Spring Growing with a Difference

Spring is traditionally a time for growing things from seed and is also a great time of year to introduce young children to the delights of gardening and plant growing.  However, you don’t have to be green-fingered to grow something, nor do you have to grow plants.

Often children, particularly younger children, like the idea of planting seeds or seedlings, but because many plants take a long time to grow, they can often get bored before the process is complete.

We’ve come up with three growing ideas that will grab the attention of your children, help them learn about science and nature, and above all, will take hours rather than months to come to fruition, making them fun experiments to do at the weekend, in class or as a homeschool project.  These kits are ideal for children aged 10 and above, but will need adult supervision.

Crystal Growing

Our Crystal Growing Kit comes in a range of colors and kids can instantly grow crystals up to 2 inches in diameter and inches tall.  The kits are a great way to introduce children of all ages to chemistry in a fun and controlled way and produce something beautiful they can keep forever.

Crystal Growing Kit

Crystal Growing Kit

Magic Rocks

For a super-fast lesson in growing, how about our Rock Growing Kits?  These kits grow colored stones in just a matter of minutes.  The rocks can grow to different heights and the experiment can be repeated at a later date if you don’t grow all the rocks at the same time.

Magic Rocks

Magic Rocks

The large sized Magic Rock kits come with their own plastic water container to create your own rock garden, both the small and large sized kits come with decorations to help decorate your underwater rock garden.

Candy Growing

Whilst we know that rocks and crystals are very interesting, we doubt many children would turn their noses up at growing their own candy!

Candy Crystals Growing Kit

Candy Crystals Growing Kit

The Candy Crystal Kits are not instant and take around a week, but it’s a great way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon providing fun and something to look forward to the next week.

As it says on the box – ‘Science You Can Eat!’

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Posted in Crystals, Gardening with Children, Nature Projects, rocks and fossils, Science Toys | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Easter Eggs with a Difference!

Easter holidays provide a great time to teach children about new life.  While they gorge on chocolate and candy eggs, you can show them that eggs are truly magical; a start to an amazing life journey for so many different types of creatures.

Whilst most young children realize that birds hatch from eggs, many might not know that fish, reptiles, insects and amphibians also start out in life as an egg.

Teaching children about the life cycles of different species of animals is a fantastic way of getting them to really connect with nature.

Our live animal kits offer an amazing experience for children of all ages to witness up close and personal all the changes the creature goes through to reach adulthood.

Live Ladybug Kit

We send you all you need to watch a ladybug develop from larvae into a mature adult.  Ladybugs are often one of children’s favorite insects and are much loved by gardeners too as their diet consists of all those pesky bugs that tend to do so much damage to the vegetable and flower patch.

Ladybug Kit

Live Ladybug Kit

As an added bonus, this is a great time of year to order live ladybug kits if you want to release the adult insects into your backyard.

Live Butterfly Kits

Our best-selling item, the live butterfly kit lets children study the unique and amazing lifecycle of Painted Lady butterfly.  Watch as the caterpillars grow and then cocoon themselves whilst metamorphosing into adult butterflies.

Live butterfly kit

Learn all about the life cycle of a butterfly with a live butterfly kit

Again the butterflies can be released into your neighborhood, or they can live out their lifespan in the giant net provided.

Live Tadpole Kits

Spring is the traditional time for tadpoles, so the Easter holidays are perfect for our live tadpole kits.

Grow a Frog Kit

Grow a Frog Kit

Choose either one or two tadpoles to grow and enjoy their changes along the way.  Once the tadpole has transformed into an adult frog you will then have a pet frog to look after and care for.

As an additional learning tool, we have books that detail the changes the insect or frog undergoes during its lifecycle.  These help children (and parents and teachers) to fully understand the transformation occurring and chart the progress of the creatures.

Ladybug Life Cycle Book

Ladybug Life Cycle Book

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Posted in Live Animal Kits, Live Butterfly Kit, Live Ladybug kits, Live Tadpole Kit | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bring Spring Indoors with a Live Tadpole Kit

Early spring is the time of year that frogs start their life cycle. From tiny egg to fully formed frog, this amazing transformation is beginning to take place around the world in lakes, ponds, rivers and canals.

 

Live Tadpole Kit

Live Tadpole Kit

Frogs are one of those creatures that always seem to hold a particular fascination for young children. Whether it’s the numerous fairy tales they have been involved in or a rather famous muppet that has catapulted this amphibian to stardom, the humble frog does seem to hold a special place in our hearts.

However, you don’t need to go out and find a source of water to view the life cycle of a frog.  You can witness this extraordinary feat of nature up close and personal in the comfort of your own home or classroom.

Our live tadpole kits are ideal for teaching children of all ages (and even adults!) about the life cycle of frogs.

Live Tadpole Kit

Live Tadpole Kit

Starting as a young tadpole, this time of year is perfect as it mimics what would be happening in the wild at exactly the same time, although our tadpole kits can be used all year round, which makes them a fun winter project.

The timescale of the transformation makes it an excellent science and nature project for either homeschooling or the classroom.  It will take between 12 to 16 weeks for your tadpoles to mature into adult frogs which creates lots of opportunities along the way to learn all about frogs—their diet, their habitat, how they breed, as well as how different they look week to week.   Use the internet or reference books to further enhance the study.

FromTadpoletoFrogL

Children will love drawing or photographing the different stages of the tadpole’s life and grow really fond of their new friend as it grows and matures.

The live tadpole kits comes with everything you need to study the life cycle of the tadpole, all you need to provide is the water!  Clear, step by step instructions are included and once your frog has reached adulthood if looked after correctly, he or she could happily live for up to five years.

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3 Fun Indoor Growing Projects for Children

Spring is the perfect time to get children of all ages interested in gardening, or just growing things in general.

You don’t need a large backyard to get started, if you live in an apartment then a few pots or a window box can produce surprising results.

Even if you don’t have any space at all outside, there are plenty of indoor gardening projects you can complete with your children which will yield pretty flowers, interesting plants and even yummy things to eat.

Here are three of our favorite indoor gardening projects to do with children:

Grow a lemon tree

This is a long term project which does require patience as well as quite a bit of attention, but it is easy to get started.  Simply take the pips from a lemon (preferably an organic Meyer lemon) and soak them in warm water for a day or two, then plant in a small container with quality compost.

Keep the pot moist at all times and in a warm place where it will receive plenty of sunlight and within a few weeks, you should see your seeds sprout.

Continue to grow your tree, planting up into a bigger pot when it outgrows it old one and one day, all your love and attention may actually be rewarded with lemons!

Even if your lemon tree doesn’t fruit, it will give off a lovely zesty aroma.

Sprouting Projects

If you wanted a project that was much faster and could be repeated regularly then a window sprouting box could be the thing for you!

Gardening Observation Kit

Often when we plant things we have no idea what’s going on under the soil and only see what’s happening with the plant above ground, once it sprouts.

This Sprout and Grow Window Kit is great for showing how root vegetables grow and best of all, once you’ve completed the project you can eat your vegetables for dinner!

Sprout and Grow Window Kit

Sprout and Grow Window Kit

The kit can be used time and time again to grow the onion, radish and carrots seeds provided and you can experiment with other types of seeds you want to see grow.

Cactus Garden

If you’re not particularly green-fingered and have a habit of killing house plants by forgetting to water them, then perhaps a cactus garden might be better suited to help your children to learn about how plants grow.

With 20 different types of cactus seeds – some of which will sprout within a week, this fast growing cacti arrangement needs minimal care once established.

MiniCactusL

 

 

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Perfect Insect Kits for Outdoor Release

While all of our live insect and animal kits can be used all year round, using the kits in spring and then releasing the adult bugs into your backyard or school garden adds a special touch to the project.

Teaching children about the life cycle of different animals is both enjoyable and essential for them to understand how the world works, and how all creatures, great and small, play an important role in the biodiversity of the planet.

Because the life cycle of insects is relatively short, and also because they go through such vast and noticeable physical changes, they make perfect homeschool or classroom science and nature projects.

Starting the kits off in early spring will mean that by the time the insects have reached adulthood it will be the optimum temperature outside for them to be released into the wild (other times of the year the insects would complete their life cycle indoors with the kit provided), which adds another element to the whole process, and if you’re really lucky they might even stick around rather than fly off never to be seen again.

Butterfly Kit

Few can argue about just how fascinating the life cycle of a butterfly is.  The short timescale will keep children of all ages engaged and actively checking for progress each day.  It takes just three weeks for the small hairy, creepy crawlies with many legs to turn into a beautiful winged insect, so you could repeat the whole project several times throughout the summer if you wanted to release more butterflies in the wild.

live butterfly kits for schools

Live Butterfly Kits for Schools

Our live butterfly kits contain all you need to see a handful of caterpillars transform into Painted Lady butterflies.

 

Ladybug Kits

Ladybugs are another firm favorite of children and adults alike.  These pretty bugs are amazing garden-friendly creatures who will happily munch on pests such the aphids who want to destroy your vegetable patch.

The metamorphosis of a ladybug runs on much the same timescale as butterflies, so you can expect the adult ladybugs to be ready for release in around two to three weeks.

Ladybug Kit

Live Ladybug Kit

The live ladybug kits contain all you need to raise ladybugs from larvae to adult bugs, and you have the option to either keep the ladybugs in the domed habitat provided or once it reaches 55ºF, releasing them outdoors.

If you want to help attract ladybugs and butterflies to your backyard, or entice the ones you’ve raised to stick around, butterfly and ladybug houses offer a cute place for them to shelter from adverse weather, and in the case of ladybugs, even over-winter.

Butterfly House

 

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Get Your Backyard Ready for Spring Visitors

While it may be wet, cold or even snowy outside, spring is just around the corner (honest!), and with spring comes an abundance of nature.

Buds appear on trees, blossoms start to spring up, pushing their way through the snow to bring life and color.

With the flowers, the insects follow quickly and the birds which feed upon them. From the stark contrast of the white, bleak winter comes a buzz of activity and the welcome hustle and bustle of nature.

Whilst the animals will come, if you want to attract a wide variety of birds and insects to your backyard there are a few things you can do to encourage them to visit and even take up permanent residence.

Attracting good, garden-friendly insects will help your plants to produce better flowers and fruits, it will also make your backyard a much more pleasant and vibrant place to sit and enjoy in the coming months.

Frogs and Toads?

Why would you want to attract frogs and toads to your backyard? Why? To eat up all the aphids of course! Plus they are rather cute in their own unique way.

A frog or toad house will provide shelter in harsher weather as well as being a sweet addition to your backyard.

Toad House

Toad House

Ladybugs

Ladybugs are renowned for their aphid-munching abilities and are a favorite bug for children and adults alike. However, if you want to have a few of them in your backyard then providing somewhere warm for them to stay over the winter will ensure that you get them coming back year after year.

Peaked Roof Ladybug House

Peaked Roof Ladybug House

Mason Bees

These non-stinging bees are great pollinators and vital for every keen gardener to ensure the best harvest of fruits and vegetables.

Mason Bee House

Mason Bee House

Because mason bees don’t live in hives they need somewhere warm and dry to shelter in when they’re not busy collecting pollen.

Birds

Whilst the spring offers plenty of chances for birds to hunt their own food, putting a fresh supply of water and bird friendly tit-bits out on a bird table or bird feeder will ensure birds visit your backyard all year round.   A bird house will provide shelter for birds over the colder months.

 

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Bringing Science and Nature Indoors With Rocks and Crystals

It may be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help your children to learn all about the natural world.

Sure, maybe a couple of feet of snow means that you’re unlikely to want to go on a nature trail, but you can learn just as much sat inside in the warmth!

Whilst many of the local wildlife are hibernating or just hiding now is a great time to learn about other features of nature.

Rocks and stones can be found all year round, and children are usually especially attracted to them – particularly if they are shiny or colored.

Our Rock Science Kits and Gemstone Kits are fantastic for helping children understand how rocks are formed, how important they are to the earth, and of course, just how old some of these rocks can be!

Semi-Precious Gem Stone s

Semi-Precious Gem Stones

Even better than that is to be able to mine your own crystals and geodes, our kits provide all the tools you need, along with crystals to break open and keep forever!

Break Your Own Geode

Break Your Own Geode

As much as children like to be able to handle, hold and touch things, they also really love to experiment and see things grow.  Imagine how much fun they would have watching crystals grow before their very eyes and to be able to show their friends and family the end results!

Using rocks, crystals  and gemstones is a great way to teach children about both history and science and nature.  They can use the internet or the local library to help them further understand how rocks and crystals are formed, or guide books will prove a useful reference.

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Easy to Care for Pets for Small Spaces – Sea Monkeys and Triops

Want to look after a pet that different, yet really, really cool?  Well, have you considered sea monkeys or triops?

Often called living fossils, these small creatures raised from eggs which can be laid dormant for years until the right temperature and water conditions awaken them.

Triops Kits

Triassic Triops Kit

Whilst these sea animals are called sea monkeys, or triops for the larger varieties, they are in fact a type of brine shrimp and are very easy to care for and great fun to watch while they grow.

Coming to life almost instantly when they make contact with the water, the sea monkeys or triops will continue to grow until they reach anything from one to three inches long.

It usually takes around a month for them to become fully formed, and if they are looked after correctly they can live for up to two years.

Sea Monkeys Magic Castle

Sea Monkeys Magic Castle

 

One of the best things about keeping sea monkeys or triops is that they are so easy to look after.  They only need feeding around once a week, which is great if you want to go on vacation and have no-one to babysit your pets!  Just keep them out of direct sunlight and you can’t go wrong!

Once your sea monkeys are fully grown they love to swim around and dance.  Using a light pen trace the light around the aquarium and watch how they chase and follow the light.  If you keep the pen still they will congregate around the light. They will often also follow your figure if you draw it across the outside of the tank.

Sea Monkeys Mars Explorer

Sea Monkeys Mars Explorer

We have a variety of different sea monkey and triops aquariums, from glow in the dark to space themes and magic castles, complete with everything you need to start your sea monkey journey.

Want to know a really amazing fact about sea monkeys?  They have even been into space!  Astronaut John Glenn (who was 77 years young at the time) decided to take 400 million sea monkey eggs on the Discovery with him, the eggs were then hatched eight weeks later when safely back on Earth.

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Not All Bugs Are Spooky Halloween Baddies!

Halloween gives bugs a bad rap!  Cobwebs and creepy crawlies are used in a lot of decorations at this time of year, so we thought we stand up for the little guys.

Whilst most insects and arachnids aren’t very cuddly or strokable, it doesn’t mean that they are not fun and interesting.

We can learn so much from the insect world, how they work together, their place in the diversity of nature, and marvel at just how beautiful and magnificent they are.

Live insect kits are a great way to learn about different types of insects in a controlled environment.  From observing and understanding the life cycles of butterflies and ladybugs to observing how members of an ant colony will interact with each other on a daily basis gives both children and adults alike a new found respect and love for this strange and alien world of bugs.

Ladybug Kit

Live Ladybug Kit

Ideal for both school classrooms and homeschool activities live insect kits can be used for children of all ages.  As well as watching and studying the insects, other subjects can be incorporated such as art, photography and videoing, spelling and teaching children how to research subjects in a library or on the internet.

Color Changing Ant Habitat

Color Changing Ant Habitat

One of the advantages of studying insects using live insect kits is that they can be used at any time of the year.  The insects will happily live out their natural life cycle with the equipment and habitat provided, or can be released into the wild once they reach adulthood if the weather is favorable.

 

Live butterfly kit

Learn all about the life cycle of a butterfly with a live butterfly kit

So next time you shudder at a spider or shriek at a wriggly worm, remember just how important they are to the ecosystem and that they are actually good guys not bad!

Worm Farm Kit

Worm Farm Kit

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Fascinated with Fossils and Rocks?

Are you and (or) your children fascinated with fossils?  Do you wonder at the mysteries they hold and delight at the fact that you can see something that has been around for hundreds of thousands, upon thousands of years?

Whilst most fossils are held in public museums in glass cages out of the way, there are small fossils that can be bought that can be held and touched and investigated up close.

These great little fossil gift boxes contain different types of fossils – perfect for starting your collection of the prehistoric!  Each box contains one ammonite, two gastropods and two pieces of crinoid stem and you get two boxes, giving you a total of 10 fossils that could be over a million years old!  Great for show and tell, or for a homeschool natural history project.

If rocks and gemstones are more your thing, then we can certainly help in that area as well. We have a selection of gemstone kits including this great starter rock science kit which has 15 different types of rocks, covering the Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary types of rocks.

Rock-Science-Kit

Learning about where in the world these types of rocks can be found, how they are formed and how long it takes can make a very interesting science topic for children of all ages.

However, it doesn’t have to take a few millennia to grow rocks, in fact with this amazing Magic Rocks kit you can start growing your own rocks in a matter of minutes!

Magic Rocks

Magic Rocks

The rocks grow to various heights up to 4 inches high and make an attractive rock garden when finished which you can keep forever.  It is available in two different sizes, the large size comes complete with its own plastic display tank.

 

 

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