Perfect for a warm Spring day, and lots of fun to boot, try setting up an archaeology dig site for your kids! Captain, like many 5 year olds, loves dinosaurs and digging in the earth. She asked me to set up this dig site for her, and it was terrific fun.
Plastic dinosaur bones (preferably the ones that snap apart so that the dinosaur can be reassembled at the end.) Or, for younger kids, solid plastic or rubber dinosaurs (no assembly required)
Digging tools like little shovels and a spade
Different sized paintbrushes
2 paper signs for the dig sites. I recommend doing 2 separate sites, even if they are close together, if you have the space. This mimics “real” archaeology, as there are often multiple sites in the same area. I made signs that said “Archaeology Dig Site #1 of 2” and “Archaeology Dig Site #2 of 2”. This was the perfect time to show Captain what 1 of “any” number means. I explained at the site that it is like when you receive multiple packages from one source and they are marked in this way to keep track of how many there is total. She got it immediately.
Go outside, without the kiddos, dig some holes and plant the bones/dinosaurs. Be sure to count the parts so that you don’t lose track of them! Tape a little sign on a tree, or lay it on the ground, to mark the two sites.
At the site, encourage the kids to dig first with stick, shovel or spade. When they discover a bone, they can use the paintbrushes to remove dirt. Explain (if they don’t already know!) that when an archaeologist gets close to a fossil, they are extremely careful to not chip or break the piece. Brushes and other tools might be used for a very long time to ensure that no damage is done to the relic. After each bone is discovered, Captain carried it over to a separate area so that it didn’t get stepped on. This collection-area is where the bones will be identified, photographed, and reassembled.
We took turns taking photos as there is ALWAYS a photographer at the site. Here at the collection area, Captain is assembling a triceratops.
I found all the pieces Mom!
I was surprised at how much time Captain took with this activity. We talked about fossils, relics, and what kinds dinosaurs could have walked the earth, in our area, millions of years ago. We are currently saving our money (Captain donated her Scooby Doo wallet full of coins :)) for a trip next summer to a real archaeology dig in Utah. We can’t wait!
You can find some fun archaeology (Egyptian) worksheets & coloring sheets here at schoolexpress.com. Dinosaur coloring pages can be found at EducationalColoringPages, and dinosaur craft ideas and coloring pages can be found at DLTK’s crafts for kids.
I hope you have fun setting up and digging for bones with your kids. It is wonderful family time and exciting for imaginations!
Ancient, dusty, good thoughts to all,