In this quick and inexpensive tutorial, we are going to show you how to make Tart Tin Excavations. Tart tins are basically tiny little pie pans, but they make perfect containers for excavations. You can put pretty much anything that will fit in these fun little tins, but for this tutorial we are going to use small plastic dinosaurs. These excavations are super easy to make and are a great teaching resource to include in your next lesson or discussion about dinosaurs, fossils, paleontology, and more.


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Plaster of Paris


Mixing Bowl

Wooden spoon

Measuring cups

Tray or baking sheet - This will make moving the batch of Tart Tin Excavations easier. 

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.

Tart tins - You can easily find a pack online for not very much money at all. 

Assorted small plastic dinosaurs - Be sure to check and make sure they will fir in your tart tins. 


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: You can often find bags of assorted plastic dinosaurs at your local dollar store for around a buck. Keep your eyes peeled in the toy aisles of these awesome stores. You can sometimes find bags of other assorted plastic characters such as barnyard animals, ocean life creatures, and woodland animals. Grab them up and use them in your next batch of Tart Tin Excavations.


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  1. Arrange the tart tins on a tray or baking sheet and place a dinosaur in each tart tin. Feel free to add more than one dinosaur to each tart tin if you have room.
  2. Mix 1 cups 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 dinosaurs.
  5. Place the Tart Tin Excavations in front of a fan overnight until they are completely dry.
  6. Distribute the excavations, excavation tools, and safety goggles to your Excavating Adventurer and have fun watching them dig in and discover the awesome ITEM you have hidden inside.

Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: These excavation make a great activity for your next classroom lesson about dinosaurs, are super easy to make, and do not cost much at all. We also offer several different Class Pack options that students love!


Dino Discovery: Unearthing Fascinating Facts About Dinosaurs!

Fun Facts about Dinosaurs:

  1. Dinosaurs lived on Earth millions of years ago, and they were a diverse group of reptiles that roamed the land, sky, and water.

  2. The word "dinosaur" comes from the Greek words "deinos" meaning "terrible" or "fearsome" and "sauros" meaning "lizard."

  3. Dinosaurs existed for a staggering period of time, with their reign lasting approximately 165 million years.

  4. The largest dinosaur known to have ever lived is the Argentinosaurus, which measured up to 100 feet long and weighed around 100 tons.

  5. Contrary to popular belief, not all dinosaurs were massive. Some were as small as chickens, such as the Compsognathus.

  6. Dinosaurs came in various shapes and sizes. There were herbivorous dinosaurs like the Triceratops with its three horns and the long-necked Brachiosaurus, as well as carnivorous dinosaurs like the fierce Tyrannosaurus rex.

  7. Some dinosaurs had unique features, like the Stegosaurus with its spiked tail and the Parasaurolophus with its crest on top of its head.

  8. Birds are actually considered dinosaurs, as they are the direct descendants of a group of small, feathered dinosaurs called theropods.

  9. Scientists have discovered dinosaur footprints, eggs, and nests, providing insights into their behavior and reproductive habits.

  10. The extinction of non-avian dinosaurs occurred around 65 million years ago, and one prevailing theory is that it was caused by a massive asteroid impact.

  11. Paleontologists study dinosaurs by examining their fossils, which are the preserved remains of ancient organisms.

  12. Dinosaurs continue to captivate our imagination and inspire scientific discoveries, with new dinosaur species being unearthed and our understanding of these ancient creatures continually evolving.

Remember, dinosaurs were incredible creatures that once roamed our planet, and by studying their fossils, we can unlock the mysteries of their existence!



Dino Adventure Time: Fun and Educational Activities with Plastic Toy Dinosaurs!

  1. Dino Excavation: Bury plastic toy dinosaurs in a sensory bin filled with sand or rice and let your little paleontologists excavate them using brushes and small tools.

  2. Dino Habitat Diorama: Create a mini dinosaur habitat using a shoebox, construction paper, and craft materials. Decorate the box to resemble a prehistoric scene and place the plastic toy dinosaurs in their natural habitats.

  3. Dino Fossil Prints: Dip the plastic toy dinosaurs in washable paint and press them onto paper to create dinosaur footprint art. Experiment with different colors and patterns!

  4. Dino Name Game: Give each plastic toy dinosaur a unique name and create name tags for them. Use the names to play a matching or memory game, where kids match the names with the corresponding dinosaurs.

  5. Dino Egg Hunt: Hide plastic toy dinosaurs around the house or backyard and let kids go on a dino egg hunt. They can use their imagination to pretend the dinosaurs are hatching from eggs they discover.

  6. Dino Storytelling: Encourage kids to create imaginative stories or plays starring the plastic toy dinosaurs. They can invent adventures, give each dinosaur a personality, and even create dialogue for their dino characters.

  7. Dino Sorting: Sort the plastic toy dinosaurs based on their characteristics, such as size, color, or herbivore/carnivore. This activity helps develop classification and sorting skills.

  8. Dino Shadow Puppets: Trace the shapes of plastic toy dinosaurs onto cardboard or heavy paper and cut them out. Attach them to craft sticks to create dino shadow puppets and have fun putting on a shadow puppet show.

  9. Dino Yoga: Pretend to be different dinosaurs through yoga poses. Match each pose with a specific dinosaur and engage in a fun and active dino-themed yoga session.

  10. Dino Artifacts Museum: Set up a mini museum display using shoeboxes or display boards. Decorate them with drawings, facts, and information about the plastic toy dinosaurs, turning your play area into a dinosaur exhibition.

Remember, these activities provide an engaging and hands-on way for kids to learn about dinosaurs, develop creativity, and explore the fascinating world of these prehistoric creatures!


Take some time to explore the Excavating Adventures website. 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 dinosaur is known for its three horns? A) Triceratops B) Tyrannosaurus rex C) Stegosaurus D) Brachiosaurus

Correct answer: A) Triceratops

Question 2: Which dinosaur is considered the largest known dinosaur? A) Stegosaurus B) Compsognathus C) Argentinosaurus D) Parasaurolophus

Correct answer: C) Argentinosaurus

Question 3: Which group of animals are considered direct descendants of dinosaurs? A) Fish B) Reptiles C) Mammals D) Birds

Correct answer: D) Birds