Active Play: Dinosaur Salt Fossils

Fine motor movements are movements that require the small muscles of the hands and fore arms.  These movements might include

  • pinching
  • opening and closing the whole hand
  • controlling the fingers independently
  • controlling the fingers in coordinated pairs and patters
  • flexing the wrist in all directions
  • crossing the fingers across the palm (thumb to pinky)
  • coordinating both hands together

These movements are important for many everyday tasks throughout life including

  • writing and drawing
  • eating, especially with utensils
  • brushing teeth
  • putting on clothing
  • building with objects
  • manipulating small objects
  • tying shoes

Just like muscles and motions required for large tasks like jumping and lifting, children must develop strength and coordination of fine motor movements through practice.

Salt Dough Fossils

Salt fossils are fun, easy to make, and great for practicing fine motor movement skills with young children!

Materials Required

  • flour (2 cups)
  • salt (1 cup)
  • water (3/4 cup)
  • a bowl/dish
  • toy dinosaurs (or other small figurines)
  • an oven or toaster oven
  • a pan
  • oven mitts
  • parchment paper (optional)

Step 1

Combine the flour, salt, and water in a bowl.  You can mix by hand or with a spoon. 

Mixing by hand is a fantastic opportunity to gain grasp strength and hand coordination.

Step 2

Once completely combined, pinch of a piece of dough.  Roughly the amount used for making a cookie should be perfect. 

Roll into a ball and place on a floured surface.

Step 3

Press your dinosaur into the ball of dough.  Try not to poke completely through the ball, as the dough may burn when baked.

If the print is not detailed enough, press the dinosaur in again until the print is visible.

Step 4

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Farenheit.

Place your fossils on a pan (which you can line with parchment if you would like).

Bake until golden brown and solid.  Depending on the thickness and size of your fossils, this my take 30 minutes to over an hour.  Smaller cooks faster!

Step 5

Remove from the oven and let cool!  DO NOT EAT.  These fossils are strictly for play and exploration.

Looking for more active ideas?

Take a look at some of our past articles and check back next week for a new one!

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