I saw these around on a couple of websites and thought they looked like a great idea. Originally my idea was to bury all the pieces of a balsa wood T Rex ($10 from Cotton on Kids) and have the kids find the pieces and construct the dinosaur. Rob said it was too hard and the kids would get bored - don't tell him but I think he was right!!
In the end we made these and buried them in a sand pit with wrapped chocolates and some loose dinosaurs. Firstly the dinosaurs came in bags of about 10 for only a couple of dollars from Kmart and then the rock ingredients were already in the house so a pretty cheap activity and take home gift all in one. Don't tell the kids but the 'scoopers' were kitty litter sifters from the $2 shop!!
Recipe (Makes about 15)
2.5 cups Dirt (earth worms optional)
2.5 cups Flour
1.5 cups Salt
1 cup of Sand (we used some white sand pit sand but beach sand would be perfect too)
Water and Plastic Dinosaurs
Mix all the dry ingredients then add water until the mixture holds together (we may have added slightly too much but it still worked great so you don't need to be super cautious)
Mould dirt mix around the toys and then leave to dry in the sun for several days. As usual I planned to do this preparation many days in advance but ended up doing it the day before. We dried ours in a very low oven for most of the afternoon and then they continued to dry naturally the next day until party time at 3pm. They were still a bit moist in the centre but it didn't matter.
Some Mama help was required to finesse the shaping but it was still lots of messy fun for the Birthday Boy
I couldn't resist this photo of the ultimate pre birthday party joy - licking the beaters.