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  • Writer's pictureOur Playful Learning Journey

Dinosaur Fossil Dig - Make your own DIY fossils

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Make some fossils with your child to use for this fun dinosaur dig play tray, perfect for a little dinosaur lover!

Pretend Dinosaur fossil play tray fof kids. Sand,  dinosaur figurines, clay dinosaur fossils in a sensory play tray for children.
Dino fossil dig - A fun sensory play idea!

Calling all future paleontologists .... or just your little dinosaur loving children! This is a fun craft project and sensory play invitation all in one. Inviting your little one to help make the fossils is just as much fun as digging them up!

Our dinosaur fossils were inspired by @ncmummabird on Instagram. They used salt dough to make their fossils. You can see her dinosaur dig play tray on her Instagram page.

* Please note: Play idea for ages 3+ as small parts are a choking hazard. Always supervise your child when working with clay and playing. All play was supervised.

How we made our dinosaur fossils:

We used air dry clay to make our fossils. We bought our air dry clay from Spotlight. You could also make homemade salt dough.

You will need:

  • Air dry clay

  • Baking paper

  • Rolling pin

  • Small dinosaur figurines

Steps to make your fossils:

  1. Roll out the air dry clay between two sheets of baking paper.

  2. Use a cutter to cut out shapes for your fossils. We used an egg shaped cookie cutter.

  3. Get your child to choose some of their mini dinosaur figurines and press them into the clay.

  4. Put onto a tray on baking paper and leave overnight to dry.

  5. Once the clay is dry, you can set up ready for some fun dino themed play!

Homemade DIY dinosaur fossils used in a play tray with sand for kids.
The fossils work well in sand for a fun play tray.

Setting up a sensory play tray

For a fun dino dig sensory tray we used:

  • Sand tray in our Ikea Flisat table

  • Dinosaur fossils

  • Basket of dinosaurs

  • Scoop and little brush (our brush is Explore Nook brand, but a pastry brush from the kitchen would work well too)

Allow your child to explore this in whatever way they would like to play. Miss 5 buried the fossils in the sand and then found them again. She also got me to hide them for her.

Matching the fossils to the little dinosaur figurines, is another fun way to play.

DIY clay dinosaur fossils for kids. Play tray with sand and clay dinosaur fossils for children.
Add some sand and a brush to pretend to find the fossils

Dinosaur fossil play tray for kids using DIY clay fossils and dinosaur figurines.
The sand is perfect for hiding the fossils.


I hope you enjoyed this blog post and may even feel inspired to try and make some of your own dinosaur fossils with your child, or for your classroom.

and check out these free dinosaur printable pages if your child is learning to cut and trace.

Until next time, have fun learning in a playful way!

For more play and learning ideas, visit the homepage now.

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