There are several different kinds of fossils , but the coolest might just be frozen fossils. Frozen fossils occur when an animal becomes e...

Paleontologist Pretend Play - Frozen Fossils


There are several different kinds of fossils, but the coolest might just be frozen fossils. Frozen fossils occur when an animal becomes entrapped somewhere that is freezing. This happened most often during the Ice Age - makes sense since it was freezing everywhere!

Recently million year old perfectly preserved plants frozen under nearly a mile of ice were discovered in Greenland. And several years ago, melting pack ice in Antarctica uncovered the frozen bodies of Adelie penguins from 800 years ago!

Your kids can uncover their own frozen fossils in this fun and chilly activity - perfect for the hot days of summer! It does require planning ahead, but it's very simple. Grab a large plastic container, fill it about 1/4 of the way up (our container is about the size of a 13x9" baking dish and I filled it with 6 cups of water). Toss in some dinosaurs, prehistoric creatures, shells, leaves, and anything else you think will be cool and put the container in the freezer for a couple of hours until it's frozen solid. At that point, add more water to fill the container halfway (I added 6 more cups) and put back in the freezer overnight. I freeze the water in two parts to make sure things are frozen in the middle of the ice and not just at the top and bottom.

When you're ready to excavate, flip the ice block out into a water table, underbed storage bin, or large foil tray. Your kids will need real tools (and close supervision!) to chip away at the ice block or you can give them warm water and salt so they can melt the ice. We decided to chip away at the ice with the kids' hammers and screwdrivers.

The ice was really stuck to this little guy so Lil C put him out in the sun to finish thawing.

They chipped and broke the ice until they freed all the creatures that were trapped in it. And then the resulting water and ice chunks inspired Squidgy to set up a slushie stand! 

I hope you enjoy all our paleontologist pretend play activities! In case you missed them, be sure to check out:

Additional sources: "What is a Frozen Fossil"