A fun camping activity for the kids is to create some plaster animal tracks. This can be a memorable souvenir and keepsake for years to come. The supplies are simple, but finding a good animal’s track to cast can be a bit tricky. All you need will be some plaster of paris mix, a disposable mixing bowl, and a shoe box or other medium-sized box for a form.
To create a nice plaster animal tracks casting, you might have to get a little creative. If you are camping on or near a beach, you have an ideal setting to find perfect tracks. Just walk the beach and look for nice crisp tracks with a good depth and clean borders. In the woods, you’ll need to create the right casting bed…
Find some sand, gravel, or make some mud with silt and water. You can even use an old pizza box or lid for your casting material. Smooth out the sand, silt or mud and place the bait (pizza crust, bread, apple,,,,) at one end. Place your mold far enough away from the tent where you won’t have any overnight visitors.
Check your mold in the morning to see if who indulged on your midnight snack. Look up their footprints on an animal tracks guide. Feel like a sleuth? Now that you have some good animal tracks, you’re ready to start the craft.
Cut out the bottom of a shoebox or small pizza box, so that you’re left with a square form. Use this form to frame the plaster animal tracks mold. With a stick, rock or a pencil, scrape the name of the animal, the year, camper’s name, or any other details that you want on your casting. Add any small rocks, beads, or other camping treasures around the border – this can be a nice touch and look really neat when it’s all done!
Take your disposable mixing bowl and fill approximately 1/3 full of cold water. Mix in the plaster of paris and stir until it is creamy in texture. Gently pour into your mold and smooth with a plastic knife or piece of cardboard. You’ll only have a few minutes before the mix hardens, so don’t take too much time to pour it and be sure to make enough mix for the whole mold.
What if you don’t have any good animal tracks to work with?
Getting a good impression for plaster animal tracks can be tricky. So what if it doesn’t happen? Plan B – Camper Tracks! A back-up plan is a good thing to have to avoid little camper let-down! Using the same steps above have the campers make a handprint mold. You can even do this right in the plaster itself. Just use your shoe box or small pizza box, pour the plaster mix in the box, place any rocks and other camping treasures around the perimeter; have the campers make a nice handprint in the middle, and them take a stick and scrape their names at the bottom before the mix dries. Have them rinse off their hands good afterwards!
Plaster animal tracks (or camper tracks 😉 can be a fun activity for the kids and adults, alike. It’s a fun craft and makes a nice memento. If you’re looking for a new idea for your next camping trip, give it a try!