Art Projects with a Difference – Sun Art Paper

Coming up with new and exciting art projects for children can be difficult, and let’s face it, there is only so much glitter you can face vacuuming up…

However, with sun art paper you can make fascinating creations that not require glue, glitter or any scraps of paper to dispose of.

All you need is a sunny day and some water!

Sun Art Paper

Sun Art Paper

This amazing paper uses the sun to create a picture not unlike a photograph negative, it’s great fun to experiment with different items such as feathers, twigs, flowers, leaves, cardboard shapes, and even lacy fabrics – anything that will leave an interesting outline or pattern on the sheet.  Just simply arrange on the sheet until you’re happy with the pattern and then cover with the acrylic sheet provided, which will keep everything in place whilst the magic happens.

You can create different shades on the paper too, the longer you leave your paper in the sun the darker the outlines will be.  You can also create a layered effect by moving your items around the paper from time to time to resulting in different levels of shading.

Incorporate the seasons with the Sun Art Paper by searching the backyard for seasonal flowers or wonderful fall leaves.

Sun Art Paper

Sun Art Paper

The Sun Art Paper can also be used to create amazing snowflake designs which would be perfect as part of your Christmas decorations.  Simply cut out snowflakes and place them on the paper and leave in the sun for the desired length of time.

The finished art projects can be mounted and displayed or put into a scrap book.  If you do choose to hang your Sun Art on the wall then be sure to place it out of direct sunlight.

Sun Art Paper is suitable for children aged 6 and over.  For other great science and nature based toys, be sure to visit our website.

Share and Enjoy

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

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 strokeable, 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 lifecycles of butterflies and ladybugs to seeing 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 Farming Kit

Worm Farming Kit 

Share and Enjoy

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

Fascinated with Fossils and Rocks?

Are you and (or) your children fascinated with fossils?  Do you wander 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 museum 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.

Fossil Gift Boxes

Fossil Gift Boxes

If rocks and gem stones are more your thing, than we can certainly help in that area as well.  We have a great selection of rock 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.   To help them to understand just how amazing the world of rocks is, buy our Rocks for Kids book which will teach you all you ever wanted to know about rocks.

Rock books for children

Looking At Rocks

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.

 

 

Share and Enjoy

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

The Fascinating World of Ants

Ants really are quite amazing creatures, they ability to work together, the way they combine their strength to achieve feats which should, on balance, be impossible given their size.

However, we are only just beginning to understand the complex and fascinating world of these tiny bugs. This video shows an ant colony in Africa and even the scientists involved were totally blown away at the structure – both its size and intricacy.  The project certainly became much bigger and great involved than anyone ever expected, and you see why!

Ant farms are a fantastic way to get an insight into the world of ants – without the need for concrete and heavy excavation machinery. They are a perfect way to show inquisitive young minds how ants go about their busy daily lives and how they work as a colony – constantly helping and looking out for each other.

We have a great range of ant farms, of different sizes, shapes and colors. You can even get a total ant farm eco-system where you can grow plants out of the same gel that sustains, homes and feeds the ants.   Perfect for class room nature study projects or homeschool projects.

Giant Lighted Eco System Ant Habitat

Giant Lighted Eco System Ant Habitat

Share and Enjoy

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

Top 3 Best Selling Classroom Nature Projects

With the children all back at school or homeschool, it is time to turn our attention to nature projects.

Children can learn so much from nature, but you don’t need to be outside to appreciate nature, some of our live insect and animal kits make it easy to study close-up these amazing creatures in the classroom.

1.  Ant Farms

Ant farms are great for showing just how industrious these little creature really are. Seemingly constantly on the move, ants work together in great harmony and we have a great selection of different ant farms that will enthrall your young students.

Our ant farms are made with either gel or sand so you can see the ants actively digging their tunnels and we include everything you need for your ant viewing pleasure.  This amazing ant farm is a complete eco-system.

Ecosystem Ant Habitat

Ecosystem Ant Habitat

2.  Live Butterfly Kits

Our amazing live butterfly kits can be used all year round – yes, even in Winter!  However, if you choose to study the life cycle of butterflies in the early fall you can release your adult butterflies outdoors so they can enjoy the last dregs of summer.

With different kit sizes available, the live butterfly kit can be used for family fun, homeschool project or a classroom project.

Live Butterfly Kit

Live Butterfly Kit

3. Ladybug Kits

Ask a child what his or her favorite bug is and they will probably say “a ladybug”.  Like the butterfly kits, these live ladybug kits can be used all-year-round, but the adult insects can be released outside if the weather is still warm.

Delight at how the children will rush into the classroom each morning to see how the larvae have grown and whether they can see the emergence of wings yet.  It takes around two to three weeks for the larvae to turn into adult ladybugs, plenty of time for children to learn about their life cycle, before their interest starts to wane.

Ladybug Kit

Live Ladybug Kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Homeschool Projects, Live Animal Kits, Live Ant Farms, Live Butterfly Kit, Live Ladybug kits | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tips for Brilliant Flower Pressing

At the moment in the height of summer we can enjoy all the wonderful colors and scents our gardens are producing. But, wouldn’t it be wonderful to take some of those amazing colors and shapes and preserve them forever?

Flower pressing is incredibly simple and you can create some amazing piece of arts using the blooms from your own backyard. It is an excellent pastime for adults and children alike and you can achieve some amazing results if you take the time to find the right blooms.

Pressed Flower Kit

Pressed Flower Kit

Pick the Flowers at the Right Time

Just before the buds are due to open or as soon as they have opened is the best time to pick flowers for pressing. At this time their colors will be at their best and the petals won’t have been damaged by weather.

Pick flowers either in the morning once the dew has dried or in the evening. Don’t keep the flowers for too long after picking before you press them as they will quickly start to wilt and will be easily damaged, ideally you want to press them as soon as possible.

Which Flowers to Press?

Any flowers and foliage can be pressed, but some work better than others. As a rule, flatter, single layers flowers such as violets, pansies, sweet peas and geraniums than roses and other multi-tier petal flowers. These flowers can be pressed but the process will take longer as they will need more time to dry out.

If you want to press a variety of different flowers and leaves, ensure that you press like for like flowers together to ensure they all dry thoroughly.

If the flower has a stamen you might want to remove it as the pollen could stain the rest of the flowers.

How Long to Press For?

Different types of flowers take longer to dry out, but single-tier petal flowers usually take around 2 weeks, and multi-petal blooms around 4 weeks before fully dry.

To help the process along, placing tissue paper between the flowers and then replacing the paper after about a week will help draw out the moisture quicker, but take care when handling the flowers at this delicate stage.

What to do With Your Pressed Flowers

The flowers and leaves once pressed and dried can be used in many way. They can be used to adorn vases and other ceramics and then carefully coated with a clear varnish.

They can be used to make pictures, collages and greeting cards.

Once you’ve created your masterpiece, ensure that you keep it out of direct sunlight and humid conditions, that way you can enjoy it for years to come.

We sell a lovely pressed flower kit that includes everything you need to both press the flowers and make wonderful creations.  All you need to do is collect some flowers.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Flower Pressing, Nature Projects | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Encouraging Children Away from Electronic Gadgets

Whilst tablets, ipads and other gaming devices can be extremely useful and sometimes educational toys to play with – particularly so when you know you’ll have a long wait in the doctor’s office or a long car journey— we all know that children need to have boundaries set on how long they can play with them for.

The easiest way to avoid the temper tantrums and sulks when you ask your child to switch off the device is to have a clear plan of what they should do instead. Here are just a few ideas for encouraging children to put down their electronics and do something else instead…

Playing Outside

Create a safe environment outside for them to play in. We know it’s not practical to supervise your children every minute of the day, so if you know that your child can play outside safely while you complete a few chores around the house or yard then everyone is happy.

If you can play outside with them then all the better, take the time to introduce them to classic games that you used to play as a child such as hopscotch or jump rope so they get plenty of exercise as well as fresh air.

Make your garden a haven for wildlife such as butterflies and ladybugs to help pique your child’s interest in nature from an early age.

Educational Toys

Invest in some educational toys such as science toys, models or jigsaw puzzles that can help your child learn whilst they play. Where possible leave them to complete the models and puzzles on their own, only stepping in when they find something difficult, that way they can really revel in their own achievements.

Moving Scorpion Model Kit

Moving Scorpion Model Kit

Picking models and puzzles that are based on geography or nature is a fantastic way of expanding their learning world.

Arts and Crafts

Encourage creativity. From simple coloring in for younger children, to painting pictures and writing stories for older children most children love to be creative. Set them a nature project where they have to draw different animals and learn about their lives.

Watch what you throw in the garbage, can that box, carton or tube be used for a fun craft project? Having a large box full of colorful items that would normally be thrown away can help to make great collages or models.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Children and insects, Nature Projects, Science Toys | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs may dive for cover in their shells if they feel frightened or nervous, but they are in fact sociable little creatures and prefer the company of other hermit crabs than being alone.  They can live in very large colonies in the wild.

Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab

If provided with a comfortable habitat and are well cared for, hermit crabs can live for anything from five to fifteen years.

Hermit Crab Kit

Hermit Crab Kit

Hermit crabs don’t have their own shells; in fact their shell has been stolen from a sea snail!  They will need larger shells as they grow so you will need to provide an assortment of sizes as your hermit crabs grow, otherwise they may take a fancy to one of their friend’s shells and try to steal it!

Hermit Crabs are nocturnal, something to consider if you were planning on putting the habitat in one of your children’s bedrooms.

There is over 600 different types of hermit crabs, most of which live in the ocean.  Land hermit crabs are better for keeping as pets as it’s easier to recreate their habitat.

hermit_crab2

Hermit crabs like to dig, climb and explore.  Hermit crabs are inquisitive creatures so therefore need some stimuli in the habitat.  Pieces of bark, plenty of sand, gravel or coconut fiber to dig into and some friends to play with are essential.

Hermit Crabs do not like chlorine.  You must use special drops that remove the chlorine from your water for cleaning the habitat and providing drinking water for your hermit crabs.

They enjoy a varied diet.  Whilst you can buy specially formulated hermit crab food from pet stores and online, your hermit crab can also be fed fresh fruit and vegetables that have been cleaned in non-chlorinated water.  They will also happily snack on tuna fish and small pieces of meat.

3806-hermit-crab-l

 

Hermit crabs drink by dipping their claws into the water and then catching the drips in their mouths.

Hermit crabs need a lot of attention and looking after therefore they do not make ideal pets for very small children, or those who don’t feel ready for the responsibility involved.

Share and Enjoy

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

Fun Froggy Facts

If you’re considering purchasing a pet frog or a live tadpole kit, you might want to know some fun facts about your new friends.  Frogs make great pets for children and adults alike, and learning all about their life cycle is a great introduction to the wonderful world of nature.

Live Tadpole Kit

Live Tadpole Kit

Frogs are amphibian which means they can live in water and on land.  They are born in water and the first part of their lives as a tadpole is completely in water.

A frog will shed its skin around once a week.  It will then eat the dead layer of skin!

A group of frogs is called an army!

Frogs use their eyeballs to help them swallow food; they push their eyeballs down into the roof of their mouths to help the food go down their throats.

Red Eyed Frog

Red Eyed Frog

Frogs only have teeth on their upper jaws and are used to keep prey in place when eating rather than biting.

Frogs take on water by soaking it through their skin rather than drinking it.

They also breathe through their skins as well, but they do also have nostrils that take in around half the air they need.

Common pond frogs are ready to mate when they reach 3 years old.

Tomato Frog

Tomato Frog

Frogs use their very long tongues to catch food.  And they are super-fast at it!

Frogs never close their eyes, not even when sleeping!

Frogs have amazing all-round vision, they can see ahead, sideways and upwards all at the same time.

Only male frogs croak; which they use to attract female frogs and warn off other males.

Frogs need to be around a water source so they can keep their skin cool in warm weather.

The largest frog in the world is called a Goliath frog and is around a foot long and weighs about 7 pounds. 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Posted in Live Tadpole Kit, Pet Frogs | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Reasons to Teach Your Children about Nature

There are many reasons why you should spend some time with your children to teach them about the wonder of nature.

Get them to love the great outdoors

Nowadays children spend far too much time watching TV, playing video games or glued to a hand-held electronic device.  Getting them out into the open air – even if it’s raining, is a great way to get them to fall in love with outdoors.

Spending more time outside will make your child fitter and more active, increase their imagination and learn just how amazing nature can be.   Not to mention create meaningful memories that will outlast any video game.

Don’t be afraid to go out in all weathers, there is so much to see in different weather conditions, and so long as your children are wrapped up against cold or smothered in sunscreen they won’t come to any harm.   And let them get dirty!

Appreciate the beauty of nature

Beauty comes in many different shapes and forms – whether it’s a pretty spring flower or the intricate pattern on a snail’s shell.  Foster your child’s interest in nature from a young age and they will continue to love nature as they get older.

Pink spotted ladybugs

Pink Spotted Ladybugs

Teaching respect for their environment

From not dropping garbage, to realizing the importance of recycling, children who love nature will have the utmost respect for the environment.  They will understand that man’s actions could have serious consequences and that they have the power in them to change things.

For health and vitality

Children who regularly get to explore nature outside are less likely to be obese and suffer from depression.

All the senses are activated when outside; sight, sound, smell, touch and even taste under careful parental supervision.  It is a truly absorbing experience and each time they venture out they can explore somewhere new or come across a new creature or plant they find fascinating.

Spend quality time as a family

You don’t need to spend mega-bucks to enjoy a great family day out.  A trip to the woods or nature trail should only cost you the price of a picnic for a memorable experience.

Spending time together as a family exploring nature and discovering the joys of outside is beneficial to all members of the family, and indeed everyone can learn something new each trip.

Creating a nature based home project over the summer is a great way to spend some quality time together as well as educate your children.  Our live insect kits are great fun and really allow your children to get up close and personal to creature they would only get to catch briefly outdoors.

Once the insects become adults they can be released in your backyard or local nature spot.

Share and Enjoy

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