I have this terrible habit of leaving my coffee pot on overnight. Waking up to sludge. in the pot. For once this was a good thing to be honest. We are studying Dinosaurs this month and the kids are having a great time. I love to get hands-on with the kids and it’s no secret that I love coffee. So, naturally, I jumped on this coffee salt dough Dinosaur fossil lesson with the kids. This made a great addition to our overall dinosaur unit study that really held the fascination of the younger children.
Mother Goose Time sends me some of the cutest ideas. This dough will last a few days so we can pull it out a few times to really cement the lesson in. We could also let it dry and keep the fossils. Which I intend to do after the kids are asleep when we are done with the dough. Bake a bit and let them keep “fossils” of their own.
Fossil Press STEAM Station
This activity is one of the Dinosaur Dig themes Stem Stations. Using a smile coffee playdough children get to create their own fossils. Rather than baking our fossils, we discussed them so we can make them again a few times. I find repeating the activity a few times helps it stick more and this will make a great busy activity if I need extra hands for a few days.
What you need for homemade coffee salt dough:
- 1 cup coffee grounds (used are fine)
- 1/2 cup coffee (Here is where I got to use my coffee sludge from leaving the pot on)
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 cup flour
Mix everything in a large bowl until a thick muddy texture.
Make your Fossils
roll out the dough and press toys into the dough. In this case, we used dinosaur counters Mother Goose Time sent us as one of the two monthly manipulatives included in the curriculum. Press the toy into the clay and pull it out to discuss how the imprint is left behind.
For the older children, we discussed how these rocks formed and the bodies of the dinosaurs decomposed over many years leaving behind the imprint.
When we are done and I create a set of fossils for them to keep I will be pressing a coin from the year each was born into the homemade coffee salt dough and baking in the oven on 200 until dry as a fun keepsake for each child.
Talk about dinosaur fossils.
Playing with this project is the perfect time to discuss fossils with your children. How they are formed. How they are found. What can be done with them?
During the activity, Mother Goose Time suggests you ask the children what happens when you press objects into the dough?What happens when you press hard or lightly on the dough? What do you think will happen when the dough dries?