Fun With Fossils

Summer is a great time for some informal science and archeology fun.  If you’ve ever had an opportunity to travel to an area of the country where there is sedimentary rock layers and turned over a few of the rocks, you may have found some ancient fossils imprinted on them.  If not, you can engage the kids in this “make your own fossils” activity.

Go to a sandy area near water.  The BEACH is perfect for this.  State Parks with a lake or beach area works well, too.  Gather up a few natural items such as shells, leaves, discarded crab carcasses, claws, dead bugs, sticks, bumpy stones  and the like.  Fill a bucket with water or move to an area of the sand that is already wet.  Press each object into the wet sand. Remove carefully and VOILA!  A fossil impression that’s picture worthy.  Take a few photos and try another item. You could also capture bird and animal footprints from creatures that have run along the shore line.  Try your own hand and footprints as well. 

Once you get home, and for those who want a bit more challenge, get some Playdoh Model Magic clay that will air dry. THIS time, when you press an object into the rolled out clay, you can save the fossil by letting it dry. If you poke a hole in one end with a drinking straw, it will allow you to hang each fossil for display. Paint them with water based paints and they become works of art.