Altoids are not only an awesome little breath mint, but the tin they come in makes a great container for an excavation. 
  • Empty Altoids tin
  • Sand
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Measuring cups
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Items to excavate. I love using a gemstone mix or tumbled stone mix in this excavation. You can also find reasonably priced mixes of dyed agates that make great excavation items. Seashells, small plastic toys, or pretty much anything that will fit in the tin will work! Fossils and shark teeth are also super cool excavation items for young Excavating Adventurers to discover. 
  • Excavation tools - Safety goggles and a chisel, nail, wooden dowel or some other tool to use to excavate. 


Pro tip: Soften the excavation with a little water if it is difficult for your young Excavating Adventurer to dig. 


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  1. Place your chosen excavation items in the Altoids tin. 
  2. Dry mix one cup of sand with 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of water and mix until you have a pancake like consistency. 
  4. Allow to dry overnight.  
  5. Once the Altoids Tin Excavation is completely dry, find an area that can get a little messy and be easily cleaned up. Distribute the safety goggles and excavations tools and let the fun begin!


Pro tip: The Altoids tin makes a perfect little treasure container to store the newly discovered excavation items!


I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and had fun creating your own Easy Altoids Tin Excavation to investigate and explore. These excavations are very easy to make and a lot of fun!
Pro tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons about rocks, minerals, fossils or any item that you hide inside!
If you love rocks, geology, and excavating as much as we do, be sure to check out our Excavating Adventures monthly subscription by clicking the link below and get an awesome new excavation delivered each month loaded with rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and more!
Happy Excavating!
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