When it comes to dinosaurs, there is hardly an Early Years setting that doesn’t dig up a bone or two at some point during the year. Wherever I go, dinosaurs never fail to capture the imagination of lots of children.
Imagine finding this box of goodies buried in your outdoor area!
all photos from and abcdoes project at Moor Park Primary find out more here
In most settings the dinosaur discovery starts with some bones or an egg. Bones are relitively easy to get hold of or make. Even if you haven’t got a collection of sheeps skulls and foxes jaw bones like me, you can usually lay your hands on some big bones from the butcher and boil them until they are clean, or have a go at making your own.
Eggs can prove a little more difficult and you usually have to resort to good old papier mache and a balloon.
What I was after was a more ‘realistic’ dinosaur egg that would have some texture, a hard shell to crack and then ‘something’ inside to be discovered. Although we know that some dinosaurs were HUGE not all were. So, I was looking for something that you could make bigger or smaller depending on your species!
What I have come up with is a playdough hybrid recipe that you can bake in the oven, so you not only get a hard breakable outer crust (or shell) but you also get a gooey inside that allows you to hide a mini dinosaur, bone or treasure for discovery!
This recipe will give you four eggs (roughly the size of a baking potato!)
1 cup of plain flour
1 cup of used coffee grounds (the used ground beans from a coffee machine. If you don’t have a coffee machine, ask at the large high street coffee retailers and they will usually give you as much as you can take away! They also make a great alternative to sand in your sand tray)
1/2 a cup of salt
1/4 of a cup of sand or soil
1/4 of a cup of water (to start with you may need more depending on how ‘damp’ your coffee is)
Something to hide inside your egg
What you do
- Mix all of the dry ingredients together
- Add the water and mix until you get a ‘dough like’ consistancy. Add more water if too dry or more of one of the dry ingredients if too wet.
NB – The stiffer you make your dough, the better it will hold its shape. If it is too ‘springy’ your egg will have a flat bottom!
- Take a handful of dough.
- Press your ‘find’ into the middle
- Shape like an egg
- Place on a greaseproof paper lined baking tray in the oven at 180 degrees for 35 mins (ish).
You need to extend or reduce the time depending on the size of your eggs. As long as the outside has gone hard and crusty, it doesn’t really matter about the inside.
Just keep giving them a poke until the outside of your eggs feels ‘rubbery’
They will harden up as they cool.
Once cooled, hide them and await the discovery!
The inside of the eggs stays hot for a while so be careful! Best leave them to cool overnight.
Even if you don’t make the eggs, the coffee grounds dough is good to try as it has a lovely grainy texture.
You could also use the same recipe to make ‘discovery stones’ and hide gems or even pieces of long lost writing inside them – the possibilities are endless!
I hope your dinosaurs all lay well! If they do, please send me a photograph and any additions/amendments you make to the recipe so that I can share the dinosaur love!