Science girl has decided that her major professional interests are learning toward paleontology of the late – so much so that we are in full roar around here in terms of dinos, digs and – of course – fossils.
We’ve spent most of the Summer on the hunt for the coolest rocks and the collections that now grace the tiny person’s room (we’ve made a whole lot of these shadow boxes) are bordering on nature overrunning sleeping space.
One of the most fun things that we’ve taken up is heading out to the beach or the river, collecting rocks and then spending some time seeing which ones break and which ones don’t. That’s how we got started with fossils – that one amazing rock we found on the Puntledge River that – when we cracked it in half – had the fossil of a cray fish in it.
Recreating that at home didn’t seem very realistic unless she wanted to finish this craft when she was 70.
But, then I was cruising the craft aisle, spotted a bag of plaster of paris and thought this whole homemade fossil thing may have a chance after all.
The great thing about kids is it really doesn’t have to be perfect, just fun, and this project was just about the most fun we’ve ever had doing crafts together.
Here’s what you need:
- Foil pie tins (small and large) or reusable pie plates, large cupcake tins or other dishes that have flat bottoms and are fairly shallow,
- At least three small bags of plaster of paris,
- Measuring cup,
- A collection of things from nature to “fossilize” (Don’t use things that you want to save. The plaster doesn’t come off easily), and
- Paints if you want to decorate them more
1. Head outside and do some collecting of leaves, seeds and other natural finds that have lots of texture, but can either lay flat or make an impression without being too bulky.
2. Mix up all of the plaster of paris, using only about 3/4 of the water it calls for. You want it to be thick.
3. Spread out all of your pans and fill each of them with about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of plaster of paris and let set up for a few minutes until it is a little firm.
4. Press your “fossils” into the plaster and let them set up for about 5 more minutes.
5. Carefully peel back the “fossils” to reveal the impression and then let dry for 20-30 minutes.
6. They are very cool without any paint. But, for those who need a little more color in their lives, bust out the paints and make a real impression (hehe).
Paired up with the very cool Usborne Nature Trail Rocks, Minerals and Fossils book (we found it at Planet Kids) that never seems to leave our side these days (along with dino dino the T Rex and a collection of dino skeletons courtesy of the Courtenay Museum) this fossil making adventure is something we could recreate every day and science girl would never be bored with (a tall order).
Plus, it’s fun to get plastered:), the kid kind of course:)