Allow us to go old school for a second. Like, super-duper old school. Like, so old it makes old school look young. We are talking Dinosaur times. These ancient lizards capture our imaginations from childhood, and even today (Thank you #TRexTuesday!). Besides the mystery around an animal we will never have the privilege to witness in person (if Jurassic World is our cautionary tale), they were living giants and we have the fossils to prove it.
If the future paleontologist in your life is ready to sign up for the next big dig, then a dinosaur themed party could be the stepping stone to a career of discovery! Get them hooked with this make-your-own-fossil party activity.
This project will keep kids busy and is a fun sensory experience for the very little party guests. Start by giving each child a plastic container with a lid. Take-out containers or sandwich containers work well. The kids can complete steps 1-4 at the party and then take the containers home, and uncover the fossils at home.
- Small Plastic Container
- Plastic Dinosaur Skeletons
- Plaster of Paris and water
- Plastic Container/Spoon for Mixing Plaster
- Stiff Bristle Brush
Step 1. Wet the sand so that it is nicely packed, and will stick together. Press the dinosaur skeletons in the sand to create impressions. Press them firmly, and then gently remove the skeletons. If doing this as a party activity, many kids can share the same dinosaurs.
Step 2. Mix the plaster according to the manufacturer’s directions. Always add the plaster to the water. The mixed plaster should have the consistency of pancake batter. Any leftover plaster should be poured out in the trash. Do NOT put plaster in the sink, it will clog drains.
Step 3. Gently pour the plaster over the sand, so that it doesn’t splash. Pour from one area, and let the plaster slowly fill in the skeleton impressions.
Step 4. Use enough plaster to cover all the sand, and is should be 1/2” to 1” deep. The plaster will start to harden in approximately 30-45 minutes, but it will be too soft to handle. Wait at least 10 hours for the plaster to be hard enough to handle.
Step 5. After at least 10 hours, carefully remove the plaster from the sand. You will want to do this outside or over a newspaper to avoid a huge sandy mess. At this point, the plaster will still be a little soft on the bottom. Let the plaster sit on newspaper for a few more hours to finish curing.
Step 6. Kids can use a stiff bristle brush to start removing the extra sand and uncovering the dinosaur fossils.
Step 7. The plaster is waterproof, so you can rinse the loose sand off in a bucket of water. The surface of the fossil will still have a fine layer of sand as a result of the casting.
Let the excavating begin! Make a few of these in advance and hide them in a sandbox for a scavenger style party activity. Share your fossil pics with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by tagging us in your pictures!
Still brainstorming on your Dino Party projects? Here’s a Pinterest guide for your Dino board!