Here's a great messy activity for young dinosaur fans - a dinosaur 'fossil' excavation. Get your excavation kit together and chip away at the plaster to reveal a dinosaur hidden inside.
Time: 1 week setting time
Age: 5 to 10s
Plaster of Paris
Handful of soil
Old tub just larger than the dinosaur
Plastic dinosaur toy
Spare old container to mix the plaster
Excavation kit - we used a tray, toy hammer, toy screwdriver, paintbrush, safety goggles.
Safety note: quite a bit of plaster dust is created during the excavation so this is best done outdoors. You might also wear a dust mask.
Mix the plaster of Paris according to the instructions on the packet. We used about 1 part plaster to 1 part water. We also mixed a handful of soil through the plaster to make it look older and help it break up more easily during the excavation.
Pour about a third of the plaster in the bottom of the tub. Allow to set for a few minutes then place the plastic dinosaur toy on top. (Keep stirring the rest of the plaster in the other tub to stop it from setting).
Pour the remaining plaster over the dinosaur until just covered.
Allow to set for about 24 hours then pop out of the tub.
Allow to dry out for a few more days until completely dry. (We left ours for about a week total).
Set out the lump of plaster on a tray and put together an excavation kit. We used safety goggles, a toy wooden hammer, a toy wooden screwdriver and a paintbrush.
Ready for the dinosaur excavation
Now have fun excavating your dinosaur. We hammered and chiselled the plaster, brushing the dust off with a paintbrush. My son was very excited to see the dinosaur limbs emerging first. More hammering broke up the plaster and the dinosaur could finally be removed and dusted.