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.


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?


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


Fossil Digging

I haven’t met a child yet that wasn’t interested in dinosaurs or fossils. I think almost every child (myself included) imagined digging up a dinosaur or at least one bone! The wonderful thing about that dream is we live in an area where fossils are easily found. People come from all over the world to have the opportunity to dig and take treasures home with them. We even have a fossil park that is purely dedicated for that purpose!

Public Places to Fossil Hunt 

Sharonville Trammel Fossil Park

Caesar Creek Lake Spillway

Oakes Quarry Park

Dry Dredgers has lots of great tips for fossil digging if this is your first time. They also have a photo gallery for you to identify your finds!

It’s wise to be prepared by wearing old clothes, taking a garden trowel, a bucket, wet wipes for your hands and your camera to capture those,” Look what I found!” moments. No dig would be complete without a field guide to take with you!  Click on the book for the link.


If you are interested in visiting the Answers in Genesis museum, it is not far from downtown Cincinnati and has some amazing animatronic dinosaurs your children will love. Answers in Genesis has a wide variety of books, curriculum, videos, and games for you to purchase, either while you are there, or to order online. Here is just one title of the plethora of books they have for your student. Click on the book for the link.

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National Geographic has a series of books for younger children. I located one that is about dinosaurs. Click on the book for the link.

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Miami University in Oxford, Ohio has a well-kept secret called the Hefner Museum of Natural History. This is a terrific place to see displays and mammoth bones. Also, check into borrowing their Discovery Trunks. They are free of charge and have wonderful examples of 50 different types of fossils. I loved using these because they have fantastic specimens that I would love to have found myself, but alas, never did!:)

Happy Digging!  ~Lisa~

The Great Outdoors: The Best Classroom Setting

“If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we love in.” Rachel Carson

Did you know that the more senses you can involve when you are learning something the more likely you are to remember it? For instance: you see a recipe for a meal, yet you have never tried to make it. You can read through the list of ingredients, but it will not help you to know what it tastes like or if it was difficult to make until you actually go through the process yourself. I find that it is much more pleasant and interesting if I can experience things firsthand. The same thing happens to your student.

So, why not apply this concept to learning science, especially life science? There is a certain textbook publisher that studies insects in the winter if you follow their course chapter by chapter. Well, that works well in warmer climates, but not here is the heartland of the United States! The only kinds of bugs that I find moving are either at the zoo or those creepy thousand leggers that I never want to see!

download Yes, this critter! They are actually called house centipede and only have 15 pairs of legs, but they still startle me every time I see one of them. I digress!

Instead of “sticking to the text”, study insects when they are active and your son has the opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat? You can observe ants by taking a piece of banana outside and watch them cart it away to their home. There will be a scout ant (or two) that you can see scurry off to their anthill to announce to the rest of the workers that a treasure has been found and to come and help take it back for all to enjoy. If you have the time, you can watch the process from start to finish, or come back throughout the day. Your daughter can sketch the ants, the anthill, the banana being devoured. She can research the type of ant it is, what each ant’s job is in the hill, etc.  Magic School Bus Gets Ants in Its Pants video that is all about ants. You can either purchase the video or watch it HERE. You can also have your son read the book as a follow up to what you have observed.

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Fall foliage is a fabulous way of seeing the process of seasonal change. How about going for a walk and collecting different leaves? You can take a leaf identification book with you or bring them home and press the leaves between two pieces of wax paper and a stack of books. has a FREE leaf identification game to take with you.


Have a great time enjoying and learning!  ~Lisa~



Apples! Activities for Your School Day

Did you know there are 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States? 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world? 100 varieties of apples are grown commercially in the United States?* I didn’t either, but that explains why when I go to the store there is another type of apple I haven’t heard of that is available for me to try. Since September will be scurrying away so quickly and apples will soon be past picking, why not take advantage of the varieties that are available and teach an Interest Unit? If you live in Ohio, you can count this for your study of Ohio history. 🙂

Make Applesauce 

Most children love applesauce and it’s such an easy project that your children can help you make it. Start it in your crockpot in the morning and enjoy in the afternoon as a snack.

Materials needed:

8-10 apples- peeled, cored, and cubed

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar (If you buy a sweet variety, you don’t even need this!)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- add to the apples or wait until after it has cooked)

One large crockpot

Place all ingredients in the crockpot and turn on high. Allow apples to cook for 4-5 hours. Depending upon how chunky you want your applesauce to be, you can either take a wooden spoon or potato masher and break up the cooked apples into smaller pieces, or place in a blender and process until you have the desired consistency. Doesn’t this look good?


As the delicious smell of applesauce fills your house you can do some apple inspired school activities.

Free Apple Math Pack has a variety of preschool activities in a sampler. If you like, you can purchase the entire packet.

Thanks to John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, apple orchards were begun across the midwest and were valuable to families who were traveling west during the westward expansion.

Here are some stories of his life to read. With older students, you can pick out the information that is true and that which is fabricated. Create tall tales about Johnny Appleseed.

Johnny Appleseed

Here are some comprehension questions for the story.

What was Johnny Appleseed’s name?

When did he live?

What was his purpose in growing apple trees?  Do you think this was a good idea? Explain why you think it was or was not a good idea.

Write one detail from your reading that is not true.

Why did people make up details about him that were not true?


A documentary for children to watch about the life of Johnny Appleseed would be great for children to take notes. The Story of Liberty

Watch the Disney version of Johnny Appleseed

Compare and contrast the two videos. You could use a T-Chart or a Venn Diagram (Boy! it was hard to find a printable of this, but I found one. yay!)

Have a great day!  ~Lisa~

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Independence Day Resources

Happy Independence Day! Aren’t you glad to live here in the United States of America where we have great freedoms (speech, assembly, religion)? I have some video resources for you to use for this holiday.


Liberty’s Kids– This is an animated series that has 48 videos about the American Revolution. Each of them is approximately 30 minutes long and cover different aspects of the war.  If you enjoy the series you can purchase them by clicking HERE.

Would you like an overview of the American Revolution? Here is a 9 minute video that explains it. * The narrator talks very quickly, so you will likely need to watch it a few times if you want your student to take notes. For the video only, watch below to avoid the sidebars of other video suggestions.


If you have older students and you would like them to learn more about the American Revolution, Khan Academy has 17 lessons with each having a slide show and documents pertaining to the war. There is also a quiz for your student to take afterward on the Declaration of Independence, The Article of Confederations, and The Constitution of the United States. Should you take a summer break, bookmark this resource to use in the future.

What exactly was written in the Declaration of Independence? Here is the document written for you to read: Declaration This same website also has lesson plans, questions, and activities. U.S. HistoryLesson Plans

If your student has an understanding about the American Revolution, then this music video will reinforce what the Declaration of Independence was about to the writers. (Set in a much more modern music style than 1776. 🙂 It’s Too Late to Apologize lesson. Here is the video. For the video only, watch below to avoid the sidebars of other video suggestions.

Enjoy your day! ~Lisa~