Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Little Fossil Fun

We have been doing lots of work with fossils, dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. I decided to do something a little more fun to keep T interested. In my last post about the Coming of Life follow up work, I mentioned that we attempted to make plaster fossils using a kit which did not go well. Instead of trying again with plaster, I decided to go the tastier route and make Fossil Cookies. You can't go wrong with kids and cookies right? I got the idea a while back from Chasing Cheerios.

We decided to do peanut butter cookies because they are easy and I was planning to have both kids help make them. B is not quite two yet so easy is better. It turns out that she decided to take an extra long nap today so she missed the cookie making. I used a simple peanut butter cookie recipe.

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
Sea salt for sprinkling on top

Mix everything together in a large bowl. Place 1 tablespoon scoops of dough on an ungreased (we used parchment paper lined) baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 mins until the edges are golden.

T ended up making the cookies much bigger than planned so we only got 11 cookies. This should make about 18 cookies if they are 1 Tablespoon each. Smaller would have probably been better because ours lots some detail when they grew in the oven.

T measured and mixed the ingredients with very little help. As we were making our fossil prints we talked about how fossils are made and what type of fossils we were making. The cookie fossils are mold fossils because the animal dies and leaves a cavity behind.

There are many things you could use to make the imprints in the cookies. We chose to use some of our Safari Ltd, Toob animals. I recently purchased the Dinosaur Skulls Toob and we also had the Coral Reef Toob still in the package. I washed them thoroughly before using them. I think the sea creatures made better fossils but T really liked the skulls. The only thing I do not like about the Dino skulls set is that the names of them Dinos, which are embossed on each skull, are VERY hard to read. The color and the small spaces make them difficult even with a magnifying glass.
You can click on all pictures to make them larger.

As you can see the molds were much deeper before we baked them, but some of them still looked great after baking.

Once the cookies were finished we went a step further and made a cast fossil. A cast fossil is created when a mold fossil is filled in. Many fossils in museums are casts made from mold fossils. We used carmel which we had leftover from making carmel apples. I was planning to use chocolate, which I thought we had, but someone had eaten it.
Starfish cookie

I layered plastic wrap over the cookie and them put the carmel on it so it wouldn't stick. Then put in the freezer to harden

Star fish, mold fossil, cast fossil

We cut out the starfish cast to make it easier to see.
Just as we were finishing up, B woke up from her nap. Perfect timing for a yummy cookie!

FYI, if you have a small child, I highly recommend the Learning Tower. You can see both kids standing on it in the pictures above. It is adjustable and helps boots them up to the counter safely. T is 7 years old and fairly tall for his age and he still finds it useful on the lowest setting (first pictures) when he is working at the counter. B, almost 2, is on the top setting in the last picture. I got mine used but here is a link to their website if you are looking for something like this.
The Learning Tower


  1. These are brilliant!! We have the dino skull toob as well:) My guys will want to try these for sure!! Thanks:)

  2. I've had that activity pinned forever. You've really made me itch to get to it. Maybe you'll see it soon. Brilliant idea using the coral reef toob to make the fossils. I will be borrowing (and crediting) that idea!

    Speaking of brilliant...the cast fossil with the caramel? Brilliant. Borrowing, pinning and Facebooking that one too :)

  3. Thanks ladies! We had fun with it and for my guy, fun = remembering. I hope you have as much fun as we did.