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

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in rocks and fossils | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in nature gifts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Gardening with Children | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in nature gifts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Houseplants for Children | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Pets with Big Personalities – Hermit Crabs

Hermit Crabs make great pets, they teach children the responsibility of looking after an animal but they are small enough to be put anywhere—a classroom, bedroom, TV den…

Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab

However, Hermit Crabs do require a lot of care and attention, they are the first choice pets for very small children and we don’t recommend that any child under the age of 8 have one as a pet.   But, as with all animals, caring and looking after a Hermit Crab will be a truly rewarding experience for any child (or adult).

Some Hermit Crab love being handled, although if yours is a little techy and wants to pinch it may be that he’s just a little nervous or might be a bit hungry.  Before handling Hermit Crabs it is a good idea to let them get used to you being around so they know you won’t harm them, and make sure they have eaten first.

Hermit Crabs love a wide and varied diet, in the wild they would eat meat or fish but they are also happy to have vegetables and some fresh fruit from time to time.   They also like to eat tree bark and oak leaves for a bit of variety.  Part of the fun of caring for a Hermit Crab is seeing what types of food he likes best.  Lots of Hermit Crabs like sweet fruits such as grapes, raisins and some will even munch happily on popcorn!

Our Hermit Crab kits come complete with everything you need to get you going on your amazing journey of looking after them.   We provide a 2 gallon habitat, colored sand, water treatment solution, food, water mister and even some decoration for your tank so that your Hermit Crab can feel at home.   We even provide a spare shell so when your Hermit Crab molts his old one and is waiting for his new one to harden he can take cover under the spare shell at this vulnerable time.

Live Hermit Crab Kits

Live Hermit Crab Kits

You might think that being called ‘Hermit Crabs’ that these are shy and unsocial creatures, actually you couldn’t be further from the truth.  Hermit Crabs love company and will happily co-exist with as many friends as you can fit comfortably into your habitat.

A well looked after Hermit Crab can live for up to 15 years so they can continue to give pleasure to your family for years to come.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Hermit Crabs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Curious Pets for Curious Minds – Sea Monkey and Triops

For many children and adults owning a conventional pet such as a cat or dog just doesn’t appeal, maybe they don’t have the room for such a large animal or maybe they can’t keep furry animals due to clauses in their tenancy agreement.  Or maybe, they are allergy to these types of pets!  However, there are other pets that can be kept that won’t take up too much room, won’t cause any allergic reaction and will not upset your landlord— yup, we talking about Sea Monkeys and Triops!

Aquasaurs Triops Kit

Aquasaurs Triops Kit

These amazing prehistoric creatures will hatch from egg form in their fun, themed mini aquarium—which is small enough to be housed in any bedroom, office, classroom or living space.  Often the aquariums are illuminated or project lighted images onto a wall to create another fun aspect of keeping these marvelous little creatures.

Sea Monkeys Kit

Mars Explorer Sea Monkeys Kit

Super –easy to look after, Sea Monkeys and Triops only need feeding with a special solution once a week, and they NEVER need cleaning out!   This means that they are perfect for young children who aren’t ready for a big responsibility of having a different type of pet and also they can be looked after by friends and relatives when you go on vacation.

Sea Monkeys and Triops will live for approximately two years and in that time you and your children can have fun learning interesting facts about these curious crustaceans, such as the fact that they have three eyes, they can glow in the dark, and they actually breathe through their feet!

What’s the difference between Sea Monkeys and Triops?  Well, mostly it is size.  Sea Monkeys grow to about three-quarters of an inch, whereas Triops are much bigger and can grow up to three inches long in just a month.  Both are equally easy to keep and come in a variety of themed aquariums such as an Ocean View kit or a Magic Castle kit.

Triops Kits

Triassic Triops Kit

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Sea Monkeys and Triops | Tagged , | Leave a comment

4 Ant Experiments for Homeschool and Classroom Nature Projects

Ants are fascinating creatures, always on the move, looking out for each other and helping one another.   Studying ants makes for a great nature project for either the classroom or homeschool, you can either do this outdoors—particularly if the weather is fine, or if it’s a little cooler outside you can bring the ants indoors to watch with a live ant farm.

Ant Works Ant Farm

Ant Works Ant Farm

However, as much as ants are great fun to just watch, you will understand their world a lot better if you conduct some experiments and specific observations on the ants to find out how they change and adapt to different environments and circumstances.

Studying ants either outside (if you can locate a nearby nest you can monitor the activity to and from the nest) or better still, in a confined area indoors in an live ant farm, you will get to see how the ants interact with each other, how they help one another out, and how they work together as a team.

Here are a few experiments you can try to better understand the amazing world of ants:

Do All Ants Do the Same Job?

All ants within a nest have a job to do, but do they all do the same thing?  See if you can figure out which are the feeder ants who go in search of food and those who are workers and tend to the ant nest or live ant farm.

See How the Ants Interact with Each Other

Watch how they help each out to bring large items to the nest such as food and marvel at how, no matter how busy and frenetic they seem, they always seem to have a moment to say hi to another ant coming in the opposite direction.

Live Ant Farm

Color Change Lighted Ant Farm

Do They Respond Different in Light and Dark?

Do Ants sleep at night like we do?  Or do they continually work throughout the night?  Watch the activity around the nest or in the live ant farm when it’s dark (or turn off the light if indoors) and you’ll see that ants seem to get even busier at night.

Do They Respond Different in Hot and Cold Temperatures?

While we all know that ants are busy in the summer, but does colder weather affect them?  As the cold weather draws in you can monitor the activity around an outside nest to see if it has slowed down at all.  For a more instant experiment, an indoor live ant farm can be placed in a refrigerator for ten to fifteen minutes (no longer, you don’t want them to get too cold) to see the affect the cooler temperature has on them.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Live Ant Farms | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Nature Projects for Fall – Live Ladybug Kits

Are you looking for an interesting and exciting nature project that you can do over fall?  Many insects at this time of year are starting to either die away or go into hibernation for the winter, however there are some live insect kits that you can use indoors for teaching children about the wonderful natural world.

One of these amazing live insect kits is the ladybug kit.  It come complete with everything you need to raise 10 ladybug larvae into the much-loved adult Pink Spotted Ladybugs, including food, habitat and instructions.

Ladybug Kit

Ladybug Kit

Being able to witness the life cycle of these friendly little insects is a joy to children of all ages.  The transformation from larva stage to adult butterfly takes approximately two to three weeks, so makes for an ideal classroom or homeschool nature project at this time of year.  Children can chart the changes on a daily basis and draw or photograph the metamorphosis as it occurs, watching how an alligator-like larva can go through such an amazing transformation to the red and black spotted adult ladybug so loved by children and adults alike.

Pink spotted ladybugs

Pink Spotted Ladybugs

The larvae generally take around seven to 14 days at ambient temperature to move into the pupae stage.  The ladybug is then hidden, wrapped in the pupae, where it undergoes one of nature’s most magnificent miracles.  After around 5 days the adult ladybug will emerge from the pupae to begin the next stage of its life.

At first the adult ladybug will appear quite pale, but over the course of around 12 hours they will start to get darker in color and their recognizable markings of black spots will start to appear.

No two ladybugs are identical and they might have different numbers of spots placed in different parts of their backs.

Once the ladybugs reach adulthood they will typically live for another 3 weeks in the indoor environment, but if it is still mild outside with a  temperature more than 55º it is quite safe to release them into the wild for them to continue their lives outside once you have studied them.  Simply release them into a garden or backyard where they can feast upon small aphids.

Our live ladybug kits are reusable, so if you want to repeat the project next year you only need to re-order the larvae.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Live Ladybug kits | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to school classroom nature projects – Live Tadpole Kits

Children of all ages are fascinated by nature, and they can never be too young to be interested in the animal world.

Using a ‘hands on’ approach to learning not only makes the subject much more interesting, but also remains in the person’s memory for much longer than a conventional text-book approach.

Using live animal or insect kits to educate young children about the life cycle of animals is a great way to foster their already keen sense of learning.  They will come into the classroom eager to see what changes have occurred with the animal or insect each day.

Frogs have one of the most unique life cycles in the animal world.  Starting off as spawn, then changing to tadpole and then gradually transforming into a fully formed adult frog.

Live Tadpole Kit

Live Tadpole Kit

Our Live Tadpole Kits are an excellent way to show this amazing process in a confined space.  The children can chart the progress of the tadpoles and take photographs of the tadpoles, or draw the creatures as they continue to change every couple of days.

Because the life cycle of a frog from tadpole stage to adult frog takes around 12-16 weeks it makes a great science and nature project for slightly older children who can study in-depth the subtle changes that happen on an almost daily basis and the entire project can be stretched over an entire term.

The Live Tadpole Kits come complete with everything you need for your classroom nature project, including habitat, water treatment, food, background, care instructions and even a plastic plant!

Live Tadpole Kit

Live Tadpole Kit

Once your tadpoles have metamorphosed into an adult frogs, you can then keep the frogs in the same habitat (or upgrade it to a larger model) and continue to study the life of the frogs as they grow up to 4 to 6 inches long.  Well looked after leopard frogs can live up to 5 years, so they will provide plenty of chances for further study as well as become a favorite pet of the class.

As our live tadpole kits are for use inside, this type of classroom or homeschool nature project can be completed at any time of the year – even winter!

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Live Tadpole Kit, Pet Frogs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment