Make Dinosaur Footprints! Activity

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Updated on Apr 27, 2016

Surely your kid has created a fossilized handprint before. You might have even received one of these adorable projects as a gift. But does your kid realize that dinosaur footprints have been preserved for millions of years by a similar process? Help your little paleontologist learn about dinosaur footprints  by having her study some dino footprints and then create imprints on different surfaces. After examining her dinosaur tracks she'll wrap the activity up by making her very own dinosaur fossil!

What You Need:

  • Play dough
  • Rolling pin
  • Fine grain sand
  • Water
  • Shallow container for the sand
  • White glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Tools to make the imprints (We used a butter knife and a spoon, but feel free to get creative!)

For the No-Bake Clay:

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • Warm water
  • Medium saucepan
  • Towel
  • Bowl

What You Do:

  1. Start by making the no-bake clay on your stovetop. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan, heat over medium, and stir consistently with a wooden spoon until the consistency is that of mashed potatoes.
  2. Take it off the burner, put in a bowl, cover with a towel, and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  3. While it’s cooling, take out some play dough and flatten it out using the rolling pin. Encourage your kid to mold different shapes into the surface of the play dough first using only her fingers, and then the tools to make more precise indentations in the surface of the clay.
  4. Talk about how different animals have different footprints. What does a bird footprint look like? Try to make a pair. What about a cat? A dog? Do they look the same? What about a dinosaur?
  5. Now have your kid try to create footprints of dinosaurs in a shallow container filled with sand. What does she notice?
  6. Add water to the sand until it's soaked through and have her try once again to make the footprint. Ask her what she thinks this means about fossils.  
  7. Now encourage your kid to recreate some dinosaur footprints with her tools in the clay. Let them dry overnight (flipping the piece of clay at least once).
  8. Decorate with sand or glitter by painting on the glue around the footprint. Be sure to coat the outside edges and dust plenty of sand on it. Now your kid has her very own dinosaur footprint!