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Naturally Educational » 1-2 (Toddler), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Science, Touch » Dinosaur Fossil Imprints in Salt Dough

Dinosaur Fossil Imprints in Salt Dough

We have a lot of plastic dinosaur figurines from our visits to the American Museum of Natural History and we enjoy trying to classify them.

For our most recent project, we turned them into dinosaur fossil ornaments.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup water
  • plastic dinosaur figurines
  • a little oil (any kind)
  • ribbon (for hanging the ornament)


1. In a large mixing bowl, pour in all of the dry ingredients. (We used 2 tablespoons of coffee and I think it was too brown. You can use less or none at all, depending on your preference.)

2. Pour in the water.

3. Stir.

4. Knead the dough into a ball.

5. Flatten the ball into a circle about 1/2 the thickness of your figurine(s).

6. Rub a little oil on your figurines (we used vegetable oil) so they will be easier to remove from the dough.  Press your figurine(s) into the dough. Press a finger, a toothpick, or a stick into the dough if you wish to have a hole for threading a ribbon.

7. Bake your salt dough at 200 degrees for about 90 minutes-2 hours or let your salt dough dry overnight.

And don’t forget to clean your figurines!  Even dinos need a bath!

Educational Connections:

  • Science/Paleontology: The dinosaurs lived long before there were humans.  How do we know anything about them? What part of the dinosaur was most likely to become fossilized? How do paleontologists find and excavate dinosaur fossils? What can we tell from their fossils?
  • Mathematics: Measure the ingredients before adding them to the mixture.
  • Art: When you can only see the filled-in outline of something, it is a silhouette.  How easy is it to identify the dinosaurs from just their silhouette? What details can you see? What is missing?
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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 1-2 (Toddler), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Science, Touch · Tags: ,

One Response to "Dinosaur Fossil Imprints in Salt Dough"

  1. aaah how funny.. this has been on our “to do list” for a long time!!! Yours turned out great!