I took my son to get a haircut the other day. He wasn’t really into going, so I *might* have bribed him just a little by promising him one of those little dinosaur excavation kits. (They sell them in the waiting area.) The kits are marked “7+ years”, but I knew he would enjoy it, if he could find the persistence to keep digging. We got two.
When we got home he was eager to start digging and was at it for a while. But, when he didn’t find pieces of the dinosaur “skeleton” quickly, he started to get discouraged,… stopping every minute or two to say “Mommy, this is hard.” I encouraged him to keep going. I said he could take a break whenever he wanted, that it might take some time to get to the “bones”…. but that he’d get there eventually. He chipped, scraped, and brushed…
Then… finally he found a “bone”! He was soooo excited!
He proudly announced every bone that he found after that! He excavated bone after bone and collected them in a cup until he found all 17 pieces. Then we assembled them to make the triceratops “skeleton”. (I wish I had a photo of the skeleton, but my son was too excited to stop and let me take any pictures at that point.)
While my son was playing archaeologist, I made some homemade playdough for my daughter so she could try making a play dough Mr. Potato Head. I saw this idea on Happy Hooligans blog and thought it was genius, especially since the real Mr. Potato Head can be a little challenging for little hands! Both of my kids loved it, actually.
The convergence of the dino excavation and play dough gave my son an idea. “Let’s use the play dough to put the skin on the dinosaur!” (“Brilliant!”, I thought.) We had to try. It wasn’t easy, but here is our triceratops with most of his skin. (It was tough to get it right around the head….)
In case you are wondering, the homemade play dough recipe I used can be found here. It’s very easy and makes a nice big softball-size ball of dough! The recipe is pretty forgiving, too. It mixed up perfectly the first time I did it; but the next two times it was too wet, so I just kept adding flour (a tablespoon at a time) until it was right. The play dough will keep for quite a while, if you store it in a ziplock bag or tupperware container. If you find it getting a little dried out, just splash a little water onto the outside and knead it a bit; it’ll be good as new! I even added some lavender oil to one batch to make a pretty-scented dough. Give it a try!