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Messy Mondays: Dinosaur Excavation

Josiah is pretty certain he's going to be a paleontologist when he grows up.  Not only can he name dozens of dinosaurs but he can tell you tons of facts about each one - like if they are a herbivore or carnivore. Instead of riding his bike or playing ball, he has spent the summer discovering "fossils" around our yard.  He's quite satisfied with pretending our broken sidewalk is fossils but I thought I'd try my hand making it a little more realistic. So last week we buried and excavated a toy dinosaur.
Burying the dinosaur
1- water, 2 old plastic bowls, plaster of paris, coffee grounds, dollar store dinosaur, Cooking Spray 
2 & 3-  mix plaster according to instructions adding coffee grounds
4- pour 1/2 plaster in to bowl, wait about 3-5 minutes until plaster is thick, 
spray dinosaur with cooking oil & set in plaster, pour remaining plaster over dinosaur, let set over night

** before using Plaster of Paris: make sure you throughly read the instructions on the container, since it can cause 
injury if not used properly.  You may also noticed that Micah was missing for this activity - that's because he still
 eats everything and Plaster of Paris is not something to be eaten, or even tasted.  
The excavation
Tools: hammer, chip brush, safety googles
This was very serious business, no smiles, no giggles, just complete focused on his "work"
The reward
Still all business

It was a lot of fun watching Josiah do this activity, as he was very focused and precise the entire time.  He would hit the plaster with his hammer a couple times and then careful brush the dust away examining for any exposed bones. We'll definitely do it again sometime with just a few adjustments.  I added the coffee grounds to make it a more interesting color and to hopefully weaken the plaster, next time I think I'll add a lot more grounds and maybe another aggregate like sand.  The plaster was still pretty solid, which kept Josiah busy for awhile. Daddy eventually helped with the big hammer.  Josiah was happy focused the whole time but I'd like to make it a little easier to get to the dinosaur.  For a budding paleontologist it's a perfect activity.  
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  1. Love it! Thank you for sharing this at our Weekly Playdate at beneath the Rowan Tree~ I am featuring it this week, so pop over, snag a featured button and join in again!


  2. I like excavation activities! first time I've seen it with plaster of paris - what a great idea - it seems more real this way!

  3. Oh, wow this is awesome!! I know my son would love to do this. Thank you for sharing and linking up!!


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