All About Dinosaurs!

I originally published this blog post back in 2014. I was updating my category lists for my blog and stumbled upon the post, and I’m planning on doing a DIY dinosaur dig with Sullivan and Poppy soon. I hope your dinosaur loving kids love this activity!

I have a dinosaur obsessed little boy. It all started when he discovered Dinosaur Train on PBS. He loved watching and naming the dinosaurs, so I started brainstorming hands-on ways I could teach him more. I started off by buying him a few things from Amazon.

I love, love, love the National Geographic Kids line of products. They are so well made, easy to understand, and very educational products. I purchased the National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs. The text is very easy to read (beginning readers could read to themselves) and is written in a way that even the youngest readers can understand. Cooper and I read the book together, and we used the play set below to match up dinosaurs to their names.

I also purchased the Animal Planet Big Tub of Dinosaurs. It’s a 40 piece set that comes in a storage tub. It contains a variety of dinosaurs, a printed mat, trees, rocks, and volcanoes. Cooper was really happy with this, as you can see! Update: this set is still going strong three years later. It is played with frequently around here!

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After reading some reviews, I also ordered the My First Dino Kit. This kit encourages hand and eye coordination and observation skills as kids become paleontologists. It comes with a fossil block and excavation tools. I also loved that it came with a booklet of discussion questions and activities.

After we got these items and started to play with them, it dawned on me that I could make my own All About Dinosaurs! DIY Dino Dig at home.

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You’ll need the following supplies:

  • 3 boxes of cornstarch ($1 per box at the grocery store)
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Plastic dinosaurs (I used the Assorted Dinosaur Fossil Skeleton from Amazon but after I ordered them I discovered dinosaur fossils at The Dollar Tree) (Cost = $3-$8) (If buying at The Dollar Tree, you will need multiple packages)
  • Plastic container ($1 at The Dollar Tree)
  • Excavation supplies – I used a paintbrush, magnifying glass, and a Popsicle stick

dinodigDirections:

  1. Pour the three boxes of cornstarch into your container. Add an 2.5 cups of water and stir vigorously to remove clumps. Add more water as needed until the cornstarch is a smooth, thin consistency.
  2. Add in your dinosaur fossils.
  3. Set it outside to dry (or in your garage if you are expecting rain). It will take 24-48 hours to fully dry.
  4. As the cornstarch dries, it will shrink, and water will pool at the top. Check the container every 8 hours or so and pour off any excess water.

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When your DIY Dino Dig is fully dry, you are ready to excavate! I did this outside as it is super messy. I laid down paper on our outdoor table and carefully popped the block out of the container. I laid out a few supplies – a paintbrush, a Popsicle stick, and a magnifying glass. Then I told Cooper to go to town. He broke up the block with the wooden stick and then started chipping away at the dinosaur fossils. Once they were free, he brushed them off with the paintbrush.

This was a fun activity for a dinosaur loving child!

I would say this activity is best for ages 3-6. The younger the child, the more assistance they will need in this project. Older children can participate by excavating and labeling each dinosaur as it is freed!

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