Reviewed by Alison Rood
Anything with the STEM logo on is a yes from me. I am very much of the belief that if you make learning fun – it makes life easier all round and things stick!
We received our National Geographic Dinosaur Dig Kit through the post a couple of days ago. It of course looked super fun, so my son wanted to get stuck straight in. But we had plans so it was shelved for the day.
And how glad I am that it ended up that way. Because it’s the summer holidays and in typical British style, the heavens have opened. So seeing this on the shelf was a very welcome relief to my “what are we going to do today” panic moment.
This National Geographic dig kit is a hands-on activity that both children and adults can get involved with. To be fair, depending on the age of the child (box states 8+) as an adult, you may HAVE to get involved due to the dig brick being quite tricky to get started. If you find yourself in the same position, the guide book gives a handy tip of adding a touch of water to help loosen the brick.
Keep all of this in mind when setting up – it can get a bit messy. I set ours up on a craft table that is covered in all sorts, but I definitely don’t recommend doing it on your mahogany dining table, certainly not without protecting it first!
Now we are all set, we get to follow in the footsteps of a palaeontologist and excavate a T-Rex tooth replica from the dig brick. In order to do that, you are provided with a dig tool and brush.
Due to the size of the tooth compared to the brick, we found it and extracted it quite easily. In some ways this was good, as the digging tool actually ended up hurting my son’s hands, to the point I became the digger and he became the brusher (which suited him just fine!) But it meant that the experience didn’t last very long.
In saying that, it was enjoyable and he was impressed with his find. I will definitely be looking at other dig kits in this range, but will probably look for more challenging bricks with multiple, smaller finds inside. Just to make it last that bit longer.
As well as the dig brick and dig tools, we received a magnifying glass (a little bit wasted on something the size of the tooth, but he had fun using it anyway) a detailed pamphlet full of educational information about fossils, palaeontology, and the T-Rex.
But the absolute highlight for my son was the genuine coprolite (dinosaur poop) fossil! I mean, all kids love anything poop related don’t they?
Whilst I was happy that I saved it for a rainy day, it is also perfect for taking outside, meaning it is great to take along if you are going on a caravan/camping trip during the summer holidays. Doing it outside means you can make the mess without having to worry about it as much!
Overall, I like the concept and the quality is really good. But this dig kit in particular was a bit easy due to the size of the fossil. The Dinosaur dig kit is aimed at 8+ but I think it would be too easy for that age range I would be best suited to 5/6 year olds.
For 8+, I think another dig kit from the range would be better, something with smaller items inside that take a bit more caution, care and digging.
The kit (and others) are available to buy from https://www.argos.co.uk/product/4650951 and retail at around £13.
The price is justified for a summer holiday activity or even for a gift for an excavating enthusiast!