One of the girls favorite things at the Indianapolis Children's Museum was digging for dinosaur bones. The substrate they had the bones buried in was somewhat like very small rubbery beads all glued together, so the kids really had to work at digging the dino out. The one the girls were working on was new that morning, and the man working there said it would probably take about 2 months to complete. I figured we could do our own dinosaur dig here with our little plastic dinos (I suppose I should have bought a model skeleton to be more accurate; maybe in the future).
I found a recipe for dinosaur eggs on Projects for Preschoolers and decided to use the recipe in a bin instead of in egg shapes.
Start by mixing 1 1/4 C dirt, 1 1/4 C flour, 3/4 C salt, and 1/2 C sand.
Slowly add water to get a clay like texture. I added about 1 1/2 C, and mine was a little more liquidy then clay.
For what I wanted to do I just set a few plastic dinosaurs in the bottom of my little bin. Then I covered them with the muddy clay. Unfortunately I really needed another batch of it, but I had used up all my salt. I did get them all covered though.
Then I left the bin out in the sun to dry, and it looked pretty dry by the time I brought it in overnight. It wasn't entirely dry as it was still a little squishy when I touch it. I did try to make some prints on top of it (which I should have thought about doing before I let it dry). I did get a shell and some dino footprints to work.
After identifying the "fossils" on top I had the girls get whatever they wanted to use to dig with as well as a couple paintbrushes. Then I let them dig! It was actually still very moist inside which probably made the digging a bit easier. It didn't take too long for them to find all 6 of the dinosaurs I buried.
Then they broke off most of the dirt and used the paint brushes and water table to clean off the rest.
Even Eli wanted to dig in it!
While the girls were doing this, Eli was digging in his Dinosaur Sensory Bin!