How to Make Your Own Dinosaur Dig With Plaster of Paris

If you have a budding paleontologist at home, make your own dinosaur dig with plaster of Paris. This project is inexpensive and simple to assemble, and you can put it together with easily-found household materials. Not only can the kids assist in making the kit, but once it is finished, it will keep their little hands busy for hours.

Things You'll Need

  • 8 cups play sand

  • 1 cup powder plaster

  • 1 cup water

  • Large mixing bowl

Make the Rock

Step 1

In the large mixing bowl, mix 8 cups of sand with 1 cup of plaster.

Step 2

Stir in 1 cup of water.

Step 3

Mix well by hand until all of the materials are well-incorporated.


Feel free to adjust the consistency to suit younger children. Reducing the amount of plaster and water to 1/2 cup each makes the rock easier to dig through, which might work well for younger children.

Choose the Dinosaur Fossils to Bury

You have a few different options for what kind of fossils to bury. Choose something that is appropriate for the age level and interests of the children who are playing with the kit.

  • Older children might enjoy finding small pieces of a complex 3-D puzzle to assemble.
  • Younger children might want to find whole plastic dinosaurs or dinosaur eggs.
  • Include isolated items such as clean chicken bones, small shells and colorful rocks.

Assemble the Kit

Things You'll Need

  • Rectangular plastic food storage container, 3.5-cup

  • Plastic toy dinosaurs

  • Toy dinosaur eggs

  • 3-D dinosaur puzzles

  • Shells

  • Colorful rocks

Step 1

Fill the plastic food container half way with the plaster mixture.

Step 2

Set the plastic dinosaurs, bones, puzzle pieces and any other materials into the plaster mixture.

Step 3

Fill up the rest of the container with the remaining plaster mixture. Make sure that all of the things you buried are completely covered.

Step 4

Set the container to dry in the sun for several hours.

Digging Up the Dinosaurs

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic spoon and knife

  • Paint brushes

  • Toy magnifying glass

Once the plaster mixture has completely dried, the kids can begin excavating the buried treasures. Give them plastic utensils such as a spoon and knife for chipping away large chunks. As they get closer to the items that are buried, encourage them to use a paint brush to carefully brush away the rock and sand. Explain that real paleontologists use brushes on a dig to protect fragile bones and fossils from any damage. Have them use the magnifying glass to examine the pieces as they find them.

Giving a Dinosaur Dig Kit as a Gift

You can creatively wrap up one of these kits to give as a gift, or make several and give them out as favors at a party.

Things You'll Need

  • Ribbon, jute or twine

  • Rubber bands

  • Small pieces of paper for tags, 3-inch-by-five-inch

Step 1

Once the plaster mixture has completely dried, put the lid on the container securely.

Step 2

Wrap a piece of ribbon, jute or twine around the container and tie it like a bow.

Step 3

Gather the plastic utensils, paint brushes and magnifying glass together with a rubber band. Slip them under the bow.

Step 4

Attach a tag with information about what will be found in the kit, such as a picture of the dinosaur or its skeleton.

References & Resources