When children get involved in a Dinosaur Dig (in a sand pit) they develop sensory skills, language skills (to explain feelings) and fine and gross motor skills. A dinosaur dig also helps build muscle strength, encourages (and develops) turn-taking ability and persistence.
- Clam shell or built-in sand pit
- Plastic dinosaurs/fossils/bones
- Playdough (optional – see Extension of activity)
1. Dinosaurs/fossils/bones on the bottom of the clam/sand pit.
2. Tip in sand to cover all of the dinosaurs/fossils/bones.
3. Tell the children there are surprises under the sand!
4. Provide clues (or a map with pictures) on where the items are buried.
5. Encourage the children by asking, “how does the sand feel? What did you find? Do you know the name of that dinosaur?”
Extension of the activity
- Read books together on dinosaurs (e.g., I’m a Dirty Dinosaur).
- Talk about how the children might find many different bones and what those bones could be.
- Put the bones together to make a ‘dinosaur skeleton’ and then tell the children they are now ‘paleontologists’.
- When the children have completed the exercise, introduce some play dough and encourage them to make an impression of the dinosaur/fossil/bones in the dough. They have just created a ‘real’ fossil!