Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mammoth in Ice Excavation

Today is Day Two of our Excavation Activities for Kids! We are sharing one of our absolute favorite activities - a mammoth in ice excavation! We found this Ice Mammoth Building Kit from National Geographic at a yard sale last May and since then we have played with it literally almost every day. While we don't always set up the whole activity, the mammoth is well loved by Bean and she plays with it all the time.

To set it up, we fit the mammoth inside the mold. This time we left out the organs. I filled up the mold and put it in the freezer for a couple hours. When it was finished, I left it on the counter for 10 minutes to melt around the edges so it would slide out easily.

I filled the canister with hot water (not hot enough to burn, just hot enough to melt the ice). I also put a towel over the table to catch any spills.

Sometimes the bones float in the water, which is why it is partially exposed.

I carefully tipped the mold over the examination tray and pressed the back so that the mammoth slide out.

Ta-da! Mammoth!

I love the detail on the mold, so the ice looks just like the fur of a mammoth. :)

I filled a glass pan with snow and put the excavation tray in the middle. We have never added the snow before, but the kids loved it! And why not use it, we have a ton outside!

They were so eager to begin! Munchkin loves the chisel knife.

Bean was all about the syringe. She was so careful too! :)

She discovered that if she pressed the syringe against the ice and then squeezed hot water onto it, the tip would go straight in!

When they were nearly done, they scooped the mammoth out of the tray and let him float in the pool of melted snow and ice.

All done! This mammoth has held up numerous times being frozen and excavated and somehow is still in perfect condition.

Can you believe I got this barely used kit at a yard sale for only $1?! Amazing! And the kit says ages 6+, but my 3 and 5 year old were able to use it with no issues.

In the event that you don't own a kit like this, you could use any bone figures you have and just pack them into a tray of snow or freeze them. You can use a Safari Ltd Woolly Mammoth or any other type of mammoth or Ice Age animal figure and a medicine syringe or eyedroppers. This activity is great for little ones because while they are learning, they are also working on developing fine motor skills. One thing we also add, but did not have a picture of, was a thermometer! We used it to check the temperature of the water throughout the activity. The kids loved reading the numbers and letting me know that the temperature of the water was getting colder and colder by the minute. They observed that the warm water only stayed warm for a short period of time before it pooled into the already ice cold water. 

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