Friday, September 18, 2015

DIY dinosaur fossils with coffee dough

Setting the standard high for toddler's playtime 

Honestly, with activities as interesting as this, who'd still wanna spend time on ipad or any other digital devices? In fact, when I made this, I was adamant that I am setting the standard and expectation too high for a toddler's activity. I wasn't sure if I should let him go ahead or should I keep this game aside for later use. But later when? I guess I am worrying too much. Anyways, I cast aside the concern and let him go ahead with the game. As expected, he loved the 'panleontologist's work' of excavating and studying fossils. The next morning, he told me that he wants to do it all over again. Ermmmmmmm... 

Prior to this we have used salt dough for handprint ornaments, unfortunately, the dough turned out to be very brittle after baking and it never lasted for more than a day, they just broke apart too easily. So this time round, I was a little skeptical to start with, but I proceeded anyways, knowing that I wasn't gonna have these coffee salt dough fossils as keepsake, so I wouldn't feel too bad even if the dough, again, is a brittle and fragile one. Incredulously, the coffee dough was good!! It's been a day and a night, the fossils are still intact. In fact, the coffee dough was actually a good one to play with too, as it is not too messy nor too tacky, and is easily mould into shapes. I am making another fresh batch of coffee dough today, not to make fossils, but just to play with. 

To make this coffee dough, you'll need to have a small amount of coffee grounds. I went to a nearby cafe, bought a caffe latte and I asked if they'd kindly give me some of their used coffee grounds. They gladly offered me a big bag which can probably make at least 20kilos of coffee dough!! Hahaa.. bless them. 

Here's the recipe and instructions for the coffee dough and the dinosaur fossils: 
  • 3/4 cup of water (normal room temperature)
  • 1 cup of salt 
  • 1 cup of coffee ground 
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour (I always use near or expired flour) 
This amount makes 3 stones containing dinosaur in them, and about 7-8 dinosaur fossils (see photos). 

  1. Combine all ingredients and knead to form a smooth dough. 
  2. Take a small handful of the dough and form a ball. Press down with heel of hand to make a flat disk, about half inch thick. Use it to wrap a dino and seal and smooth. Place onto an oiled baking sheet. 
  3. To make fossils, take a small handful of dough and form a ball. Press down with a dino to form imprints. Place fossils onto oiled baking sheet. 
  4. Bake at 100degC for about 1-2 hours, or air dry under sun for a day or two. 

This is a photo of the fresh, unbaked coffee dough, which is pretty pleasant to play and shape with. 


  1. I am very happy to see your blog, good article and interesting,

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  2. I'm going to use this process and make anzac cookies (An Australian bisquit cookie) and imprint the dinos. My uncle is very much into paleontology so what a fun way to cheer his day.


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