At five foot nothing, when I am in close proximity to horses or cows, I can’t help but think, “These beasts are bigger than I thought they were”. I get the same “I-feel-very-small” feeling whenever we go to The Australian Museum and see the Dinosaurs Exhibit and the dinosaur fossils within.
You would think such gigantic things would send young children cowering. Any rational person could easily assume that dinosaurs, in the minds of young children, may be put in the same scary category as monsters.
Here’s where kids surprise you. Most kids love dinosaurs. My children can’t get enough of dinosaur fossils. Dinosaurs capture their imagination like nothing else, (except maybe superheroes). Give them a new book about dinosaurs and you’ll hear nothing but a zillion “What’s this one called? ” questions.
With dinosaurs, you can’t escape learning about fossils.
Learning about fossils is a great introduction to exploring history and the Earth’s past.
Young children should understand that:
- Fossils are preserved clues left from a plant or animal that lived long ago.
- Each fossil tells a story and helps us understand how life has changed on Earth.
- Fossils do not have to be bones or parts of plants, but can be many things, such as nests, footprints, and even animal droppings.
- Many fossils are preserved parts of living things that are extinct. Extinct means it is no longer living and none of its kind is left on Earth.
- Fossils can form in many ways, and the process takes millions of years.
- A palaeontologist is a scientist who studies fossils and the remains of all life forms.
Suggested Learning Experience: DIY Dinosaur Fossils
To make your own dinosaur fossils, you’ll need: toy dinosaurs; a small cup of instant coffee; 3/4 cup cold water, 1 cup flour, 6 tbsps of salt; a baking tray; and baking paper.
Mix the instant coffee, flour, salt and water together to make a dough. (The coffee smells so good!)
The dough needs to be wet, but not so wet that it sticks to your fingers.
Eye an amount of dough you think you’ll need for your dinosaur imprint.
Place the dough on top of the baking tray lined with baking paper and flatten it with your palm.
Take your dinosaur and press it gently into the dough to make an imprint.
Bake the DIY dinosaur fossils at low heat, (we did ours at 150C) for a few hours, (we took 3-4 hours).
Remove from the oven and leave to cool. The DIY dinosaur fossils will harden more when cooled.
N & M: 4 years, 4 months
E: 2 years, 3 months