Currently logged out. Login
Currently logged out. Login

At Home Archaeology

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"39245","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","alt":"dig pit"}}]]One of the most popular activities at the museum are the Dig Pits in Dinosphere and Treasures of the EarthWith this Hide and Seek activity courtesy of The Children's Museum Preschool, your family can create your own archaeology activity at home!  Make a batch of "salt dough" and add some treasures, and before you know it your kids will be learning the process of excavating an archaeological site. 


  • Salt dough (recipe below)
  • Small objects that are related (e.g. items that represent the ocean like shells, pretend coral, etc.)
  • Shallow plastic tray
  • Excavation tools: toothbrushes, spoons, and popsicle sticks
  • Covered work surface

Advance preparation

  • Help your child make the salt dough (instructions below). When your child is out of the room, hide the small items in the dough.
  • Let the dough pieces dry for 12 hours on the plastic tray.


  1. When dry, explain to your child that they are going to be an archaeologist excavating a dig site and present the dough.
  2. Explain that there are pretend artifacts hidden in the dough and they must gently remove the artifacts using special tools. Be sure to explain that an artifact is an object with cultural significance.
  3. Encourage your child to display the artifacts and make up a story about how they were used, where they came from, etc.

Salt Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Few drops of food coloring (if desired)
  • Mix the ingredients. To store, wrap tightly and keep at room temperature.

For more fun facts about the Dig Pit, check out the blog post and This Week's WOW, "How to Re-Pour the Dig Pit."

This activity previously appeared in Indy's Child magazine.