In this quick and inexpensive tutorial, we’re going to show you how to make a Starbucks Surprise Cup excavation activity. These excavations are super easy to make and are a fun novelty dig to surprise your young Excavating Adventurer.


Be sure to check out our fun program to get free gift cards to spend in our store. Answer trivia and earn points you can redeem for free rocks, minerals, fossils, seashells, excavation kits and more!


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Save a bunch of Starbucks cups and lids and make a batch of Starbucks Surprise Cups for you next birthday party or any other gathering of young Excavating Adventurers. Birthday party dig kits are a great way to keep birthday party guests entertained and are inexpensive and easy to make. Check out all our DIY birthday dig kits and excavation ideas and find an activity that fits your next birthday party theme. 




Plaster of Paris


Mixing Bowl

Wooden spoon

Measuring cups

Popsicle sticks – Popsicle sticks are inexpensive, readily available, and make great excavation tools.

Safety goggles or glasses – You we need to provide or borrow a set for each student.

Optional – Brushes and magnifying glasses.

Excavation items - Assorted rocks and minerals, or pretty much anything that will fit in the cup and be fun to find. 

Starbucks cup and lid 


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: I like to include the lid with the Starbucks Surprise Cup excavation. It not only makes the excavation look really cool, but the lid can act as a place to place items discovered from the dig kit. 



Check out our awesome collection of exciting and unique Odds and Ends excavation activities! Excavating Adventures has a kit for everyone. Explore dig kits filled with rocks, minerals, fossils, gemstones, seashells, and more! These limited edition, holiday themed, and other odd excavations are loaded with specimens to add to your collections that you often can not find in any other dig kit in our store. 




  1. Place some of the excavation items you have chosen in the Starbucks cup.
  2. Mix 1 cup sand with 1/3 cup Plaster of Paris.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of water and mix until you have a pancake batter consistency.
  4. Pour the mixture over the items in the cup.
  5. Allow to mixture to set and firm up for about five minutes.
  6. Add more items and another batch of mixture. This will place items to be discovered at different levels in the excavation. Repeat these steps until the cup is filled to nearly the rim.
  7. Place the Starbucks Surprise Cup in front of a fan overnight until it is completely dry.
  8. Distribute the excavation, excavation tools, and safety goggles to your Excavating Adventurer and have fun watching them dig in and discover the awesome items you have hidden inside.


Rock and Mineral Wonders: Unveiling Earth's Shining Treasures!

Fun Facts about Rocks and Minerals:

  1. Rocks are made up of minerals, which are naturally occurring substances with specific chemical compositions and crystal structures.

  2. The three main types of rocks are igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic, each formed through different geological processes.

  3. Quartz, one of the most common minerals on Earth, can be found in a variety of colors and is used in many everyday items like watches and countertops.

  4. The mineral calcite, when exposed to ultraviolet light, can exhibit a phenomenon called fluorescence, glowing in vibrant colors.

  5. The hardness of minerals is measured using the Mohs scale, ranging from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest), with diamond being the hardest mineral.

  6. Fossils, preserved remains of ancient plants and animals, are often found in sedimentary rocks and provide valuable insights into Earth's history.

  7. The mineral pyrite, also known as "fool's gold," can resemble gold due to its brassy yellow color and metallic luster.

  8. Gemstones like diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are highly prized for their beauty and rarity, often used in jewelry and considered precious.

  9. Geodes are hollow rock formations that contain sparkling crystals inside, formed when mineral-rich water seeps into cavities and slowly crystallizes.

  10. The mineral talc is the softest mineral on the Mohs scale and is commonly used in baby powder and cosmetics.

  11. Granite, a popular rock used in buildings and monuments, is an igneous rock composed mainly of quartz, feldspar, and mica.

  12. Volcanic eruptions can produce volcanic glass, known as obsidian, which is smooth, black, and sometimes used for making decorative objects.

Remember, rocks and minerals are like nature's treasure troves, holding clues to Earth's fascinating history and showcasing its dazzling diversity!


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Search through your recycle bin for fun cups, containers, and more to use as molds for DIY excavation activities. You may be surprised at the awesome excavations you create with what you find!


Take some time to explore the Excavating Adventures website for subscriptions for kids, digs kits, deals, and more. We have monthly excavations that get delivered right to your door, Build Your Own excavations, a blog filled with amazing excavation ideas, trivia, tons of free stuff and much, much, more!



Question 1: Which type of rock is formed from the cooling and solidification of molten lava or magma? A) Igneous rock B) Sedimentary rock C) Metamorphic rock D) Fossil rock

Correct answer: A) Igneous rock

Question 2: Which mineral is known for its fluorescence, glowing in vibrant colors under ultraviolet light? A) Calcite B) Quartz C) Pyrite D) Talc

Correct answer: A) Calcite

Question 3: Which scale is used to measure the hardness of minerals? A) Richter scale B) Celsius scale C) Mohs scale D) Fahrenheit scale

Correct answer: C) Mohs scale