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Teach Your Preschoolers About Dinosaurs with this Fun Salt Clay Fossil Activity

written by: Cyndee • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 8/2/2012

A preschool dinosaur themed lesson plan would not be complete without an introduction to fossils. Use this salt clay fossil craft to further your students knowledge of the earth's past. They can experiment with different objects and imagine a world from long ago.

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    Clay Dinosaur Fossils

    When teaching your preschool students about the dinosaurs that roamed the earth many years ago, include this fun salt clay fossil craft in your lesson plan. Play Doh has always been a favorite activity for children, so they will enjoy manipulating the clay and making impressions of their very own fossil finds. Let them imagine and tell you stories about their fossils as they experiment with a wide variety of items to achieve their impressions.

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    Preparations for Creating Clay Fossils

    1. Save your chicken bones from a recent chicken dinner. Boil them to completely remove all meat. The bones will be just one of the fun elements used in this craft.

    2. Mix plenty of salt clay for your students to create fossils and extra manipulation play.

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    Salt Clay Recipe

    4 cups flour

    1 cup salt

    1 1/2 cups warm water

    In a mixing bowl, mix the flour and the salt together. Add the water a little bit at a time, you may not need all of it. Knead the clay. Add water if the dough is too dry and flour if it is too sticky. Store the clay in a Ziploc bag and keep in the refrigerator.

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    Clay Dinosaur Fossils

    Salt Clay

    Paper plates

    Rolling pins or fat dowels

    Package of small assorted plastic dinosaurs

    Chicken bones

    Shells

    Coins

    Nuts and bolts

    Bits of rope

    Sticks

    Paint

    Clear acrylic spray sealer

    1. Give all the kids a nice tennis ball sized amount of salt clay and a paper plate. Demonstrate how to knead the clay and warm it in your hands to make it flexible. If it's been in the refrigerator, it is going to be cold and hard.

    2. Place the clay on the paper plate and have your students pound and roll it flat with the rolling pin. A thickness of about a 1/2 inch is great.

    3. Scatter the plastic dinosaurs, chicken bones, shells, coins, nuts, bolts, rope, and sticks randomly in the center of the art table. Encourage the preschoolers to experiment with different impressions in their clay. Show them how they can erase the imprints to make new ones.

    4. When the kids are happy with their imprints, place the clay dinosaur fossils in a 200 degree oven until they have dried out. The thicker the clay, the longer it will take. It is best to wait until the next day to continue with this craft.

    5. Once the clay dinosaur fossils are dry, have your students paint them. Allow them to use their own artistic creativity for their masterpieces. When the paint has dried, seal them with clear acrylic spray.

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    Clay Fossil Activity

    After your preschool students have completed their clay dinosaur fossils, have them sit in a circle. You will need a ball of clay and the assortment of impression items. Choose an item and press it into the clay. Do this where the students can not see. Have them guess what object created the fossil. This can be repeated several times.

    This is a wonderful craft that will provide your students with easy success and a chance to explore their own creativity.

    Read a Dinosaur Theme and Lesson right here on Bright Hub!