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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Homemade Dinosaur Bones

We've definitely been feeling a little frazzled here between the hot and humid weather, a sick toddler, and several days cooped up in the house. Luckily, kicking off our dinosaur week is proving to be a great distraction.

Dinosaur books are something I've been collecting for a while now, so we officially kicked off the week by reading several different dinosaur books. Later this week we'll be creating a dinosaur bone excavation, and while I had planned on creating the bones, I realized it would be much more fun to get Big Brother involved.
Homemade Dinosaur Bones


These homemade dinosaur bones were easy to make and are proving to have more than one way to use them.


First I made up a batch of basic salt dough.
Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water and stir until almost fully mixed. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. 

Before we got to work we reread Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones by Byron Barton. With bold, colorful illustrations and simple descriptions the book tells how scientists find, dig, move, and reassemble dinosaur bones. We also looked through a handful of other books for a few ideas of what dinosaur bones might look like. 

We did not plan on creating bones with a specific dinosaur in mind (although with older kids this would be a really fun challenge.) Instead we worked on creating the pieces we were interested in. 

Even Daddy got involved on this project and worked on creating a few pieces. Our pieces ranged from claws and teeth, to backbones, and more. Big Brother even got excited about creating some dinosaur eggs. 

We filled one large cookie tray with bones and another small one. We then baked the pieces in a 250 degree fahrenheit oven for about 3 hours. 

When they were done baking we let them cool on the pan. We then carefully collected them into a container. 

I intended that we would set the bones aside to use later in the week, but Big Brother had other ideas. He quickly took the box and started using the bones as building materials. He worked to create different dinosaur skeletons for quite a while. Inventive and unique building play!







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15 comments:

  1. How lasting are these pieces? Will they "spoil" after a few days? Thank you for this great idea!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, because they are baked how long they last will depend on how you store them. If they get wet or if they are stored in a humid place, they will not last as long. But, if they are kept relatively dry they should be fine. We later buried our set in our sandbox and dug them out, and still played with them for a while (a few weeks) afterwards. Another idea is to lightly spray them with a clear acrylic spray paint and they will last even longer. We did that with our recent Salt Dough Play Food, and it's lasted over a month.

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  2. We made our bones this morning. Thanks for the great idea! My budding paleontologists were super into it.

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  3. What a fun use for salt dough!
    I can already imagine some of the creative uses for these...

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    Replies
    1. Salt dough is definitely becoming one of our favorite go to materials!

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  4. Hi There! Loved your post. I am a preschool teacher from New Zealand and would love to do this activity with our children. Can you please tell me how you made the bones exactly? Did you use a template or a mold? Thanks. look forward to your reply.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Krishna, I'm so glad you're thinking of doing this activity. We made the bones just by looking at a book and using our hands to mold and change the dough. We were able to make quite a lot of the bones just by rolling long pieces and pinching the ends. The pictures show some ideas, good luck!

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    2. Thank you Kate. I might try and make them this weekend. Just need to find a good book now! Even though we don't have a lot of dinosaur fossils in New Zealand, children are still interested in them! NZ is a very young country!

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  5. This is fantastic, I have so many children at nursery who will enjoy this activity. It meets a lot of their key interest. Thank you.

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  6. Hi I just wanted you to know I loved your Homemade Dinosaur Bones! So I added it to my 25 Dinosaur Crafts inspired by The Good Dinosaur .

    In addition, I included a 125 x 125 image of your project in a collage
    Here is a link to the live post.{ http://wp.me/p5fCk4-cqt } If you don't wish for me to share you work with my fan. Please email me and I will remove you :).

    Have a blessed day,
    Kathy

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  7. I am making this for my son's birthday party tomorrow. I was wondering if I could make the dough tonight. Then let the kids make the bones in the morning. Will it keep in the refrigerator

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    1. Hi Kimberly, I happen to be on tonight, so glad I saw your message. Yes, I think as long as you seal the dough in plastic and then put it in the refrigerator it should be okay. You may want to check the texture before you do it with kids and add water if it's too dry or flour/salt if it's too sticky. I hope it works well for the birthday party (it does take a long time for the bones to dry out.) Enjoy!

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  8. Hi!!!! I love this activity. My son loves dinosaurs and we are doing some activities based on them.

    I would love to make this activity for him, but I have a doubt. Has to be baked for three hours? Is that really necessary? Couldn't they be done in less time?

    Thank you!!!

    Leila

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  9. Hello! I am interested in using this for my Summer Camp. I'm asking about quantity and size of batch. I know it depends on how big they make the bones, but would one batch be enough to make a "complete" dinosaur? Let's say the drawing they will be copying from is about the size of 9x12 construction paper-like how your son is building on the black paper in the last picture. They won't want to make each vertebrate or each rib, but I want to make sure I have enough ingredients for them. Or would 1 batch be good for 2 kids?

    Thanks so much!

    Abby

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    Replies
    1. Hello Abby! I would think that with this batch you could get several dinosaurs made as you described them (dinosaurs that would fit on a 9x12 sheet of paper.) I would bet that if you gave each kiddo 1/4 of a batch they would easily be able to make a complete dinosaur as long as they rolled the bones out kind of thin.

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