We’ve played with Jell-O and we’ve excavated for dinosaurs, but never before have we excavated dinosaurs from Jell-O! This activity will appeal to kids of all ages. It was more of a sensory experience for my toddler, and a game full of imagination for my 6 year old!
The night before, I prepared one huge batch of vegan jel dessert from four packets. You can opt for a clear vegan jel but I didn’t have any on hand. Instead, I decided the yellow-orange of the peach flavor actually looked a bit like layers of rock and sediment.
Sprinkle the powder from all four packets over 1 and 1/3 cups cold water in a large Bundt pan, stirring to dissolve. Add any small plastic dinosaurs you have, then pour in 5 cups boiling water. Cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge overnight.
The next morning, I turned the Bundt pan upside down over a tray, and it wobbled right out. Now we had dinosaurs trapped in rock! For my future archaeologists, I set out a few plastic spoons and forks, a toy screwdriver to be a “chisel”, and pipettes. We also had a little dish of clean water to rinse the dinosaurs as they were unearthed.
For Veronika this was mostly sensory play. She loved spooning up the dessert (and the water) with the spoons.
But as she watched her big brother play, she began to take a few experimental pokes with a pipette.
She also took it upon herself to be the dinosaur washer! Whenever one was freed from the mold, she rinsed it in the little dish of water. I gave her a cloth to set them on, and she was soon engaged in “dinosaur bath” play.
Meanwhile, my older paleontologist was busy digging! Travis tried out all the tools. He loved stabbing at the mold with the screwdriver, or carefully using the pipette to pry layers of jel off a dinosaur.
It was fun whenever one was halfway free but a tail or leg was still caught! He would then use the spoon or fork to scrape away the final layers.
Then it was time to hand over his find to little Veronika on bath duty.
This activity kept them both so happy and engaged. Even better, there’s bound to be some dinosaur play directly afterwards, once all those little toys are freed, leaving you time to clean up any resulting mess!