Archaeology for Kids

What You Need:

  • Plastic toy blocks
  • Sand box or patch of dirt
  • Hand shovel or trowel

What You Do:

  1. Before you get your child involved build a small house out of the blocks. Match blocks so that the walls are one color and the roof another. 
  2. Once you have the house put together, pull it apart creating several large pieces that clearly go together in a certain way. These are the pieces that you will bury for your child to “reconstruct.” 
  3. Take the pieces of your house and several spare blocks that are a color you did not use.  Bury them in your dig site (bare ground, mulch or sand box). Make sure that a corner or single block can still be seen.
  4. Now it is time to get your child involved. Hand them the shovel and explain that they are going to work like an archaeologist to dig up the things that someone long ago left behind. If they don’t know anything about archaeology, you might want to find a video online for them to watch. 
  5. Take your child outside and give them the shovel or trowel. The first thing that an archaeologist needs to do is figure out where to dig.  This means finding the place where buildings and other items have been left behind. Tell your child that this place is called a site. To find a new site, archaeologists walk along looking at the ground. They look for things that long ago people built or made. Some of the buildings they look for today were built out of bricks. Help your child walk around and look for a brick.
  6. When they find the exposed brick, help them carefully “excavate” the area and collect the artifacts. 
  7. Can they reassemble them? Why might there be left over pieces? Encourage your child to make up a story, their analysis, of what these things were, what they were used for and who left them behind.

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