Have you ever brought home a few stones or shells from a fun day fossil collecting at the beach or countryside only to find they get in the way until you throw them in the bin?
Fossil Collecting: In The Garden
- for li’l ones, put your found treasures in the sand pit to find over and over again. Fossil gold!
- to encourage imagination and language, create mini landscapes: get a solid tray with sides, some sand, your rocks, a few plastic dinosaurs, some cuttings from garden pruning and recreate the Jurassic world over and over again
- Plant some bulbs, seeds, alpines or small perennials in a tub and add the rocks for a mini garden – and maybe toy dinosaurs for fun!
- Put the cleaned rocks or shells in a strong glass vase or goldfish bowl with some water – everyone knows rocks look even better when they’re wet. Add goldfish?
Fossil Collecting: Art and Crafts
- Draw the rocks, encourage your young artists to really notice what they see. Draw their attention to different angles. Try and offer mixed mediums for them to use: paint, biro, pencil, felt pen. If you get a drawing book (often cheaply available), they can make a whole collection.
- Cut colourful patterns out of old mags and stick them together to make a collage and recreate the rocks and landscapes you saw on your day out. Use PVA glue, which dries clear and varnishes at the same time.
- Put any textured finds under tracing or baking paper and try some fossil rubbings with the edge of a soft pencil. Some fossils will work better than others for this.
Fossil Collecting: Scrap Books
- Write about the day’s fossil collecting – start with a caption for each picture. Prize for the best ‘story’, comic strip or poem about your day out.
- Make a fossil collecting collage or scrap book to keep the photos, drawings, poems, captions, writing, names of the identified fossils …
Internet, books and Follow-up Trips
- take them along to your local museum who may be able to help.
- Many museums are free and have fantastic fun kids activities. Why not spend a day there?
- try the local library – or these great playing cards, from www.Wildforms.co.uk below
- Send a photo to our facebook page and we can get our resident paleontologist (fossil expert!) to identify your finds.
Top tips from fossil collecting parents:
- criticising is a kill joy
- when you pay attention to what the children are up to and say, eg ‘wow, I love the scales you’ve drawn on red one, I can just imagine how ferocious it looked’, how you are rewarded by their amazing replies!
- its lovely when you look back on writing that is full of spelling mistakes and funny expressions…
- if learning feels delicious, children will concentrate longer and return to it more often of their own accord.
- avoid messy activities in rooms that matter because you’ve learned that anxiety gets in the way of happy memories!
We share several fun fossil collecting activities for children to enjoy when they are back home with the rocks (as well as other blogs with ideas for adding your rocks to your home and garden decor , blogs on how finding fossils…
Share some photos of your children’s projects on our facebook page? We’d love to hear how you got along and we might even find the odd fossil prize for what we enjoy!