As part of our Dinosaur Dig experience with Mother Goose Time we made fossils using a coffee based dough. The kids got a huge kick out of making the dough, creating their very own fossils, and watching them bake in the oven. The fossils turned out well and the kids were able to identify which objects made which fossils.
The dough can be made ahead of time, but was simple and safe enough for the kids to assist.
- My five year old measured the ingredients and mixed the final product, since it can be tough to stir.
- My four year old poured in all but one of the ingredients.
- My two year old poured in the flour and mixed the dry ingredients.
Fossil Press Dough Ingredients
- 1 cup of coffee grounds (our coffee grounds were dried and used)
- 1/2 cup cold coffee (we used closer to 3/4 cup, because our dough was too dry)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
Fossil Press Dough Instructions
Combine all dry ingredients (coffee grounds, flour, and salt).
I let my youngest mix these ingredients together to let him be a bit more involved.
Pour the cold coffee and then mix and stir until you have a dry, but cohesive dough.
The dough started pretty dry and we used our hands to mash it together. Ultimately, we added a little more cold coffee (~3/4 cup total) to get a dough that wasn’t sticky, but would still hold together when rolled into a ball.
Fossil Press Instructions
Have the kids roll the dough into small hand sized balls.
Mama Note: Reserve some time for just playing with the dough. The kids had fun pressing objects into the dough and then rerolling and repressing for about half an hour.
- What object do you want to press into the dough?
- What do you think will happen when the dough dries?
- What happens if you press hard? Lightly?
Select an oven safe object like coins or paper clips and press them into the dough.
Bake in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.
Mama Note: We used parchment paper on a baking sheet with success.
Let them cool and then remove the objects to observe the fossils.
Mama Note: The kids may need some help removing the coins or other oven safe object from the dough. Too much rough handling can result in the dough breaking or separating.
The kids had a great time making and playing with this dough. I was grateful to make use of old coffee grounds and left over coffee. The dough itself was fun and smelled great. The kids were happy to just play with the dough for quite some time.
We did need to add a bit of extra cold coffee to our dough to get the right consistency. Too much coffee would likely result in the dough being too sticky and unpleasant to work with, so add any extra slowly.
The “fossils” worked well once removed from the oven and allowed to cool. The outside of the “fossil” was gray and looked a lot like dirt. My son even said, “Look, Mom, we made our very own dirt.” LOL
Once the coin was pulled out the “fossil” was dark and consistent with a coffee ground color. The impression of the back of the coins from the quarter and the dime were the most detailed. The kids got a kick out of being able to identify which fossil was created from each coin.
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What dinosaur activities are you enjoying with your kids?
The image below is perfect for pinning to Pinterest for later!