Dinosaur Fossil Excavation Sensory Activity with Edible Dirt

dinosaur excavation

I am so excited to share with you our last activity as part of Dinosaur Week on Love, Play, Learn. It had been fun, I hope you have enjoyed it. This is my favorite one so far and it was my daughter’s favorite thing we have ever done. She was so excited about it and played with it forever! In preparation for this activity we made dinosaur fossils and went to the Natural History Museum. This is great for toddlers who put everything in their mouth since the dirt is edible!

For this activity you’ll need:

  • Dinosaur fossils
  • “Dirt”- I used a box of chocolate cake mix, crushed oreos, and whole wheat flour
  • Plastic container (I bought mine at Target)
  • Brush (I bought a makeup brush at the dollar store)
  • Plastic shovel
  • Rocks (optional)

This activity:

  • Promotes exploration using the 5 senses
  • Great tactile experience
  • Builds fine motor development
  • Teaches observation and other scientific principles
  • Teaching opportunity for learning about fossils, excavation, and dinosaurs
  • Builds vocabulary

First put your fossils in the bottom of your container and then fill with your fake “dirt”. I used cake mix, crushed oreos, and whole wheat flour but you could use just one of these materials if you wanted. I loved the different texture each provided and the realistic dirt look that the combination of the 3 had. Then add your rocks (I washed them before adding).

Dinosaur Fossil Excavation activity


Then bring in your little Paleontologist and get to excavating!


dino excavation activity for kids



dinosaur excavation


When she found a fossil she knew exactly what to do and got her brush to dust it off. When she would find another one, she would very excitedly shout “There’s another one!”.

dinosaur activity


She cleaned them off like a pro. A future Paleontologist perhaps?


We talked about each fossil that she uncovered and we made observations about them.

dinosaur fossil activity


This was such a cool and educational activity. I was really pleased with how well it went over with my daughter and I loved how real the dirt looked and I didn’t need to worry about her putting it in her mouth. We will definitely be doing this one again.

TIP: For the mess use a “mess mat” for easy cleanup. I just use a plastic shower curtain liner. This would also be a great outdoor activity. 

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  1. Ashley says

    I’m glad I found this! We’re doing dinosaur week next week for the toddler class at my daycare. They will have so much fun!

    • Brittany says

      That makes me so happy to hear! I would love to hear about how it went, you can leave me a message on my Facebook wall!

  2. BethAnn says

    ty so much my students from my first and second grade autistic support class went to the natural science museum at Drexel in phila and I want to extend the lesson

  3. says

    My boys and I LOVE LOVE LOVE sensory play and I must admit that I never made any of the elements edible since I was trying to steer them away from putting everything in their mouths. But now that they are older, this is absolutely perfect for them, and a great way for us to survive the upcoming Chicago winter. Thanks so much!


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