Today’s STEAM Activity is making fossils! This is a perfect activity for any dinosaur loving kid.
This activity was inspired by our Lil’ Smore magazine that I shared in yesterday’s post. The magazine featured an article on how to make dinosaur fossils, and my kids wanted to try it right away! It was a fun activity for all of us, and we made our own modifications along the way to come up with the recipe I am sharing in this post.
- Dinosaur toys
- Large bowl
- Paint and paint brushes
- Measure and add 1 cup salt and 2 cups flour into a large bowl, then stir to combine them. Ask your kids to help you measure and count as you add ingredients.
2. Add 3/4 cup water while mixing the dough with a spoon until the materials are well combined.
3. Turn the dough out onto the counter or table and knead the dough with your hands until there are no lumps and the dough is smooth. If it’s dry and crumbly add more water and if it’s too wet and sticky add more flour.
4. Make the dough into baseball size balls of dough, then flatten into circles (try to get an even thickness, about 1/4” or less)
5. Press the dinosaur toy into the dough. You can press the side of the body, or the feet, or just one body part (like a tail or head and neck), whatever your kids want to do!
5a. Alternatively, you can mold the dough into the shapes of dinosaur bones.
6. If you want your salt dough to dry quickly, place the dough in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough is dry. Otherwise, you can leave it out in the summer sun for a day or two to air dry.
7. Paint the fossil to highlight the imprint.
STEAM CONCEPTS LEARNED:
- Science: Paleontologists find and study fossils. They also sometimes find foot prints and partial skeletons. We are making our own fossils to recreate what paleontologists might find on a dig. Salt dough is a chemical compound we made by combining salt, flour and water. When the water dries out the salt cements the flour together making the hard disk.
- Math: Always have your kids help you measure the ingredients. This is great math practice of fractions, counting, and addition.
- Art: Painting the fossil is great for practicing fine motor skills with the paintbrush and colors. Kids are also learning about sculpture when they shape the dough. Kneading and molding the dough into shapes and objects is fine motor skill and 3D spacial visualization practice. These are important technical skills for all STEAM disciplines.
Our original recipe from Lil’ Smore magazine used 5 cups of flour, and made enough for 5 large disks. This was too much for us, so I reduced the recipe for this post. If you want to make more you can double the recipe.
Have you ever made your own fossils? This was our first time making salt dough, and now I can’t wait to use it for other projects in the future!
What a great procedure to do with kids who love fossils! I am using this with kindergarten kids…starting with “what do you know about fossils”, then a “learning about what a paleontologist does” (complete with checking out tape measures, hammers, paintbrushes and flat edged screw drivers), to wrap up our study we will look at different kinds of fossils so kids will know if they are going to make TRACE or IMPRESSION fossils. Each child is getting about a tennis ball size of clay to use (1/8 c of salt and 1/4 c of flour plus water).
I’m so glad you found my site and are using this experiment with your kindergarten kids. Sounds like it will be an awesome activity, I hope they love it! My daughter is in kindergarten and she would be thrilled if her teacher did this activity with them.