Fun and games: Jell-O archeology

Whether Baby is going through a dinosaur phase, you’re trying to foster their love of science, or the two of you just really think some green Jell-O sounds extra tasty right now, there’s one activity it’s hard to go wrong with, and that’s Jell-O archeology!

Jell-O archeology is the fine art of submerging a few of Baby’s favorite plastic toys in some yummy, brightly-colored, flavored gelatin. From there, they can use their fingers, some state-of-the-art archeology tools (like a fork and spoon), or even their mouth (as long as the toys are too big to pose a choking hazard) to get the toys out.

If you want to go for a full-fledged fossil theme – using plastic animals, dinosaurs, or even mock-fossils for the activity – you can start off by talking with Baby about how ancient animals and plants can be preserved for thousands of years before letting your little Indiana Jones loose on that gelatinous sugar. And if you want to skip the lesson on just how fossils come to be, it’s simply a fun sensory activity that lets them get a little messy, and what toddler couldn’t use more of those?

Preparing your very own Jell-O archeology site

  • Start by getting two packages of Jell-O (or getting one and dividing the ingredients in half before you start).
  • Choose the toys that are going to get submerged, and make sure they’re clean – even if eating the Jell-O isn’t the main purpose of the project, there’s a good chance some of it is going to find its way into Baby’s mouth. Hot water and dish soap should be enough to get your toy fossils good and clean.
  • Make half of your total Jell-O, put it in a bowl that’s twice as big as the first Jell-O batch, and chill it until it’s solid.
  • Once your first batch of Jell-O is solid, add your toy selections to the bowl. The toys should rest on top of the chilled Jell-O.
  • Make the remaining Jell-O. When it’s warm and not yet set, pour this second batch of Jell-O on top of the toys and the first batch of Jell-O.
  • Chill the Jell-O for a second time, until solid.
  • Get to excavating!

Jell-O archeology may not be a practical everyday activity – there’s all that sugar involved, for one thing. As a once-in-a-while treat, though, digging around in some Jell-O with Baby can be a great way to have some fossil-filled fun!

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