Never did I ever think National Fossil Day would be on my radar, but because I have two dino-loving dudes, it is now something we just HAVE to celebrate. We recently went to a dinosaur museum, and my boys bought (with their own money!) two chalky dinosaur egg "fossils." They loved them, but the eggs made a huge mess, and I was a little concerned with all of the dust particles flying around, especially for my not-even-three-year-old. (The age suggestion was something like 6+...oops!)
So a month later, we decided that making our own dinosaur eggs for National Fossil Day (October 14 this year) would be a great idea! This was not overly messy, didn't take long to do, and my boys enjoyed it!
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DIY Dinosaur Eggs
We make salt dough on the regular, so I didn't want to make salt-dough dinosaur eggs. That didn't seem special. I found a few recipes for coffee-ground dinosaur eggs, which is SO SMART! Instead of looking like smooth, whitish dough, these looked like legit rocks! I ended up combining a few recipes that I found, but here is one for reference.
Making these eggs was even easier than making salt-dough eggs, because there was no cooking necessary. Thanks to a cook-free method, my boys could participate a ton! They helped dump the ingredients in the bowl, stirred them up, and then shaped the "eggs."
The coffee grounds were definitely key here. I used about a half cup of already-used coffee grounds. This seemed to be a good amount because I have a child who can't stand the smell of coffee, but wasn't bothered by the coffee grounds in these fossils. Getting the right amount of water was a little tricky. If you add more water, they become a smoother rock. With less water, the texture is really pronounced.
Dinosaur Eggs Recipe
There are only five ingredients in these eggs. Some recipes I found don't use sand, but I think the sand is a great addition. It helps them crumble nicely when little fingers are digging for treasures.
- Large bowl
- Small plastic dinosaurs (4-5) (we used some similar to these)
- A cookie sheet
- Rubber spatula
- One cup flour
- 3/4 C salt
- 1/2 C coffee grinds
- 1 C sand
- 1/2 - 3/4 C water
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add water gradually to be sure you don't add too much. You can use a large spoon for this, but I think little hands mixing it up is best! Now you have a sensory activity!
2. Place about a fourth-cup of the mixture in your hand, and put a small dinosaur on top of it. Take another fourth-cup of the mixture and put it on top of the dinosaur.
3. Shape the mixture until it resembles an egg. Even Little Guy did pretty well with this part! Make about 4 or 5 eggs.
4. Place the eggs on a cookie sheet. Leave them there to dry for several days. Turn them over once or twice a day. You'll see the moisture rise to the sides of the eggs, so keep the moist side up so it can dry.
Cracking the Eggs
After four days of drying, our eggs were ready (or at least my boys were!) The fossils were still damp inside, but it made it a little easier for the boys to get their treasures.
I gave them little wooden chisels, paint brushes, and wooden mallets (we use these mallets ALL the time!) to crack open their eggs. After a few attempts, they both needed me to get them started. Once I made a little dent with the chisel, they were able to hammer and dig away to reach their dinosaurs.
This was slightly messy, but a quick run-through with the vacuum took care of it!
A certain little girl wasn't at home when we made these eggs, so we are going to make them again today. They are just so much fun!