Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Dinosaur Theme (long)
Dinosaur Theme (long)
Tue, 13 Apr 1999 08:14:23 -0400
Well, the first weekend of our Cub & Partner Campout is over. Many of you
on the list helped me out with suggestions for a Dinosaur Theme. This was
very sucessful. The patch (my first design) can be viewed at
The Cub & Partner Campout is a Tiger/Wolf/Bear campout with their adult
partner (Also called Lad n' Dad, Fun with Son, Mom and Me, etc). It is a
one night camping experience with activites the next morning. We had great
weather this year.
I was in charge of the Archery and BB Ranges. I decorated them in giant
poles of rivercane (looks like bamboo) for that Jungle-y look. We had
Dinosaur clip-art enlarged to fill 8x10 sheets, then the BB gunners got to
'bag some dinos' which they did with great relish. Over at the Archery
range, there were postersized kid-drawn dinos on the hay bales for shooting
with arrows. The kids in the camp got to draw the dinosaurs on posterboard
(oaktag 18"x22') while at the Crackerbarrel the night before.
They all had nametags with dinosaur species on them. Made it easy to
divide up for games if needed.
One of the really fun things that I did was make up a Fossil Dig. The DE
had a truckload of sand dumped in the area between the 2 ranges. Then i
buried all kinds of 'fossils', some real, some almost real, some made up.
It included the skull and jawbones of a cow (Bovineosaurus, a Cretaceous
plant eater), bunches of shells (both fossil and real), plus some plaster
of Paris constructions of huge bones, teeth and claws.
Here's how to make your fossils (Start at least a week ahead to allow for
drying time). Use small batches of plaster at first, and make all of your
forms before mixing the plaster (follow directions on box, reducing the
water by a small amount):
*Big legbones, ribs, etc: use treebranches, make the joints with wadded
newspaper, then tape with masking tape to cover. Then tear strips of
cotton sheeting (about 4-5 inches (10 cm) wide by as long as you can
handle, I found 12-18 inches to be good) and soak the strips in plaster,
then wrap and smooth the strips around the wood/paper form (no air
pockets). One layer will do it. Then, as the plaster hardens, smooth on
another thin layer of plaster alone to make the bone smoother and hide the
Dry thoroughly (1-2 days or more, depending on the size). Then sponge on
woodstain to make them look old. Coat with a layer or two of shellac,
polyurethane, etc. to seal the plaster. Better seal will reduce it
gathering moisture in the sand pit.
*For Teeth, Claws, etc: make a mold in damp sand of the general shape of
a large dinosaur (T.Rex) tooth, 'raptor claw, etc. Place a layer of plastic
wrap over the sand mold, pour plaster in and let it set up well (45
minutes). Remove from the mold and, using an old pocketknife, finish
carving the plaster into the shape you wish (look in a dinosaur fossil book
for ideas). Dry, stain, and finish as above. Giant sharks' teeth work
well, too. This was very easy to do. Make them big, they will not break
For the actual dig, have plenty of paintbrushes and (maybe) wooden spoons.
Make the rule that they cannot remove the bone from the site until it is
completely excavated, brushed free of sand, and standing free. Emphasize
how fragile fossils are, they may be small or very large, they will break
if you pry them out, and how we must give them to the museum to be
identified and cataloged. This will get the Scouts in on the side of
conserving the fossils, rather than simply posessing them. Have a wooden
crate (addressed to your local museum: Attn Paleontological Staff) with
straw for the large bones, smaller box for the teeth, claws, shells, and
bone chips. (Must save them, too, they may be fragments of a bigger find)
The kids had a great time, they loved the story of finding the bones and
having to get them ready for our museum. They really felt like they were
part of a real dig, and I do believe that we will have some future scientists!
Oh, as an extremely humorous aside, I was dressed in cargo shorts, a straw
large brimmed hat and a jungle-print shirt, and one of the boys looked up
at me and said in all seriousness "you look just like the lady in Jurassic
Park". That flabbergasted me, as I look more like the computer-nerd
character, except shorter. Well, being compared to tall, blonde, lithe,
Luara Dern just made my day!!! Still floating on that one!
Anyway, if anyone has any other ideas, post them to the list, as I know
that there are Day Camps out there that are using the Dinosaur Theme and
they can use your help, too.
Lorie McGraw <email@example.com>
Etowah Creek District, Indian Waters Council, Columbia, SC
The Soap Carver's Page
The Slide Show http://home.att.net/~llmcgraw/etowah/slides.htm