Playing Palaeontologists . . . And A FREEBIE!

My kinders are totally ‘diggin’ studying about dinosaurs.  One of the highlights of our learning centers is my ‘other’ sand table (I told you sometimes I have to break out two because there’s so much I want to do). 
I know many of you have a difficult time justifying your dramatic play and sensory/sand table to your administrators, but I feel blessed NOT to have that problem. 
This particular center appeals to my naturalist who love to deal with dirt, dust, sand or any other natural products as well as to my kinesthetic learners who love to move and touch and this particular activity is a favorite of logical intelligences who like to figure things out. 
I made a bunch of these ‘dino stones’ for my kinders.  The stone is just a concoction of sand water and plaster of paris that dries rock hard.
It’s my kinder palaeontologist’s job to discover what is buried in the rock using craft sticks, paint brushes and safety goggles of course.
It’s fascinating watching them go to town on one of these little rocks.  They work and work and work . . . digging and brushing until they get a glimpse of any sign of ‘something.’  The rocks are JUST hard enough to keep them engaged and occupied for sometimes up to 20-30 minutes but not so hard that they become frustrated and quit. 
If and when they are able to release the dinosaur from it’s stony sleep, they get to keep their prize. 
So you want to make your own ‘dino stones?’  It’s easy and I have some step by steps to show you how. 
First here is everything that you’re going to need:
A box of plaster of paris (you can get it at Home Depot for like $6.00 I think)
Some little toy dinosaurs
Rubber Gloves
Little mast (optional)
9 oz paper cups
Make sure you check out the label of the plaster paris for warnings about fumes/dust and all that important stuff.  I have never had a problem with plaster of paris but I always wear gloves.
Before you get started, get your paper cups and dinos out and make sure that they fit.  Some Dixie-type cups are too small for the dinos.  That’s why I choose the 9oz ones.
You can use any kind of container to measure, but just remember, you will need 2 parts sand to one part plaster of paris and one part water.
First mix the plaster of paris and water together in your mixing container.
Careful not to make alot of dust by just dumping it in.  Kind of take it slow and easy.

Next mix in the sand.
Once it is mixed up, go ahead and fill your cup so it covers up your dino.
You can see his little head popping up (help me . . . help me!)
Once they are all covered up, leave them alone for 1/2 day or so to start drying out.
Once they start to set up . . .
you can peel the cup off from it. . .
And then let them dry for a couple of days until they are good and hard.
Make a couple dozen of these, one for each child, and let your little paleontologists have a ball.
Oh yeah . . . and a freebie.  Because so many of my teaching pals love a good old fashion I-spy and have requested I expand my I-spy horizons to include math concepts, I now have an addition and subtraction version of I-spy for your ocean theme.  Click on the picture below to get tier one on this freebie which addresses common core standards for math.
If your interested in other items like this, please check out my TpT store (you can click on the link below).  There’s actually a sale going on right now through May 8th.  TpT is giving you 8% off with their TAD12 code and everything in my store is an additional 20% off. 
Thanks for stopping by…

Marsha Moffit McGuire

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