MAD (Mindie, Adam, Alex, David) Family Fun is the result of friends and family asking "How do you find so much fun stuff to do?" So, I decided to share with everyone! There are no BIG secrets involved, I promise. I just have a knack for finding fun and now I want to share it with you!

MAD Family Fun is a place to find activities, events and ideas to have more fun with your family. Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Plaster Tracks

Have you ever found an animal track? You might be surprised if you look closes just how many you can find! Here is a fun project that not only will get you out in nature looking for tracks, but will allow you to bring those tracks home! All you need is:
  • a soda bottle (cut into rings)
  • plaster of Paris mix
  • water
  • plastic spoon
  • something to mix in 

Look for tracks on damp ground and soft mud. The best place to look is where animals go to get water. Check out the bank of a creek or lake. If you are walking in a field or wood keep your eyes on paths as animals like to use the easiest way to get around too! Once you have found a good track that you want to keep, clear away any leaves, small stones or twigs without disturbing the track.

Now it is time to make a plaster cast of your print. Place one soda bottle ring around the track so that the track is centered, and press it about 1/2 inch into the ground. This wall that will keep the plaster from running out. Follow the directions that came with the plaster and mix up enough to make a cast of the track..

Now you are ready to pour the plaster into the circle you made earlier. Do NOT pour the plaster directly on the track. It might ruin it. Instead, pour to the side of the track and let it run into the track. Fill the circle to the top. Now you have to wait. No kid enjoys waiting so you can look or other tracks, have a pic-nic, or just go for a walk.

After about 30 minutes the cast should be set enough to remove (Parents use your judgement if you think it needs more time.) Do NOT try to pry the track out, instead dig around and under it and lift it out. You can clean the extra dirt off after it is finished setting. Plaster is warm as it sets, so once it is cool you can clean it off with a brush.

So what did you find? Need some help identifing your tracks? Check out these examples from the USGS website:

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