Family Program: Dino Dig

I got it together this year and planned out a family program to take place during Spring Break. I wasn’t sure how many people would come so I planned for quite a few people and had multiple stations for people to work at. It was a huge success! I had over 30 people come and everyone had a blast.


I lucked out with this one. A co-worker made some years ago at a different branch and they sent him the tub of fossils. There are a ton of fossil recipes out there. He couldn’t remember the recipe exactly but it’s 3-4 parts play sand to 1 part plaster of Paris with some water. Ours were made into disc shapes with little dinosaurs inside.

As you’d imagine this was the biggest attraction. Thankfully it was a nice day so I kicked everyone outside to do this. I gave them some bamboo skewers and paint brushes to break into their fossil. We have a good mix of people taking their time and people doing it quickly to get their dinosaur.

Being outside made clean up a breeze.

Dino Dig-Sensory Bin

I made quite a bit of colored rice and put them in multiple bins. I threw in some cheap plastic dinosaurs I bought and gave them some little cups I found in the storage closet. The youngest participants had a blast playing with the rice. We had many games of ‘Surprise!’ going on as we hid and discovered dinosaurs. Even some older kids (kindergarten +) got in on the fun.

For your sanity, make sure you set up the bins on plastic table cloths or tarps or something on the floor. Rice has a hard time staying in the bin. It was just easier for me to gather up the table cloths and dump them and the spilled rice in the trash. You could gather up the cloth and use it to dump spilled rice back into the bins if you had a particularly bad mess.

Dinosaur Bones

Penne pasta was used to make some dinosaur bones. I got the print out from Busy Bee Kids Crafts.

Coloring Sheets

We always have crayons available so coloring sheets were a must. I found & printed some word searches and other dinosaur printables.


I gathered up dinosaur books had had them spread out for people to read and take home. Several kids came up to me with the dinosaurs they found in the fossils and rice and asked what type of dinosaur it was. It was a great time for us to grab some non-fiction and try to figure it out!


This was so much fun. I’ve had awful luck trying to get programs going at my branch so it was wonderful for this to work out so well. We had a really good mix of ages (toddlers to tweens to adults) and everyone continued to tell me how much fun this was.

I would definitely do this again as well as maybe try some more family programming in the future.


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