DIY Salt Dough Fossils & Valentines

Salt dough is an inexpensive, easy to make art media frequently used with toddlers and kids. In this week’s ArTogether for Tots, we are using the dough in a lesson about dinosaurs and fossils and as a Valentine’s Day gift.

Dinosaur Sensory Bin

Dinosaur Sensory Bin

Leading into the lesson, children explored dinosaur sensory bins. The bins included: white play sand, pinto beans, jewels, plastic dinosaurs & trees, rocks, shells, small scoops and paint brushes.

Next, we gathered at the carpets for a story about dinosaurs and paleontologists and introduced how to work with the dough.

Salt Dough Part 1 – Fossils
I had a few rocks on hand to point out where to find fossils (ideally, I would have had an example, but it seems my children have taken an interest i fossils too and they have all disappeared into their nature collections or under the bed somewhere!) Each child was given a ball of dough. It’s important to model how to roll & pat the dough between two hands. They pressed the dough into a circle on a small paper plate. Then, they pressed the small plastic dinosaurs and shells into their dough. This was a project they took home right away to share with family members and retell what we talked about in class.

Salt Dough Part 2 – Valentine Gifts
In addition to the fossils, each child repeated the process to create a gift for someone they love. First they chose one color of dough and pinched off a small (not a large) amount from the large ball in the center of the table (this is good practice in judging sizes and amounts.) They rolled, patted and pressed they dough into a circle on their paper plates. Before adding a second color, parents placed a 10″ string with taped ends in the middle of the two layers as a hanger. (Adding tape to the yarn ends, helps prevent the yarn from pulling through the dough when it dries.) The final step is to press decorations into the clay. We used beads, noodles, buttons and beans.
Let the dough dry for several days. Once it releases from the paper plate, turn the dough shape over and let dry completely. If desired, brush or spray the shape with a clear acrylic sealant.

Salt Dough Recipe
1 cup salt
4 cups flour
1-2 squirts liquid tempera in chosen color
1.5-2 cups water (add 1 cup, mix, then slowly add more until dough holds together but is not sticky)

Love & Friendship are very important to us at Cloud 9 Workshop. Here are a few more Cloud 9 Workshop projects & free tutorials that are inspired by Valentine’s Day.

Free Tutorials
DIY Heart Stamps from Wine Corks, Cloud 9 Workshop Valentine Cards-We Mesh Well Together & Making Hearts that Sparkle

Valentine’s Day Ideas from Cloud 9 Workshop

We hope to see you in the art studio soon! Learn more about workshops and private events at Cloud 9 Workshop.