Today is Day One of Excavation Activities for Kids! We'll also be sharing activities featuring our favorite Ice Age mammal and some real fossils and gemstones!
We keep our excavation activities fairly simple because my kids are still preschoolers. I explain the activity while we are setting it up, talk about the different tools and what they are used for, and once they begin, I open up a book and read to them. The books are themed and relate to the activity, so in this case, it was about excavating dinosaur bones. I also ask them questions or answer their questions and encourage discussions about the subject.
We used a handful of our dinosaur fossil skeletons and placed them in a container. We usually use our sensory bin, but now that the kids are older and are more careful with loose parts, they now prefer shallower containers, like glass baking pans. I placed the baking pan on a large bamboo tray with sides, so sand (or in this case, cornmeal) will be contained if it does happen to spill over.
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We usually leave our bag of play sand outside, so because it is under 4+ feet of snow, we decided to use cornmeal. Cornmeal is an easy replacement for sand in sensory bins and it's reusable (just keep it clean, dry, and store it in an airtight container). I simply poured the container of cornmeal over the dinosaur bones, which created little mounds that made it look like hills.
We kept it simple and used medium to large fine-bristle paint brushes.
Gently stroke aside the cornmeal/sand and reveal the buried bones!
In case you're interested, check out these educational products on dinosaurs from Usborne Books and More!