Paleontologist Activities To Teach Kids About Fossils at Home!

Is there any kid who doesn’t love dinosaurs? It’s hard for them not to given the rise of major films like Jurassic Park and dissemination of information that’s come along with the internet.

Kids get really excited about dinosaurs for many reasons. First of all, they were around millions of years in the past. Second, they were in a bunch of different sizes, and finally, some of them have downright awesome names.

prehistoric fossils

The T-rex, or Tyrannosaurus Rx, is probably the most popular, although the Stegosaurs and Brontosaurus are also pretty well-known too. In truth, there were hundreds more than these, and scientists keep discovering evidence of even more. If you want to do a dinosaur activity with your kid, then including fossil study could be a part of that.

What is a Paleontologist?

Fossils are how scientists learn most things about dinosaurs. First, they find fossils, and then they study them. We call these scientists Paleontologists. Dinosaur fossils started finding dinosaur fossils back in the 1700s.

These fossils are in the forms of egg, bone, and footprint impressions made in rock. Fossils are physical remains or records of living things from the past. Fossil prints get preserved anytime the soft mud they were originally made in turns into stone.

Fun Fossil Activities at Home

One kid dinosaur activity you can do involves making a fossil of your own and classifying it. Do this by making a mold using plaster of Paris, along with an assortment of shells, sticks, and leaves. Mix water and plaster of Paris in disposable dishpans or buckets. If you don’t want the mess, Fossilicious specializes in educational fossil sets you can use for the classification part.

If you want to help your kid make your very own fossil, then you need the following items:

  • 4 cups plaster of Paris
  • 5 cups of water
  • Petroleum jelly
  • An assortment of sticks, leaves, and shells

Mix 1.25 cups of water and 2 cups of plaster of Paris in your chosen container. Spread out the plaster across the bottom of your pan until it’s around an inch in thickness. Wait for around 2 minutes so the plaster has enough time to set.

Coat your sticks, leaves, or shells, with the petroleum jelly, and then press them into the plaster of Paris just enough so they dent the surface. Let them sit a few moments before removing them. Then, let it set until it’s totally hard. This is now your mold.

Coat every mold or indent with petroleum jelly. Now, you can mix up your next batch of plaster for pouring into your molds. Let this plaster harden, and then separate your ‘fossil’ gently from its mold. If you can’t get them to separate with ease, then hold your pan upright before tapping it gently using a small hammer.

Kids should find dinosaur activities like this quite fascinating. If you’d like, do foot or hand prints following the very same procedure. Just make sure that your kid’s foot or hand is coated thick with the petroleum jelly. Now your kid can know what it’s like to be a paleontologist!