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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

DIY: Homemade fossils

Before you throw away the used coffee grounds from your coffee maker, try recycling them into a fun fossil craft. My recipe makes enough dough for three kids to make one large or three small "fossils" each, and it uses just the right amount of leftover coffee to empty my coffeemaker. {Note: If you use a K-cup type coffee maker, just save a week's worth of used K-cups}

    You will need:
  • 1 cup of wet, used coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup cold coffee
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour

Mix together with your hands, and add more flour if dough is too sticky. Divide into even pieces and place on waxed or parchment paper.  

Send kids out in the yard to collect specimens to "fossilize." My kids each tried various things from plant leaves, flower petals, and tree bark to sea shells and pine cones. Press the items in the dough using fingers or the back of a spoon and carefully lift out each item after the desired impression is made. {If desired, use a drinking straw to make a hole through the fossil near the edge for hanging with twine or yarn when dry.} Set "fossils" out to dry overnight. You may need to turn them over and let them dry a little more on the other side for even drying. Ours got hard like stone after 24 hours. 

A great way to recycle the leftover coffee and do a little science and nature study at the same time!


The Cast said...

Very cool! How hard do they get? Would be cool to have the kids stickem around the farm.

learning table said...

They got pretty hard after a night out on the porch and took on a stone-like apprearance (about the same hardness as dry salt dough, but not as durable as ceramic.) They smell wonderful!

Kate @ An Amazing Child said...

These are fabulous. I am always awed by the wonderful things homeschooling families get up to.

Thanks again for sharing with us.

Mama Pea Pod said...

I recently fell in love with the homemade fossils that Discovery International School did with plaster with his preschool students, but your recipe looks really easy, I think I might have to try this!

Kelli- AdventurezInChild'Rearing said...

ok- this is Fab-u- lo-so! can I use it as a guest post on my homeschool blog? it will be a great way to drive some more traffic your way too!!! love love it and can't wait to do it w my boys! they're gonna "dig" it- (i'm so sorry- i just can't help myself)

learning table said...

Kelli-Sure you can! Thanks for the kind words.
By the way, the longer they sit out, the harder they get. Now they look and feel like stone.

Art For Little Hands said...

How Fun! Your recipe looks very easy to use. And seems like it took to the pressing of nature items well. Much better than my store bought air dry clay. Thanks so much for sharing your blog with me. I am going to try your version this week.

Aimee from Classified: Mom said...

That looks very easy to make and what fun the kids would have creating this! Thanks for sharing this idea at The Sunday Showcase!
Classified: Mom

Aimee from Classified: Mom said...

Congrats you have been featured! http://www.classifiedmom.com/2011/06/sunday-showcase-612.html

The Sunshine Crew said...

Very cool project! My boys love to collect things in nature and will really enjoy doing this.
Thanks for sharing.
Lovely blog, BTW. am now following you.I popped over from Sunday Showcase.

Justine said...

I found your post today over at Come Together Kids. I think that we will be doing this today, provided I have enough coffee left! Thanks for sharing! I'm a new follower!

Mama Pea Pod said...

I still love this post, and I still have to make these! They were on my summer to do list, and I even had the coffee set aside in the fridge for a couple of days, but we just didn't get to them. Love them!! Thanks for linking them up to the 2011 Best Ideas for Kids blog hop - I truly think this IS one of the BEST ideas I saw for kids in 2011!

Mommy Cameron | Raising the Cameron Clan said...

My boys and I have done this with both dinosaurs and leaves. It is so much fun and keeps my boys busy for hours.

Stopping by from Best Ideas of 2011 Kids Blog Hop. Happy New Year.

Thaleia @Something2offer said...

Love the suggestion of using K-cups! Will definitely keep this in mind when we start our Geology!