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Dinosaur Hunting

Updated on December 9, 2013

Lets Go Dinosaur Hunting

Once upon a time summer meant jumping in the pool, and grilling fablous hamburgers and hotdogs.

Actually, summer STILL means pool and grill, but now that I'm the mommy of an overactive boy summer also means coming up with ways to entertain the child outdoors that don't always end up in the pool.

A trip to a dinosaur show in 2012 gave me an idea. They had a "fossil" table where the kids could use paint brushes to uncover dinosaur bones. It was my son's favorite part of the whole thing. He lived it even more than the "living, breathing dinosaurs" that were all over the place!

And since his sandbox is his favorite place in all of our own backyard (just like the pool is his favorite place in his grammas backyard) I thought that it would be awesome fun to create his own FOSSIL PIT in his sandbox.

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All photos (excluding images on any module links) on this lens were taken by Winona Morris or Robert Morris (her husband) ©2013 to present

Dino-Mite Invitations

So, if you're going to have a dinosaur party, then you NEED dinosaur invitations, right?

The cards below are full of cute dinosaur fun, and can also be customized with your little dino digger's name and information!

Thousands of Dino Invites

If the cards above are not quite what you are looking for, you can visit zazzle for thousands of dinosaur card invitation options!

DINOSAUR INVITATION CARDS ON ZAZZLE

Fossils, Skeletons and Eggs

Oh My!

In this lens I'm going to show you 3 different dino crafts. All of them are suitable for a sandbox dinosaur hunting good time.

The first will be the "fossils." These will be impressions in salt dough (or air dry clay if you prefer.) Simple things like a footprint, or a face.

The second will be the "skeleton" where the child can uncover the "bones" of an entire dinosaur!

And lastly, but probably the most favorite of all involved, will be the "eggs." You can make one, or a whole nest of them, and each egg has a surprise inside!

Dinosaur Fossils

Who Has Been Walking Here

SUPPLIES

* Salt Dough (or any clay that gets hard)

* Toy dinosaurs, twigs, leaves, seashell and other things to make impressions

HOW TO

The kids love to help do this part, unless you want to keep the entire dig a secret.

Roll out whatever dough you are using. The thickness really is up to you just keep in mind two things. The dough should be thick enough to make an impression in and the thicker it is the longer it will take to dry.

So, after you have your dough rolled out, and cut or torn to shape the fun part starts.

Take the toy dinosaurs and press them into the clay. You can make a footprint or a face print. Push the whole dino's side into the dough, or just a part of it.

Then set aside to dry.

WHAT ELSE

After the clay has dried you can use brown paint to color it more like stone if you would like.

Bury the "fossils" in a sandbox or sandy play area. Give the kids and old paintbrush and have them gently "dig up" the fossils.

Have the children identify the fossils. Is that a t-rex footprint? Did a brontosaurus smash his face in the mud here? Get them to match up the fossils to their "living" dino matches.

Crayola Air Dry Clay

I didn't have any salt dough made up at the time I started in my fossil project, and was too impatient to wait until I had made some. Instead I used an air dry clay by Crayola.

The downside to this is it has a drying time of 2 to 3 days. The upside is that it is already there, ready to go, and that it WILL air dry so it doesn't have to be "cooked"

Dinosaur Skeletons

When you think of archeologists digging up dinosaurs, you picture them in the desert uncovering whole dinosaur skeletons.

SUPPLIES

* A sturdy base like a Wood plaque, piece of foam core or canvas board

* Picture of a dinosaur

* Glue (white glue like Elmers or Tacky glue work just fine)

* Uncooked pasta

* Sand, dirt or used coffee grounds (dry)

HOW TO

If you want it to last you'll need a hard base for this one. If this is going to be a "one time" toy you could get away with using construction paper as a base.

Take your dinosaur picture (I took one from a coloring book, but there are tons of images online) and glue it to your base. You could also transfer it by tracing it with carbon paper underneath.

Now that you've got your dinosaur on your base, give the kid a bowl of dry pasta, and a bottle of glue. Have them use the pasta to make the dinosaur's "skeleton."

Cover the background with a mixture of white glue and water (or Mod Podge would work well) making sure they don't get it on the "bones" and then cover it with sand. dirt or (dry) used coffee grounds. Let dry, then shake off excess.

And there you have your very own dinosaur sketon.

WHAT NEXT

Like the bones, this can be buried in a sandbox for them to "dig" up. Give them an old paintbrush and have them gently brush the sand off of the top so they won't "break" the skeleton, just like a real archeologist.

What Is Your Favorite Dinosaur? - Everyone, espically children, love dinosaurs. But there are plenty of grown ups who are still kids at heart and still have a f

What is your FAVORITE dinosaur?

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The first dinosaur egg fossils were found in France in 1869.

Still wet and shiny.  Freshly laid.
Still wet and shiny. Freshly laid.

Dinosaur Eggs

What Could Be In There

Unlike the fossils and skeletons I recommend that you make the eggs WITHOUT the kids. That way they will be 100% surprised at what comes OUT of them.

SUPPLIES

* Coffee Dough (paper mache or even old plastic Easter eggs could be used as well.)

* Small toy dinosaurs (or gems, or insects would work as well)

HOW TO

Make some coffee dough. (instructions can be found several places online, including in the links below!)

Take a small toy dinosaur.

Start shaping the dough AROUND the dino. Make sure all its parts are covered. Keep adding dough as needed, until you have made an egg shape around your toy dinosaur.

Now, set aside to dry. Drying can take 2 to 3 days. You can speed the process if you'd like by baking the eggs around 150 for 15 to 20 minutes.

I recommend waiting for them to air dry. JUST IN CASE the rubber dinos MIGHT melt inside.

THEN WHAT

Now, have a Jurassic egg hunt.

Build some "nests" underneath bushes. Set the kids free to hunt them down.

Once all the eggs have been found you can gather around to help them "hatch" and get the dino surprise from inside!

Dinosaurs Galore

If you need some dinosaurs for inside of your dinosaur eggs, here are a couple of options.

You can have some 6" skeletons for LARGE eggs, or the Mini-dinos for a nest full of smaller ones!

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    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 3 years ago

      FUN! We took the kids to Dinosaur National Monument one summer... they have a wall of Dinosaur bones that the kids can actually touch.

    • Mr-Klued-Up LM profile image

      Mr-Klued-Up LM 3 years ago

      Just want to throw an idea out there. The legends of dragons are in fact dinosaurs, because people have been talking about dragons for thousands of years, but in science the word dinosaurs were first popularized in the late 19th century.

    • noner profile image
      Author

      noner 4 years ago

      @ArtByLinda: Thank you. Things the whole family can do together are always the most fun.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 4 years ago from Idaho

      I love this lens, what fun for kids and adults alike to spend some family time dinosaur hunting.

    • noner profile image
      Author

      noner 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Sometimes you never grow out of a love of dinosaurs. My husband, and even myself to a smaller degree, are proof of that.

    • noner profile image
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      noner 4 years ago

      @Rhonda Lytle: True. ,Kids can learn so much and not even realize they fun they are having is a learning experience.

    • noner profile image
      Author

      noner 4 years ago

      @ctavias0ffering1: Glad you enjoyed the activity! Thanks for taking time to view my lens!

    • noner profile image
      Author

      noner 4 years ago

      @lbrummer: Yep, specially the coffee dough. They love getting dirty.

    • noner profile image
      Author

      noner 4 years ago

      @Linda BookLady: I hope your grandson has a blast at his party!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      This sounds like so much fun! I am thinking about my grandson's birthday and how I can surprise him...

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 4 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      Kids will love doing this craft. Great ideas!!

    • ctavias0ffering1 profile image

      ctavias0ffering1 4 years ago

      Great suggestion for a fun activity to keep kids occupied in the holidays.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Fun ideas and a great way to promote an interest in science!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I loved dinosaurs as a kid and still do. Great ideas!