Nature Creations: Digging Paleontology

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9 minutes, 55 seconds

Dig into what makes the Niobrara River so rich in fossils and paleontology with a table-top fossil dig you can do at the kitchen table! Uncover fossils of animals related to the mammals you see every day then slip your feet into our dinosaur feet craft so you can run with the Dinos all afternoon!

Share Your Nature Creation with Us

Skeleton Pieces of a Mastadon with tusks and a ribcage
Mastodon Fossil Pieces


Tabletop Fossil Dig

  • Bin or Pan
  • Sand or Cat Litter
  • Brushes, Paint or Toothbrushes work well
  • Dinosaur Bones Templates (See below or our Social Media)
    • Or use your own Dinosaur toys as fossils to dig up
  • Scissors
  • Optional: String, Paper, Pencil
  1. Dump in one half of the sand or kitty litter into the bin or pan
  2. Cut out the dinosaur fossil template pieces
  3. Place the fossil pieces on top of the sand randomly
  4. Cover the fossil pieces with the remaining sand
  5. Brush layers of sand away using the tooth or paint brush, slowly uncovering fossils
  6. Optional: using string, make a grid over the dig area of the bin. Draw the grid and fossils found in it to scale.
Fossil Templates
Fossil Parts, various skulls and bones on white background Fossils parts for a stegosaurus on white background
Smilodon and T-Rex Fossil Templates NPS
Stegosaurus Fossil Template NPS

Dinosaur foot drawn on white background
Dinosaur Foot Template


Dino Feet

  • Two pieces of paper, any color or type
  • Dino Foot Template (see below or our Social Media)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Colors
  1. Cut out the Dino Foot Template, or draw it yourself
  2. Trace the template onto the two pieces of paper
  3. Cut both of them out
  4. Color them to look like dinosaur feet
  5. Slip your foot through the hole and start stomping!

Learn and Explore

Explore more Nature Creations Activities

All activities and crafts were created with household items and easy to find supplies. If you are looking for more activities or crafts, explore the links to the right and discover more of what makes the Niobrara River special.

Last updated: February 12, 2021

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