Monday, May 18, 2015

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Salt Dough Coprolites

Making Salt Dough Coprolites is the perfect homemade dough activity for any dinosaur unit!  Preschoolers (and older kids!) love it!

It may be that my kids are the only ones who are fascinated with the idea of dinosaur poop...but it may be that your kiddos will love talking about it too!

Coprolite:  fossilized feces

The cool thing about dinosaur coprolites is that you are not just holding dinosaur are holding dinosaur poop that has turned into a rock!

Scientists can learn all kinds of information from coprolites...everything from the health of the dinosaur or animal to what their diet typically included.

Here is a picture of a real coprolite made by a meat-eating (carnivorous) dinosaur in Canada:

The scale bar in the picture is 15 centimeters (or about 6 inches) long.  You can also find and/or buy coprolites that are much smaller.

Today, we're talking about making your own!  You can even use the process to simulate what happens in real life!

You'll need a simple salt dough recipe.  We used 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of water, and 2 cups of flour.  Just knead it together for about 5 minutes, and pass out chunks to your kiddos!

After they have designed their "poop," you can let it dry out (or place it in a warm oven for an hour or so) to mimic years of hardening and mineralization.  Finally, let your children paint it!  As a real coprolite is formed, the poop absorbs minerals from the environment until it hardens into a rock.  Those minerals can be colored, or not!

Some of the other things we had fun with was making poop like what deer, bears, and rabbits would make.  Each animal has a distinctive shape, and kids are fascinated by the idea of professionals who spend their entire careers studying animal poop!  This website has great information about identifying what kind of animal makes what kind of poop (also called scat).

If you want to learn more about dinosaur poop and coprolites, I love this book (it's a lot of fun for kids too!):

(Amazon Affiliate Link):

Also, if you'd like to buy your own authentic, certified dinosaur coprolites, I would love to recommend using Paleo Poop.  They are a small company that is delightful to work with who collects the coprolites from Canada and sells them at very reasonable prices.

Are you guys making salt dough coprolites?  I'd love to know!

And, today is this month's edition of the Best Sensory Dough Recipes!  

Be sure to check out these fun salt dough ideas and recipes:  

Galaxy Salt Dough | Lemon Lime Adventures
Salt Dough Memories | Study at Home Mama
Scented Salt Dough Pendants | Raising Lifelong Learners
Salt Dough Seashells | Creative World of Varya
Salt Dough Flowers | Wildflower Ramblings
Salt Dough Coprolites | Preschool Powol Packets
Watermelon salt dough recipe| Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail
Microwave Salt Dough | In The Playroom
Nature Printing with Salt Dough | Squiggles and Bubbles

LEGO Salt Dough Paperweights | The Pleasantest Thing

I may share at any of these parties!

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