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Fossils & Extinction Activity for Kids

Make Your Own Fossil DIY

  • Duration: 30-60 min
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Cost: $0 to $10

Model the formation of a fossil, which provides evidence of past life!

Material List

  • 1Large ball of modeling clay
  • 1Box of plaster of paris powder
  • 1Cup of water
  • 1Paintbrush
  • 1Toy dinosaur
  • 1Pair of non-latex gloves
  • 1Plastic knife (not sharp)
  • 1Cup of cold coffee (optional)


  • 1Flatten a large ball of clay into an oval that's about half an inch thick.
  • 2Press a toy dinosaur (or any other item) firmly into the clay.
  • 3Remove the toy, leaving a clear imprint in the clay.
  • 4Use the non-sharp knife to cut away the edges of the clay.
  • 5Reuse this clay to build a short wall around the imprint to make a mold.
  • 6Ask an adult to mix water with "plaster of paris" powder (follow directions on the package).
  • 7Pour plaster into the mold to fill it.
  • 8Wait at least 2 hours for the plaster to set (follow directions on the package).
  • 9Gently remove the clay.
  • 10Optional: brush some cold coffee on the surface to make it look real.

How It Works

Real fossils are covered by sediments (mud or sand) and take thousands or millions of years to form. Some fossils are formed when an animal makes an imprint in the sediment and then other sediments settle into that impression to preserve it. The same thing happens in this activity when the plaster fills and preserves the impression of the dinosaur.

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