This super quick and easy tutorial will show you how to make a Homemade Geology Dig Kit. This excavation activity is a little different than most as we will be pouring different colored layers to dig into and enjoy. 
Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: While this excavation activity is designed to demonstrate and display geologic layers, or strata, this method can easily be used to add fun layers of color to any DIY dig kit. 
FUN FACT: Stratigraphy is the study and science of strata. 
  • Colored sand. You will want at least three different colors of sand, but more colors are more fun! 
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Measuring cups
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Clear 16 oz plastic cup, but any clear container will work. Just make sure you have enough colored sand to complete the homemade excavation. 
  • Although this Geology Dig Kit is focused on demonstrating strata, I always like to add something to an excavation activity to add that little extra bit of fun. Real fossils, assorted rocks and minerals, and plastic dinosaurs are all great items to add to this excavation activity. 
  • Optional - Different colors of glitter. 
  • Excavation tools - Safety goggles, paint brushes, magnifying glass, small hammer, and a chisel, nail, wooden dowel or some other tool to use to chip away at the Homemade Geology Dig Kit.


Pro tip: Avoid using food coloring to color the sand. I have tried coloring sand and different layers of sand with food coloring many, many times, and it just has never really worked out well. Plus it leaves little Excavating Adventurer hands colored and stained for many hours after the dig has been completed. Colored sand has so far been the best option for creating a layered Homemade Geology Dig Kit. 


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  1. Decide on how you would like the colors organized, just remember that the first color your pour will be the color at the top of the excavation once it is dried and removed from the container. 
  2. Place any excavation items you want to include in this first layer in the plastic cup, again remembering these will be the first items uncovered during the dig. 
  3. Dry mix one 1/2 cup of colored sand with 1/4 cup of Plaster of Paris. 
  4. Add 1/4 cup of water and mix until you have a pancake like consistency. 
  5. Pour the mixture over the excavation items. Gently tap the bucket to allow some of the mixture to move under and around the items. Be aware, some plastic items like dinosaurs will want to float to the surface of the excavation. Simply allow the mixture to firm up for a few minutes and then push the floating items back down below the surface and into the mixture. 
  6. Wait about fifteen minutes for the mixture to firm up and then repeat the above steps. Pour off any excess water before adding the next layer. You are adding layers of colored mixture and excavation items to create the strata for your Geology Dig.   
  7. Allow to dry for a couple of nights. It helps speed up the drying if you place the excavation in front of a fan. 
  8. Once the excavation is completely dry, find an area that can get a little messy and be easily cleaned up. Allow the Excavating Adventurer to study and discuss the strata, and make guesses as to why geologic layers exists.
  9. Now gently flip the cup over and tap the bottom of the cup until the excavation slides out.
  10. Distribute the safety goggles and excavation tools and let your Excavating Adventurer dive into the Homemade Geology Dig!


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Add a layer of glitter across the surface of each layer of colored sand between pours. Gently push the glitter down into the wet surface. Allow the layer to dry for thirty minutes before carefully pouring on the next layer of colored sand. Some of the glitter will float but that is not a problem. This will add fun little sparkly extra stratum to your Geology Dig!


I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and had fun creating your own Homemade Geology Dig Kit to investigate and explore. These excavations are very easy to make and a lot of fun!
Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons about geology, strata, the rock cycle and more!
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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