Our dinosaur theme from Experience Curriculum started out with everything paleontology-related – paleontologists, excavation sites, fossils, bones, and the biggest dinosaur Tyrannosaurus Rex. “Paleontologist” is a big word but my kids loved learning it and pretending to be one! Check out our dinosaur fossils and related activities.
Fossils can be made with a variety of materials. This is our collection that I’ve saved over the years. The top and bottom fossils were made by my son in elementary school with shells and Plaster of Paris. The middle fossil was made with a dinosaur fossil clay recipe from Experience Early Learning that includes coffee to give it the dark color. This year we made salt dough fossils.
Salt Dough Fossils
One of our STEAM Stations this month explores fossils a bit further with a hands on experience of making our own fossils.
Salt dough fossils are super easy to make and require just a few ingredients for the dough.
We used the fossils skeleton toys shown below to create our fossils but you can use anything – small dinosaurs or other toys, shells, rocks, beads, etc. Find the salt dough recipe for making dinosaur fossils below.
Salt Dough Recipe
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of salt
- 1/2 cup of warm water (you will need more – add small amounts slowly)
To set up this activity, I cut small pieces of parchment paper into squares and labeled each one with a child’s name. I divided the dough into equal amounts.
The children flattened their fossil salt dough on a tray (to contain the mess) and chose dinosaur bones to press into the dough and create a fossil.
When done, we put their dough on their labeled parchment paper in order to keep track of whose were whose. I always think I’ll remember but then don’t necessarily!
We backed the fossils in the oven for 1-2 hours (may need longer) at 250 degrees to dry out the dough and make it hard.
I sent everyone’s fossils home in a plastic bag.
Salt dough fossils are very easy and fun to make!
I image you could also make fossil cookies out of sugar cookie dough – how fun would that be! I haven’t tried it it.
Fossil Stamp Creative Art
Lesson 3 of our dinosaur theme included the Fossil Stamp Invitation to Create. First the chidlren looked at the Inspiration Photo and talked about what they saw. What do you notice about the fossil photo? What shapes do you see? How will you make your fossil stamp?
They created a stamp with a paper lid and some foam stickers.
Using brown and metallic gold tempera paint, we stamped fossil shapes.
With this art activity, we can observe how the child created a stamp and use it to make marks on the paper.
Excavation Dig Creative Art
The Excavation Dig Creative Art experience involved a couple steps and many skills. First everyone needed to cut apart their dinosaur skeleton pieces. Cutting can be hard and a lot of work! It’s important we give children time to work on their scissor skills on their own.
They will let you know if they need help and are becoming frustrated. It’s equally important to let them be successful in cutting even if it means chopping apart all the pieces and the art doesn’t “look like much”. It’s about developing their skills!
After cutting apart the dinosaur skeleton pieces, they decided how to arrange them (or not) and glue them down to their paper. Then they squeezed on glue, poured on sand and brushed it around on their dinosaur skeleton.
We talked about how paleontologists use brushes to clean off bones they find in order to protect them.
This fun creative art project is more than art – it’s an exploration in spatial awareness, fine motor skills, natural and earth since and history and sense of time.
We used our Rock Letters for free play and creating words with the I Can Read book “Go Away”.
The I Can Read books this month featured three sight words “go”, “away”, and “big”.
More Dinosaur Activities
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