As our quest to find things to do with our toddler, this passed weekend had the Rock and Fossil Fair at the NYS Museum in Albany. It is a family friendly event where kids get to wander around the museum and participate in some learning activities.

If Jacob was a few years older, this would have been perfect. However, at the age of 2, we’re still on the “Just a tad too young” side to truly enjoy the fair. This is not a criticism to the museum, it’s staff, or the volunteers who helped organize and run the event. It is just that at 2 his attention span is not quite long enough. Listening to the explanation of how changing the velocity of the water current in a river affects the settling of suspended sediment at various locations, it just isn’t as exciting as cartoons.

Additionally, the lines for each of the 12 stations that they had set up were just not going to work for him. He is super excited to be at the museum (which is AWESOME), and there are a lot of things to look at and explore. Compare that to the “excitement” of standing in line patiently with nothing to play with besides the matchbox cars we have in my wife’s purse and…..well….Let’s just say that we didn’t bother with anything with an actual line.

Here’s a gallery of what we were able to experience:

One thing that we, as adults, were able to get from this were the fake rocks that the kids were able to break open to get a toy. After some quick google searching, here’s an easy recipe for how to make them:

Homemade Rocks Recipe (Short Version)

  • Preheat oven to 150F
  • Mix all these up:
    • 1 cup used coffee grounds
    • 1/2 cup salt
    • 1/4 cup sand
    • 1 cup flour
    • 3/4 cup water
  • Knead into a dough
  • Stick a small toy inside, roll into “rock”
  • Bake in oven for 2hrs
  • Let air dry for 2 days
  • Let’s play!

The above recipe is from the website However the volunteer running this event had a slightly different ingredient list and suggested baking the “rocks” at 200F for 4hrs with no extras days for additional drying. Given that the toys were absolutely fine, I would go with the 200F for 4hrs, then just allow them to cool. Obviously, if you’re feeling extra crafty you can go to town with decorating your rocks (or have the kids decorate them for extra activity time) or adding coloring to the dough just for funzy.

So what’s going on in your town? Are there any fun activities that are family friendly where you are? Be sure to share this post with some of your own family and friends who have kiddos of an appropriate age for this. Or, maybe some friends who are “Young at Heart”!