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We did a really fun toddler excavation project this week that Kingston loved! Since he isn't at the age where he can understand gently digging up dinosaur bones or putting together small pieces, I wanted to create an activity where he could interact and grasp similar concepts at his own skill level. I made a dinosaur mold using Plaster of Paris and a plastic Triceratops mold I picked up a while back at Hobby Lobby on clearance. Yup, I'm totally the type of person who picks up items like that because I just "know I'll use them someday!"
After a day or so of drying, I buried the dinosaur in a small plastic bin underneath some craft sand. On top of the sand, I added some green plastic eggs with small dinosaur eraser figures inside of them. (We got our erasers in the party section of Target, but these are very similar!)
And of course, every great paleontologist needs their tool set. For Kingston, I stuck with soft brushes: a pastry brush, a toothbrush, and some MAC makeup brushes (because who's kid doesn't enjoy playing with insanely expensive makeup brushes?!).
He was so excited to dig in. At first, he didn't realize there was anything in the eggs, or anything under the sand. He removed an egg so that he could test out his brushes in the bin.
I asked him to open one of the eggs and see what was inside. These eggs were so good for his fine motor skills! He worked hard to pull them open. When he saw that there were dinosaurs inside, he was excited to open them all.
We spent quite awhile opening eggs, taking the dinosaurs out, putting the dinosaurs back in, closing the eggs and repeating.
This took some serious toddler concentration of course!
Once he was done with that, he went to work excavating his dinosaur. He did so well holding the different brushes and carefully moving the sand to see what was underneath.
He was really excited to discover his Triceratops! So excited in fact that we had to cover it back up and dig him out again.
There's nothing like putting sand in between your toes..
.. or giving your hair a nice "tooth"brushing!
Then we practiced counting and balancing the dinosaurs on the edge of the bucket. I couldn't resist giving him a few "dino roars" which sent him into a fit of hilarious laughter. He had so much fun being a toddler paleontologist for the day!