Got Kids? Make your own Dinosaur Fossils!

Hi Everyone 
I love this project – I do this every so often for my kids and they just always think it is so much fun!  It involves making your own dinosaur “fossils” with small toys and Plaster of Paris
  1. Mix up the Plaster of Paris according to instructions
  2. Place your mold onto a solid surface
  3. Pour a little of the plaster mix into the mold
  4. Add your mini dinosaur into the mix
  5. Top up with plaster and leave to harden as per instructions
  6. Give your little one a few tools and let them get excavating!
To make this an economical project I bought a HUGE 20kg bag of Plaster of Paris from my local builders merchant for about $20 – which was a great buy seeing as it was $13 for 500g at the craft store…
You can of course use anything as a mold (yogurt pots, ice cream containers) and below you can see a series of pictures showing how you can make a really big one in your sandpit!
Here is how I made a BIG fossil in the sandpit which took the kids days to excavate!
  1. Dig a hole in the sandpit
  2. Pour in your plaster of paris and throw in your plastic dinos
  3. Cover with sand
  4. Drag a spade or stick through the mix to make a cool shape
  5. Leave to dry (3 hours I think..)
  6. Let the kids loose with a hammer and some paleontologist protective eye goggles -cheap safety glasses!
These little molds are so neat with their dino shapes – I think they are for muffins. I made these crayons below using a tutorial I showed here.
Let me know if you give this a try! Goes without saying this is something you need to make and get the kids to play with OUTSIDE!!
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  • Reply Absolute Novice June 16, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    Such a great idea!!! This would be great to use in a classroom as well.

  • Reply mojodawn June 16, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Thanks for sharing Lowri! These are such a great craft to do with my son πŸ™‚ Cheers!

  • Reply Rachel@I Heart Crafty Things June 17, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    I have a Dino Lover at my house and he would LOVE this! Thanks for sharing! Do you remember where you got your dino molds??

  • Reply Lowri June 18, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Hi there – Thanks for the visit
    I bought them at K-Mart – but that was here in New Zealand…they are muffin molds!

  • Reply D+B June 18, 2011 at 4:03 AM

    Love your blog!! Its so cute!!! I am your newest follower!!! i would love to feature you on my blog. so let me know!! πŸ™‚ So if you would like to go and check out my blog and follow me too! That would make my day!!! πŸ™‚ I am so excited to start blogging and share my ideas on food, crafts, and mineral make-up. I will also be doing giveaways on stuff, like mineral make-up. So look out for it!

  • Reply Thread In Her Hair June 18, 2011 at 6:07 AM

    This is a fabulous idea! We are having dino week this week so I better head to the hardware store – this is a perfect ending for our week. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Lori @ Beneath the Rowan Tree June 20, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    Wonderful! I am featuring this submission to our weekly Playdate on our new Playdate for this week… come and snag your 'featured' button and add some more links if you like!


  • Reply Rachel at Sun Scholars June 20, 2011 at 3:27 AM

    My son would love this! Love the little dino crayons too! So cute! Thanks for sharing this at For the Kids at Sun Scholars! I'm off to share your post with my facebook friends. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Zombie Leah June 21, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Yay for dinos! I wish I knew some kids so I'd have an excuse to do this! πŸ˜›

  • Reply Kathryn Michelle Jenkins June 21, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this! we are going to try it next week. thanks for posting. incredible idea.

    twitter: kathblogger

  • Reply Janna Werner June 24, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    Totally love these fossils, Lowri! Super fun idea, not only for kids πŸ˜‰ Janna

  • Reply Beth June 27, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Hey Lowri, I was wondering if you can tell me what kinds of tools you gave your children to do the excavating. Will plastic play tools work, or do they need to use "daddy's" tools?

  • Reply Lowri June 27, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Hi Beth – I bought the kids small craft hammers from the dollar store.

    I have also given them small but solid (non-sharp) clay carving tools and cheap paintbrushes on a huge tray and let them do it on the kitchen table when it has been raining.
    We have a farmhouse kitchen though – do not suggest you do this if you have a fancy kitchen! Using the small tools makes the small fossils last ages.

    For the big one you might like to use a big hammer – depending on how old they are!

    Hope this helps πŸ™‚

  • Reply Beth June 28, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    Lowri, we SO do not have a fancy kitchen. I would let them do that in my kitchen…although we are planning to do the first batch later this week to play with on Friday for my 6 year old's birthday.

  • Reply Christina July 2, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    My boys would love this. It would be perfect for a dinosaur birthday party! I would love it if you wanted to share this idea, and any others, at my "It's a Celebration" link party. I think everyone will love it, I know I'm not the only one always on the look out for good boy party ideas!

  • Reply Jen @ Domesticated Nomad July 2, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    This is neat. Thanks for sharing it with me.

  • Reply Creative Raisins July 4, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    This is such a good idea. My boys would love it, thank you for sharing

  • Reply Confessions of a Stay at Home Mommy July 5, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    That is awesome! I would love it if you would link up to my Tuesday Confessional link party going on now: http://www.craftyconfessions.com/2011/07/tuesday-confessional-link-up-2.html. I hope to see you soon!
    ~Macy from Confessions of a SAHM

  • Reply Toddler Approved July 30, 2011 at 5:37 AM

    Love this! I shared this on our blog today. Can't wait to try this out. You're such a great mom!

  • Reply Vii&Jiajia October 4, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    I shared this on my blog! Thanks for inspiring me!

  • Reply LessonPlans-CraftGossip November 29, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    Cute idea! Just posted on CraftGossip πŸ™‚


  • Reply Beth (www.livinglifeintentionally.blogspot.com) December 16, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    We did something kind of like this, but with your super cool molds you took it to the next level – AWESOME!!! What a fun learning activity!! I am your newest follower. I'd love for you to folllow me back, if you want to =-) I also wanted to invite you to link up to our kid-friendly TGIF Linky Party – http://livinglifeintentionally.blogspot.com/search/label/Linkey%20Parties – I know my readers would LOVE this!! Merry Christmas,
    Beth =-)

  • Reply Valerie January 16, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Hello! This is such a great idea. I linked your blog to our Natural History Museum page on Facebook.

    We have lots of kids visit us and this would be a great project to do at home!

  • Reply Tami July 9, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    So cute!

    I’d love it if you shared this with the Fun Family Crafts audience.
    FFC is similar to Craftgawker but it only features kid friendly tutorials.

    Looking forward to seeing what fun crafts you submit!

  • Reply ckim February 19, 2014 at 5:16 AM

    So cute! What kind of "tools" did you have them use to excavate the fossils?

  • Reply fingerprints February 19, 2015 at 1:23 AM

    Can you use something else other than plaster of Paris?

  • Reply Limitless By Design March 13, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    Can I use the plastic hello molds? Or would it crack easily?

  • Reply Tina Miles May 7, 2015 at 2:35 PM

    I've tried your brilliant idea today.
    As I didn't have anything practical to fill the plaster in, I used aluminium foil.
    After a while the plaster got really warm. Is that normal?
    Or did that happen because I used the aluminium foil?

    • Reply LowriMcNabb May 7, 2015 at 6:38 PM

      That's normal. The chemical reaction of plaster and water is exothermic (produces heat).
      You can google it for more information πŸ™‚

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