flag image

At Home Archaeology Activity with Your Preschooler

'Hide and Seek!' activity helps develop observational skills

January 2012

For the upcoming Preschool-based exhibit The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head®, The Children's Museum Preschool students will be visiting the SPUD Quest area of the exhibit to learn about archaeology. Back in the classroom, the preschoolers will take part in the activity Hide and Seek! to develop observational skills and practice following directions as they learn about the process of excavating an archaeological site.

You can do this activity at home with your preschooler!

Hide and Seek!


• Salt dough (see recipe)

• 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. 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.


• When dry, explain to your child that they are going to be an archaeologist excavating a dig site and present the dough.

• 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.

• 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.

The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head® based on developmental milestones set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and national academic standards.

The Adventures of MR. POTATO HEAD was created by the Betty Brinn Children's Museum in collaboration with PLAYSKOOL®. The exhibit is sponsored nationally by Northwestern Mutual Foundation, with additional supported provided by Debra Altshul Stark and Brian Stark and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Preschool Manager at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Tags: Enrichment, In This Issue, Preschool

Comments ()
Race for a Cure
St. Francis
Childrens museum