Activities & Days Out / 23 August, 2019 / Nanny Anita

Do It Yourself Fossil Digs

EC got one of those fossil dig sets last year, and ever since he keeps asking if he can have some more of them. In my opinion they are great and would make a fab activity to do during the summer. I did one a few years ago when I worked for Disney Cruise Line. One of my “friends” was a palaeontologist who was digging up this giant whale that had washed ashore on Disney’s private island Castaway Cay. Basically this meant sitting out in the sun while lots of children tried to dig up the whale and find the missing teeth. To add some credibility to my character I had one of these fossil digs, and spent hours carefully excavating my tiny dinosaur bones.  I actually found it rather therapeutic.  Saying that, they are expensive, so I would rather make some myself for a fraction of the cost.

For the first set I made, I went through my little ones toy cupboards and found some plastic figures like a pig etc. For the second set I bought a few gems and fossils from the Natural History Museum (ranging from £1-£3) to bury.

Make sure you follow my homemade toys board on Pinterest for more ideas.  Don’t forget to save the pin for later.

To make your own fossil digs you will need:

  • Plaster of paris – I got some on
  • Smallish containers
  • Foil
  • Spoon
  • Something to bury
  • Bowl
  • Paint (optional)

Cover the inside of the containers with foil – this makes it easy to take the finished product out, plus it gives them a really nice textured appearance.

Line the containers

Line the containers

Make up the plaster of paris according to the instructions; I made mine up with slightly more water, that way the plaster would be softer and easier to dig through.

Pour some of the plaster into your contain, then add the “fossil” and finally cover it with some plaster and leave to dry.

Pour a little of the plaster in, then add the fossil

Pour a little of the plaster in, then add the fossil

Then add the rest of the plaster

Then add the rest of the plaster

To finish of the look, I gave mine a coat of brown/grey paint to make them look more like rocks.

Once they are ready, let your little one start digging. To dig them out I would let them use either a really stiff paintbrush or a thick toothpick; a bit like the ones used in manicures. Be warned it will create a lot of dust, so I would highly recommend doing them outside.

Happy Fossil Hunting!

Trying to excavate her treasure

Finally managed to dig up all her precious stone


It’s hard work being a paleontologist

Pin for later:

DIY fossil digs for your budding palaeontologist. Kids activity

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