One of the best parts about Valentine’s Day has GOT to be the cheesy puns 🙂 The other best part is getting a little bit crafty and making Valentines for the kids’ school parties, and this year, I am pretty excited about what I’ve come up with for Liam. So excited, I thought you might love them too and I created a little tutorial for how to do this yourself.Liam’s love for all things “dinosaur” started last spring/summer. One of the coolest projects he did (pretty sure it got captured during Week in the Life) was a Dinosaur excavation kit. It kept him entertained for DAYS!! So I did a little searching and came up with our very own Dinosaur Dig kits for this year’s Valentines 🙂
Each kit includes a heart shaped “dig” block with the pieces to a dinosaur skeleton (and a heart shaped gem) inside, a wooden dowel and paintbrush for the “excavation”, a magnifying glass to inspect their find, a little plastic mounting stand for assembling and displaying the completed skeleton, and a 3×4 card with instructions as well as an image of the skeleton pieces.
I purchased the magnifying glasses ($5 for 12) and skeletons ($7 for 12) from the party store, the paintbrushes ($3 for 25) and wooden dowels ($1 for 12 – 12″ dowels, cut down to 4″ each) came from the dollar store and the digging blocks were a homemade concoction.
Supplies you’ll need to make the digging blocks are a nontoxic dry plaster mix, sand, water and some sort of disposable mold. I picked up the heart shaped tins from the dollar store ($1 for 24).
Mix together two parts sand, one part plaster mix, and one part water.
It only took a few seconds to mix it all together for an even consistency.
Pour 2 big teaspoons into the bottom of the molds and spread it evenly.
Scatter your “treasures” throughout the mix. When I first came up with this idea, I was planning on just digging for a variety of colourful gems…something along the lines of “You’re a gem valentine” or “I treasure you”. Coming across the dinosaur skeletons was pure luck! The digging for gems would ALSO be awesome, but Liam’s all about the dinosaurs, so that’s what I went with this time around.
Top them off with more of the sand/plaster/water mixture. You’ve got two options here…you can let them air dry, or you can speed things along a bit in a warm oven. I chose to use the oven at 275 degrees for about 15 minutes and it worked beautifully!
When they come out of the oven, they’ll look pretty much the same as when they went in, but dry 🙂
Let them cool just a few minutes and then you can feel free to slide them out of the molds. Ours came out really easily! Once they had cooled down, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and assembled the rest of the kit. The assembly for this project is pretty kid friendly if you’ve got a little helper in the house. Liam helped bury the skeletons and sort out all the pieces of the kits by colour (that was his call). I did up the packaging and he wrote his name on all of them.
He was dying to test one of them out and it was so awesome!! He was just as excited to uncover the bones in this little homemade kit as he was with the big project he worked on last summer. He tried out some of the tools from his previous excavation kits, but the dowel we included in our kit actually worked the best.This is definitely a project I would do again! Happy Valentine’s Day!
What an awesome idea!! This is so creative. I would have loved getting this as a kid! Maybe even as an adult 🙂
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