parts water, Plaster of Paris, and sand in a large bowl that you don’t mind parting with. Mix everything up thoroughly with a large stick or old cooking spoon. You can adjust the texture by adding more plaster or sand, depending on how hard you want your final product to be. I added more sand to Kaia’s for a texture that was easier to break, and more plaster to Judah’s for something a bit firmer.
Once your plaster is mixed, pour a layer into your basin, and then press your dinosaurs into it.
Cover with another layer of plaster mix, and smooth out evenly. Let that sit for an hour to harden, and after that it should be ready to use.
While mine was hardening, I printed up a field guide to go with it that had pictures of all the buried dinosaurs, their names, and spaces for notes with each card.
This isn’t a necessary step, but I think it adds a level of interest into the activity, so if you would like a field guide you can download it here. Print each page on 4×6 inch card stock, and then turn each over and print the lines. You can bind them together using a hole punch and a small key ring. Cute, right?
If your basin is big enough, you can pack tools, glasses, and your field guide inside and close the lid, so that all you have to do is open it when you are ready to dig. This is also a great idea if you are using it as party favors or a gift. When you are ready to use, open up the lid, invert your basin onto a flat surface, and your hardened mixture will pop out in one piece.
Once that happens, it is digging time! My kids loved discovering what surprises were inside, and the field guide was a really cute addition to the activity because it helped them use their observational skills.
Once everything is found, you can set it all up again with different dinosaurs or objects, for more and more rounds of fun digging!
*Tip: Make sure your child wears safety glasses in case any chunks fly up, and always cover your surface with something like parchment paper for easy clean up.*