What You Need:
- Plaster of Paris
- Paper cups
- Vermiculite (available at garden supply stores)
- Small plastic dinosaurs
- Wooden spoon
- Heavy-duty plastic spoons or metal spoons you don't mind being destroyed
What You Do:
- Mix equal amounts of water, Plaster of Paris and vermiculite (though the vermiculite can be less) in a bucket. Pour a small amount in paper cups. Add one plastic dinosaur to each cup and cover the toy with remaining mixture. Don't pour the mixture down any drains
- Let the mixture dry for 1 or 2 days. But watch out, if you wait too long it'll be too hard to use.
- Take the paper cup off the “rock.”
- Now time for the dig! Children can use spoons or, with careful supervision, use mallets. Warn the children to be careful when they're close to the “fossil,” since they wouldn't want to destroy their treasure. If you have a budding paleontologist on your hands get out a paint brush so she can dust off the indentations in the “fossil.”
After the activity you'll have some dirty, happy children. They'll have enjoyed hammering the “rocks” and feel accomplished since they'll get to keep the trinket as proof of their hard work. As they dig make sure to talk about what we know about dinosaurs, and explain that paleontologists look for fossils to find out more about the amazing animals. You'll be teaching your child a lesson about dinosaurs, as well as sparking your child's curiosity in prehistoric history.