Dinosaur & Fossil Finding Sensory Box

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My daughter likes dinosaurs. She really likes them. I think this is largely because of the book ‘How do dinosaurs say goodnight?’. I am not sure, but regardless, she loves those crazy creatures. A few weeks back I took her to a dinosaur exhibit.





She of course loved it. There was a wide range of dinosaur related displays, rides & activities. One of the kid’s activities there was a sandbox with fossilized rock at the bottom. It had paint brushes to brush off the sand to uncover the fossils. Mai really enjoyed this. I thought this would be an easy enough activity to make a home. It took a few weeks, but today we finally tackled this sensory box & the results were great.


What you will need:


A large Rubbermaid container

Hardening modeling Clay – I made my own off of this recipe from Wiki- http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Modeling-Clay-at-Home

Play Sand

Paint Brushes

Corn Starch

Dinosaur figurines

An old sheet or a drop cloth



Get your molding clay ready. Knead & roll out to the desired shapes.






Using your dinosaurs make imprints into the clay with their feet & their bodies.





Let your clay harden according to it’s recipe directions or package directions.





Once your imprinted clay is hardened & cooled, place at the bottom of your Rubbermaid container.





Pour play sand on top of your clay imprints. I mixed the sand with cornstarch to lighten the texture of the sand.





Add your dinosaurs and paint brushes. Lay down an old sheet or drop cloth to collect any sand that may escape.










Brush the sand & reveal your fossils.





My adorable daughter is showing me the mama dinosaur holding her baby dinosaur. So cute!





This is fun!





Mai loved this activity. We played with it after supper & up until bath time. She was so deep into her new role as archaeologist that mommy was able to bake, do the dishes & pick up all of her toys. It was a good night. Mai even helped mommy sweep up after.




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  1. What a clever idea and I know this is an activity most children of various ages would enjoy. It is a great way to introduce Paleontology to older kids too.

  2. That is awesome that she loves dinosaurs! Maybe she will be a paleontologist when she grows up! 😉 Wish they had exhibits like this where I live, my boys would love to see dinosaur stuff.

  3. Such a cute idea! When she gets older it might even be fun to make car tracks and then play a matching game to the wheels that made the track. I love that book as well; it’s so cute!

  4. This is a great craft idea! It’s educational and fun at the same time. Initially I thought “this would be cool but I don’t have clay” but then I was so excited to see that you included a recipe for making your own! I am going to try this out with my nephews who are Dino-obsessed!

  5. WOW! I absolutely loved this. What a great idea. Your daughter is adorable. I loved the pictures too, they really made it a journey seeing how the project went. 🙂

  6. My toddler LOVES dinosaurs (probably from the ton of dinos his daddy buys him!). This sensory box would be right up his alley! My only concern of course is him eating the dough…since he’s at the stage where everything goes in the mouth! Will have to give it a try nonetheless, thanks for sharing!

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