This year for Christmas my girls received Dig Kits (National Geographic Mega Gemstone Dig Kit and National Geographic Mega Fossil Dig Kit *affiliate links) from their lovely aunt. This was the perfect gift for them as my 8 year old is currently in love with everything crystal and gemstone related and my 6 year old wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up. I’ll start off by saying they LOVED this gift and are proudly displaying their “specimens” on their dressers as I write this. I love that they got to have an experience with this gift and it is not just another plastic toy that they will play with for a week and eventually end up in a landfill. Good job, Auntie! Ok, let’s get to the details.
How these kits work: There are many different types and brands on the market. They start as blocks of hardened, plaster-like material. The kit comes with a plastic digging tool as well as a small brush to brush away dust. The child digs and chips away at the “dirt” on the block until they find a gem/fossil and continue to excavate it. In the pictures above, you can see how the block starts out and if you look closely you can see the rose quartz gem in the middle of the right picture as my daughter brushes away dust.
Details: These blocks can be hard at times to dig into. If you add some water and let it sit for a moment, it does get easier. I had to help my 6 year old along, but my 8 year old excavated all 15 gems on her own. With these particular sets from National Geographic, my daughters found quite a bit of specimens as they worked. The box states the kit includes 15 different gems/fossils, however my 6 year old only found 14 fossils in her kit.
As you can see in the picture above, this process does get quite messy. I placed them inside plastic bins which helped to contain the dust, but we still needed to clean the table and vacuum afterward. This would be a great outdoor activity!
Below are the final fossils and gems that my daughters excavated. They were so proud when they finally finished. The fossils still have a little bit of the dirt/plaster still stuck to them that we need to wash off, but you get the idea. The kits came with booklets that had information about each item they excavated so not only was this a fun gift, but it was educational as well.
I ended up buying my girls these small plastic divided containers to hold their fossils and gems in. They are great, have dividers that can be removed for larger items and are affordable. I have a link to these exact boxes below.
Affiliate links for items in this post:
National Geographic Mega Gemstone Dig Kit
National Geographic Mega Fossil Dig Kit
Plastic Grid Storage Boxes (I hear if you get the 36 grid option, you can remove the dividers and it makes great LOL Doll storage!)
Similar items on Amazon: