Mimicking Nature at Home or in the Classroom

All children love science experiments, they like to get involved and use their hands and to see the visual changes that come about from the experiments.

Experiments in the classroom or homeschool are great for showing how nature works in the big outdoors, replicating events in a small, controlled way makes studying science and nature fun and informative – more so than just reading it in a book or looking it up on the computer.

We’ve got some cool science based tools that help children to better understand the world around them.  They can be used purely as fun toys or as a accompaniment to science and nature lessons in the classroom or homeschool class.

From growing your own crystals to building a volcano, we can pique your children’s interest in the natural world.

Crystal Growing Experimental Kit

Crystal Growing Kit

Crystal Growing Kit

This large kit can be used to study 7 different crystal growing experiments.  Once the different colored crystals have grown they can then be displayed in the included cases to be kept for future reference.   This kit is ideal for older children aged 10 and over.

Magic Rocks

This classic set has been around for years and with good reason—it is every bit as fascinating and fun today as it was years ago.  Grow your own underwater rock garden in minutes.  Great for nurturing an interest in rocks and gems.

Magic Rocks

Magic Rocks

Volcano Making Kit

Everyone loves a volcano, but this miniature experiment set is perfectly safe to conduct in your own home or classroom.   Your children can cast and paint their own volcano and then watch it erupt with fizzing lava.

Volcano Making Kit

Volcano Making Kit

Pet Tornado

No need for dangerous road trips storm chasing for tornados, this miniature tornado in a can will help children to understand the physics behind one of nature’s most destructive forces.

Pet Tornado

Pet Tornado

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Winter Nature Projects – Studying Life Cycles

It may be cold and snowy outside (very snowy depending on where you live), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t study nature and enjoy learning about the life cycles of various creatures.

While we have lots of different live insect and animal kits on offer, shipping at this time of the year is often impossible due to the effect it will have on the creatures.  However, there are other ways to learn about life cycles at this time of year that are just as fun and interesting.

Coloring books and information books are great for explaining how insects and other creature evolve from larvae or tadpoles into fully formed animals.  Also, life cycle figurines are excellent for children to hold and pass around the classroom to fully understand the bodily changes that happen during the life cycle.

There are many different types of insects to study, and this method of study can be backed up in spring by using live insect kits.  The children will already know what to expect of the insects or creatures which will make the exercise more exciting and interesting to watch as the transformation happens.

Frog Life Cycle Figurines

Frog Life Cycle Figurines

Ladybug Life Cycle Figurines are soft plastic figurines that are perfect for little hands are a great introduction into the study of these favorite insects. Older children with better reading skills can also use the ‘A Ladybug Larva Grows Up’ book to further illustrate and explain the life cycle.

Ladybug Life Cycle Book

Ladybug Life Cycle Book

If you want to study butterflies, but would prefer to wait for warmer weather to buy a live butterfly kit, then we have a range of study aids that can be used in the colder months.  From books, to stickers and rubber stamps, these educational aids are perfect for homeschoolers or classrooms.

Butterfly Life Cycle Rubber Stamps

Butterfly Life Cycle Rubber Stamps

Ant farms are excellent ways to study the amazing world of ants, but if you’re shipping into a cold area below 40º then you might prefer to use figurines, books, and rubber stamps.

Life and Times of Ants

Life and Times of Ants

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Explore the Amazing World of Ants

Ants are amazing little creatures, they have a super strength that belies their small bodies, and working together they are a force for most things regardless of their size or strength.

A colony of ants is fascinating to watch, trying to establish what each different ant is doing and what’s its role is in the community.  These busy little insects never seem to stop, constantly going back and forth, gathering food, making tunnels or looking after the young.

Ant farms are a great way to watch this tiny world up close and personal.  Not wondering what happens when the ants disappear into their nest, these kits show you how they move and go about their daily business at any time of the day.

Ant will be on the go pretty much constantly, although they do tend to slow down when the weather is cooler.  By placing the ant farm in different locations in your classroom or home you can see the effect that temperature has on the work rate of ants.  If you put the ant farm in the refrigerator or outdoor in winter for a few minutes, you will see that the ants slow right down, but once they are warmed up again to room temperature they will quickly carry on as normal.

Ant farms are constantly evolving too, nowadays ant farms come in a variety of colors, and use space technology for the environment which provides all the nutrients the ants need to survive as well as a material to tunnel through.

Ant Works Ant Farm

Ant Works Ant Farm

 

Bright colors and LED lights that project shadows of the ants onto ceilings make the ant farms much more fun, but if you prefer a more natural and traditional ant farm, we have ones where the ants make their homes in sand and you can see them fetch and carry the sand to clear tunnels for their co-workers.

Safari Ant Farm

Safari Ant Farm

 

The latest designs in ant farms now combine two features—an ant farm and a terrarium.  So you can study the ants going about their business in the NASA designed gel as you watch the seeds you plant grow into thriving plants—a true ecosystem!

Ecosystem Ant Habitat

Ecosystem Ant Habitat

Whatever style of ant farm you prefer, we can assure you that they will provide you with hours of entertainment as well as help to educate children about how ants live.

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Understanding How Compost Works

How things decay and decompose is a fascinating subject for anyone—child or adult, and being able to watch something break down and become one with the soil is a valuable learning experience.

In the same way that we can see something like a piece of fruit or vegetable quickly break down, the experiment will also show how long some things take to decompose (if ever). Which is a valuable lesson in how we can better treat our environment and how some products, such as plastics, glass and other non-composting items are better to be sent to the recycling center so that they can be made into something else.

This unique clear composting container has three compartments that show the decomposition in action. It’s a great homeschool or classroom experiment that shows pupils which household items can be thrown into the compost in the backyard and which should be disposed of more carefully.

Clear Composting Container

Clear Composting Containeront

This lesson in ecology and recycling can help us all to become more environmentally aware and help us to look at ways of reducing our carbon footprint. Whether this is to always compost all of our vegetable peelings and fruit cores and skins, or recycling packaging that is potentially damaging to the earth if sent to landfills by leaching toxin poisons into the earth.

Children will be able to see how something such as a banana skin decomposes, and they will be amazed at how quickly it disappears into seemingly nothing, whereas a piece of paper or cardboard will take longer to break down into the soil.

The composting container is great to use as either a short-term experiment or to use as a longer experiment that can go over a school term or even a whole school year. It can also be used in conjunction with a worm farming kit to further illustrate bio-diversity and how worms are important in helping vegetable matter to break down quicker and thus

Worm Farm

Worm Farm

improving the fertility of the soil, making it better to grow plants and flowers in.

 

The container is aerated and also has magnification spots that will intensify the heat within the compartments to speed up the decomposition process as well as making the process easier to view. Thermometers in each compartment will show the temperature changes that occur whilst the items in the compartment are decomposing.

Further experiments can be carried out on the soil, using soil from each compartment to grow seeds in and establishing which soil is more fertile.

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Make 2014 Your Fun Science Year

The earlier you introduce your children to science, the more likely they are to really enjoy learning about the subject and excel at it in later years.

Whether you focus on Physics, Chemistry or Biology, it doesn’t matter, so long as you and you children have fun whilst learning about how the world works and how important science is.

You don’t need to introduce complicated formulas or start drilling the periodic table to get young children interested in science, if anything introducing these difficult (and maybe a little bit boring) elements too soon and you may turn your child off science.

The beauty of science is all around us, and there are many experiments that you can do with your children that are completely free of charge and can be found using items around you to start to pique the interest and begin a life-long love affair with the natural world.
Explaining in simple terms how gravity works, why the water drains in a certain direction, or how water can turn to steam or ice are great ways to show science and nature at work within the home.

Why the water drain in a clockwise direction?

Why the water drain in a clockwise direction?

When your child asks a science based question, take the time to try and answer them.  Even if you don’t actually know the answer, you can both sit down and look it up on the internet.  Answering questions is a great way to furthering their interest and want to know more and more about a subject.

There are also lots of fun, educational toys that help to explain scientific events in ways that are easy to comprehend and are great to play with over and over again.

Can you defy gravity with a Gyroscope toy?  This toy is aimed at children 6 and over and will help to explain how gravity works as well as being incredibly fun to use.   Investigate further on the internet to find out different ways that gyroscope technology is used in navigational systems in planes, ships and even spacecraft!

Gyroscope Toy

Gyroscope Toy

Plasma balls are not a new toy, but the fact that they have endured the test of time is that they are so much fun.  These mini plasma balls will help older children of 10 and over to understand a little bit more about electricity as they hold their hands on the ball and watch the lightning bolts come towards them.

Mini Plasma Ball

Mini Plasma Ball

Learn all about prisms, color, and light projection with this crystal light prism.  The hand-sized acrylic prism can be used indoors against a blank wall or outdoors on a sunny day to create rainbows.  Suitable for children over 8 years old.

Crystal Light Prism

Crystal Light Prism

 

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Scientific Christmas Present Ideas – Rocks, Crystals and Gemstones

Get your children interested in the natural world this Christmas and help to pique their interest in nature.

Studying rocks, crystals and gemstones can be great fun, understanding how they form, how many millions of years old they may be, and what was on the earth with them at the same time can be fascinating for children of all ages, and adults too!

Unearth the budding paleontologist in your family and help them to learn all about how fossils are formed with this collection of fossils, some of which may be up to 7 million years old!  The fossils are hand selected for their texture, color and overall appearance and could form the start of your child’s interest in the subject.

Fossil  Collection

Fossil Collection

If pretty and sparkly stones are more to your child’s taste, then this collection of gemstones will delight and educate them.  Help them to discover what each stone is called and how it is formed in the natural world, whilst admiring the beauty of each one.

Gemstone Box

Gemstone Box

To further educate your children in the world of gemstones, this book will explain all the different types of precious and semi-precious gemstone found all over the world.

Gemstone Book

Gemstone Book

If you like to conduct science experiments with your children to have fun and further their education, then this mineral kit could be just the stocking filler for you this Christmas.   It contains 15 different minerals, along with a magnifying glass, nail to test for hardness and tile to investigate the color of the powdered residue from the minerals.

Mineral Science Kit

Mineral Science Kit

You don’t need to send your children down the mines to let them see how crystals are extracted from rocks.  This crystal mining kit can be done in the comfort of your own home and children will marvel at how such beautiful crystals can come from such dull looking rocks and stones.

Crystal Mining Kit

Crystal Mining Kit

Speaking of crystals, how about growing one of your own!  This amazing crystal growing kit comes in a variety of colors and you can grow your very own crystal with ease.

Crystal Growing Kit

Crystal Growing Kit

If you want to take your study of rocks and fossils out of the home, then we have books that will help you and your children to locate the best places to find interesting rocks and fossils and how to identify them.

Rock & Fossil Hunter Book

Rock & Fossil Hunter Book

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Countdown to Christmas – Moving Model Insects

Are you looking for a great nature inspired present for your children this year that will not only be great fun, but also educational?

Check out these amazing moving model kits!  These amazing moving model kits come in two varieties – scorpion and praying mantis –and are perfect for children aged 8 upwards.

For children aged 8-14, these kits are a great way to spend some bonding time with a parent or grandparent as they assemble the models into lifelike moving figures.  Older children and adults will have great fun making these insects on their own!

The scorpion and praying mantis models take around an hour to make, using a combination of aluminium pre-punched plates, screws, nuts, and springs, with the all the necessary tools provided, so no need to raid the garage for a correct screwdriver or wrench.

Moving Scorpion Model Kit

Moving Scorpion Model Kit

Much more interesting to look at than a puzzle or model aircraft once constructed, these super cool insects have movable parts and will help your children learn more about the insect world and these amazing creatures.

Super easy to follow instructions that can be understood by younger children will help you to create these master pieces in your own home, and then take to school to show all of their friends how awesome they look.

Moving Praying Mantis Model Kit

Moving Praying Mantis Model Kit

All you need to do is make the tough decision between the praying mantis or the claw pinching, tail stinging, scorpion!

 

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Introducing Children to Gardening

Children of all ages love to watch things grow, and given the chance, will be thrilled to plant something themselves and watch and wait for the flower or plant to emerge.

Whilst most children aren’t known for their patience, there are plenty of plants that grow quite quickly so will keep your children’s attention.   In addition to growing plants of their own, children will be delighted by the wildlife such as bees, butterflies and humming birds that come to visit their plant and drink the nectar.

Thankfully, finding fun plant products that are quick and easy to grow in all conditions is simple.   We here at Nature Gifts have a range of plants that will quickly help to cement your child’s interest in plants and develop those little green fingers.

Here is a selection of a few of our favorite plant products to encourage children to learn to love gardening:

Deluxe Kids Gardening Observation Kit

This amazing kit will help children to understand how plants grow underneath the earth as well as above it.

Quick to grow and even better, is the fact that your child can eat the fruits of their labor.  The kit contains special potting soil for maximum growth and seeds for radishes, carrots, and green onions.

This kit also makes a great classroom or homeschool nature experiment and comes complete with instructions, suggested activities and a journal so you can plot the progress of the seeds.

Gardening Observation Kit

Deluxe Gardening Observation Kit

Ladybug Daisy Garden

What child (or adult) doesn’t love ladybugs?  So this fun colorful planter will help to attract wonderful ladybugs to your backyard where they can help to keep down gardening nuisances such as aphids.

Ladybug Daisy Garden

Ladybug Daisy Garden

This planter will produce lovely Shasta daisies with white petals and yellow centres.  Perfect for small spaces such as window sills or porches.

Bee Shaped Herb Garden

If bees are more to your child’s liking then this colorful and cheerful bee planter could be just the thing.  The seeds are for the perennial herb, Bee Balm, which as well as attracting bees, butterflies and even humming birds, can be eaten and used in cooking in the same way as mint.

The beautiful flowers will be a great addition to any back yard.

Bee Shaped Herb Garden

Bee Shaped Herb Garden

Fairy Garden Terrarium Kit

For younger children who still believe in the magic of fairies, this wonderful little terrarium kit would make the perfect introduction to the world of gardening.

Fairy Garden

Fairy Garden

Growing a mixture of lobelia, thyme and evening star, this kit can be used either indoors or outdoors and is sure to provide a draw for local fairies!

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Four Fantastic Nature Inspired Christmas Gifts

When it comes to stocking fillers for Christmas presents, you can often get a little stuck for ideas. With this in mind we’ve come up with 4 fantastic ideas that will inspired your children to look at the natural world around them and fall in love with nature.

Chameleon Vision Glasses

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to view the world through the eyes of another creature, then this is the gift for you!

The unique chameleon eye mask will enable you to see your surrounding habitat in two directions at once, and can even give you a 360º view as the chameleon himself would experience.

Chameleon Vision Glasses

Chameleon Vision Glasses

Great for understanding how the chameleon evades predators and finds his food so quickly and efficiently, these chameleon vision glasses will help your child to understand more about this amazing creature.

It is also great fun to be able to see both in front of you and behind you at the same time!

Bug Eye Vision Glasses

Of course if you’d prefer to see the world from both an upwards and a downwards view at the same time then maybe these bug eye vision glasses would be a better choice for you?

Using three different lenses in each eye piece you can see the world in the same way as your favorite bug would.

Bug Eye Vision Glasses

Bug Eye Vision Glasses

Paint Your Own Butterfly House

For those who love butterflies and love to paint and draw, this paint your own butterfly house would make a perfect Christmas gift.

Paint Your Own Butterfly House

Paint Your Own Butterfly House

This beautifully made wooden butterfly house comes complete with paints so that you can design and create your own wonderful shelter to entice butterflies to visit and stay in your back yard next spring.

Rock Science Kit

For the budding geologist in your family, there is the Rock Science Kit. This kit comes with 15 different types of rock and a magnifying glass so that they can study them in close detail and describe what they see.

Rock Science Kit

Rock Science Kit

 

Each kit contains 5 rocks from the Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary categories so they can truly explore and understand the world around them.

All of these gifts would make great stocking fillers, but they would also make fantastic educational tools as part of a classroom or homeschool experiment or nature project.  Visit our website for more ideas for nature and science lessons http://www.nature-gifts.com

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4 Spooky Plants for Halloween

We all know that ghost, goblins and ghouls are scary.  And plenty of creatures and insects have the ability to terrify, but did you know that some plants could also be scary too?

From meat-eating plants to plants that can play dead and then suddenly spring back to life, the plant world offers up some surprisingly scary plants, and that’s before we get started on all the plants that can sting, nip and prick!

We come up four of our favorite scary plants that are actually quite beautiful to look at.  These fascinating plants will keep you and your children entertained all year round and have the added bonus of being incredibly easy to look after.

Venus Fly Trap

Probably the most famous of the flesh-eating plants, the Venus fly trap does exactly what it says on the tin!  The hinged jaws remain tantalizingly open, drawing in its prey, and then SNAP, once a fly has brushed up against the teeth (or trigger hairs) the jaw quickly shuts and the plant will then start to devour the insect.

These plants are extremely easy to care for, and simply need water and a warm environment to thrive in and keep down your bug population.

Venus Fly Trap

Venus Fly Trap

Zombie Plant

This cunning plant will pretend to be dead if you touch it, and then after a few minutes it will spring back to life.   Its vivid green foliage will literally curl up and play dead.    The Mimosa Pudica is so sensitive that even the slightest touch from a human hand will have this effect.    Don’t worry though, after about 5 to 10 minutes the plant will return to its normal bushy state.

Pitcher Plant

Another bug-eating plant is the Pitcher Plant, these beautiful plant has long leaves which it folds into a cup or goblet shape.  The plant then produces sweet smelling nectar to lure unsuspecting insects into the tubular leaves.   Once there, the insect will slowly drown in the sticky nectar which uses chemicals to devour the nutrients from the bug.

Pitcher Plant

Pitcher Plant

Glow in the Dark Cactus Garden

Cacti and succulents are fascinating plants; with spines or strange spongy leaves these plants can grow into strange and unusual shapes.   Cacti are a particular favorite with children, not only are these prickly plants awesome to look at (particularly against a glow in the dark background), but they so easy to look after as they hardly ever need watering.

Glow in the Dark Cactus Kit

Glow in the Dark Cactus Kit

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