Archaeology Ideas for Kids

Have you ever wondered what it will be like for future generations to dig up our garbage and try to piece together what we were like as a culture? How will people interpret the uses of our old television sets, microwaves, clothing, and sports equipment? If you have a daughter or son who is interested in archaeology you could have a great time of learning and fun for Social Studies, Langauge Arts, and Science with the following activities.

Make a shoebox of “finds” for your student to investigate. Based upon these finds, they will need to be able to tell what kind of person would have left these artifacts behind. I did this years ago when I was teaching a class and it was so fun! One student brought in a man’s college class ring of their parent and one of the students saw the year they graduated and surmised that it was someone’s grandfather. lol Here is a box that I created about me. See if your observations with the artifacts I have given you are correct.

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I will list the items that I have in my box and give a brief explanation afterward of each of them.

  • a children’s book (I have a granddaughter; I love children’s lit)
  • the Bible (I like to read, study the Bible)
  • star stickers and a red pen (I am a teacher)
  • a picture of roses (I love flowers; gardening)
  • a luggage tag with a business card inside of it (my business, I enjoy traveling)
  • a bike trail map ( I am an avid bicyclist)
  • a lint brush ( I have a cat)
  • a wooden bird (I love birds)
  • a seashell ( I enjoy the beach; shells)

Here are some reading resources for you and your budding archaeologists to enjoy.

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The links to books featured above:

Create a Dig Site for your child(ren).Y our daughter/son can create artifacts by either painting a terracotta pot or making clay “coins”. You will need the following items:

  • A terracotta pot
  • paint, paintbrushes
  • clay
  • wooden toothpicks
  • a plastic bin
  • sand
  • plastic shovel
  • a wallpaper brush or a paintbrush
  • string, tape
  • clipboard
  • paper
  • pencil
  • epoxy

First, you need to fill a large bin with sand that will serve as the “dig site” for your artifacts. Next, using the terracotta pot or clay, your archaeologist needs to create artifacts that you will bury. Paint designs on the pot, create coins from clay using the wooden toothpick to make designs. Allow drying time before doing this next step. Use an old towel to cover the pot and a hammer to break it into large pieces. If your child is too attached to their artifact, you can create a design on another terracotta pot to break into pieces.

Bury the artifacts in the sand, but do not allow your archaeologist to see it. Depending upon your child’s age, you can make a grid with string above the bin and attach it with tape to the sides in order for them to know what section from which the artifacts they find originated. Using the clipboard, paper, and pencil, create a duplicate grid on the paper so that the things that are found can be drawn.

Give your child the shovel and brush to begin to wipe away the sand to find the artifacts. Stress the importance of going slowly and use the brush to wipe away the sand so they don’t disturb the other pieces nearby. Each found piece is then drawn and “cataloged”. If you have broken a pot, then glue it back together after you have excavated the site. Be sure to take a picture for your school year (and to take to your assessment if you do a portfolio review).

You can have your student write or draw pictures about the fun activity that you just completed. They can also write a story about the people who may have used these artifacts.

What about a dessert that shows the layers of soil?

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Are you interested in an interactive game? This one is from the Colonial Williamsburg website where junior archaeologists can learn about and register their own notes about a dig called Dirt Detective

rainyday

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