My two children are totally into dinosaurs right now. Even my 2 yo rattles off complicated dinosaur names, followed by my 6 yo explaining to her that she can’t be that type of dinosaur (they “become” the dinosaurs!) because it’s a flying predator and as the littlest of the family can’t be that. Child logic.
So I got inspired and with some unused air drying clay had some fun building a couple of fossil finds for them !
- Air drying clay
- An assortment of chicken/animal bones, scrubbed and boiled clean, then dried. We happened to eat some roast chicken so I simply saved the bones but use whichever bones you like.
- Craft feathers
- Broken sea shells (optional)
- Sand and dirt
- Ensure your bones are completely dry. If you have a dehydrator, even better! Once you’re confident they are dry, simply pack some bones, along with any feathers or shells, rocks/pebbles etc and make sure it’s all completely pressed in. This ensures no air can get inside and create mould pockets.
- Shape the covered items into a rock-ish shape and be as messy as you like – it adds to the feel and realism of the fossil.
- Rub some sand and dirt to the outside of your new fossil. Lay out of the children’s sight to dry. Mine took 2 weeks to dry thoroughly enough to use.
- Finally, hide them in the garden or sand pit. Then initiate a fossil hunting game and hey presto – Fun!
We used garden tools and pointed rocks to dig our fossils out but you may like to go ahead and find a children’s Paleontologists Kit if you like. To deepen our experience my eldest daughter then drew the bones in her dinosaur journal, and we sat and discussed what type of dinosaur it was! I was quite impressed with her reasoning for what she thought it was (she told me it had to be a Microraptor or other small, bird like dinosaur with decorative feathers as opposed to flying feathers). Not too far off the actual bird we did use the bones of!
If I was to do it again I’d definitely add sand to the mixture and rub dirt on them to mask the clay, I’d even hide them in the garden soil I think. Since we don’t own our garden I tend not to dig around in it too much, though. But go for your life and share your adventure!
The amazing thing about this was that they were both immersed in this excavation for over an hour, uninterrupted! It was like they truly were little paleontologists, and it was a most important find. My heart did soar 🙂
Happy digging xx