Monday, May 26, 2014

The Big Dig for Little Boys: An Archaeological Dig for Children

I know a few boys who love to dig and get dirty.  Not necessarily in that order but they just go together so when it came time to plan a party with our boys in mind we decided to have an archaeological dig for our little boys.   My husband has cattle and the sad fact is cows die occasionally when birthing their young or they just get old but that is beside the point, the point is no animals were harmed in the making of this party.  Bones happen. Kids love things that seem mysterious and adventurous and that is just what we were selling at this party.

Ideas kept coming to us to make our dig spectacular and as word got out ideas came to us through parents and friends.   Those children are just so stinkin' cute we kept adding to our plans. Honestly, I think the adults had as much fun as the children.  The adults came and if they had planned to leave...well, they just didn't.


We picked a good sandy location.  Fortunately we have salt flats at the back of our cow pasture where bones are plentiful.

Buried Treasures

We buried our treasures.  Betty selected some good bones and went out and buried them in the sandy salt flats.  We even made dinosaur eggs to bury (see instructions below).  They were buried just like the bones.Then so we did not lose our treasures we set up surveyor flags purchased at a lumber supply company or make your own.

Equipped for Success

The boys were then equipped for success.  To make sure every boy felt special each boy received an orange or green tee shirt to put over their clothes.  We made an easy  safari play vest with lots of pockets for each boy plus  a hat to keep the sun off their punkin' heads.  Each was equipped with a little shovel  if they had not brought their own.

The Ride to the Site

And finally we provided transportation to the dig site.  The boys rode down the the site in a flat bed trailer with just a few square hay bales to sit or lean on. It was just a little ways (maybe a quarter mile) to the back of the field but it made for my adventure and definitely  was more convenient for the old folks. And let's face it...those boys were energized and would have run the entire way to get there and all the adults would be strolling along behind and might even miss the dig.

 As the trailer pulled to a stop a mass of boys ran; jumping, squealing and laughing and racing to the site.  We had to hold them back to keep them from jumping off the side of the trailer before the trailer came to a stop.  (Is this how all archaeologist get their start? Just little boys who never outgrew their love of mystery and adventure. If!)      They jumped into the sandy pit we had marked off, found their flags and started digging.   Their eyes lite up like they had discovered  the Easter bunny when they found the tip of a bone and then the excitement began.    Some of the bones were bigger than the boys but that did not deter them from claiming their stake.

*Hats can be purchased by the dozen from Oriental Trading or a party supply store. 

*Oh Boy!  All Boy Play Vest Pattern 

Pattern available through my craftsy store.  See link on side panel.  For the party we made about 20 vests in just a few days.  The vest is very simple to make,, no lining and big pockets front and back.  To cut down on expense we used canvas drop cloths from the paint department from Lowe's or Home Depot.  Bias tape or ribbon can be  substituted for the straps of nylon webbing to cut expense.  Since our party last spring I have tweaked the pattern resulting in a better design in S, M & L (sizes 2-8). See the updated version in photos on the left side and below. 

*Dinosaur eggs with a dinosaur inside  

  • 1 cup flour, 1 cup recycled coffee grounds (from coffee machine),  1/2 cup salt and 1/4 cup sand or soil.  Start mixing using 1/4 cup water and add more as needed to make a stiff dough.  Shape into several large eggs.  Push a plastic dinosaur inside and smooth the egg.  Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Start drying in a oven heated to 180 degrees and bake it until the outer layer is hardened. Baking time depends on the size of the egg.  35 minutes more or less. 

Old Bones

I have been fortunate enough not to have to look very far for old bones.  If you don't know an old farmer or rancher (or a young one) to get some bones and you are industrious you can even make bones from plaster of paris.  A quick google search will turn up some how-to sites and there are even sites to purchase fake bones.  

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  1. What a fabulous idea for a kid party! I bet they will never forget that one!!! The party I remember as a child was a joint party for my brother and me where my mom made a big teepee in our back yard and she made cradle boards for all the girls with their dolls while the boys got bows, arrows and feather headdresses. It was so much fun that we played with the teepee for weeks.

    1. Thank you, it was fun. The girls actually would love it, too. We had to limit the number of kids so we just invited boys. Unfortunately, we had some sad little sisters we will include next time. I love the teepee party idea. We did have one or two teepees set up for the boys in the yard Betty had made for her grandchildren. The cradle boards sound really interesting. I love party ideas that use the imaginations.

  2. Great fun! My little grand daughter would have loved this! I live on a small farm and when she comes to visit her mom and dad take her out walking on the farm. They run across bones from small animals. Mackenzie has started a "bone collection" of skulls in jars. LOL! Best of all this party is the memories you made for the kids!

    1. Oh, Abbigail! My grandchildren who have just moved to the farm just down the road from me take their "city" friends to the bone piles and let them pick their souvenirs! The mother's "love" it! (Okay, that might have been a touch of sarcasm.) I love that the children are learning about life and are not just doing video games.