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It's amazing how many educational uses can be found for Plaster of Paris. One of our favorite activities was burying some shells in a cup of Plaster of Paris and then "discovering" and "recovering" it. We've also made prints of leaves and animal tracks, created sedimentary rock and faux "scrimshaw."
To make the sedimentary rock we mixed Plaster of Paris with sand, divided the mixture into three cups, colored the mixture with food colorings and just a touch of water, and then relayered it into a Styrofoam cup. After the mixture has set, we pulled off the Styrofoam.
To make the scrimshaw, we poured Plaster of Paris into the lid of a Baby Wipes container. After it had set, we scratched traditional scrimshaw designs into the surface with a nail. Then, we rubbed black shoepolish over the surface and into the cracks. Finally, we wiped off the shoe polish leaving it in the cracks.
*You can also purchase plaster molds in a variety of shapes. We bought dinosaur molds to create a whole herd of plaster reptiles.