"Bringing learning back to life!" is the motto of Dune Craft, the distributor of interesting and reasonably priced science kits. You can purchase directly from the company or locate a local distributor through their website. My family reviewed four interesting science kits that delighted us all: the Medieval Herber, Biblical Garden, World's Simplest Crystal, and Super Snow.
The Medieval Herber is a wonderful hands-on project that would beautifully supplement a history study. During the Middle Ages, herbs were used for food, medicine, and paints. The Medieval Herber is a miniature rectangular garden that comes with everything you need to grow an assortment of edible herbs: rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme, chives, fennel, dill, marjoram. All necessary supplies are included: instructions, background information, plastic herber, soil, seeds, pebbles, and a decorative decal. The seeds come in one unsorted package, so your plants will be mixed together. After an initial watering, place the lid on the box and set your herber in a bright windowsill. After the plants are established, remove the lid and add the enclosed decorative pebbles. Water once a week or as needed. The company guarantees that you will have at least twenty seedlings by the end of one month. If your herber is unsuccessful, return your old seed packet, the UPC code from the package, and the store receipt for a new packet of seeds.
The Biblical Garden is a terrarium that houses plants mentioned in the Bible or used during Bible times: mustard, date palm, Joseph's Coat, aloe, and hyssop. Instructions and background information are provided for each plant, including Biblical references for those that are mentioned in the Bible. (Joseph's Coat is the only one not mentioned in the Bible; rather it is named for its multicolored leaves.) This kit comes with all necessary supplies: a plastic terrarium, potting soil, five individual seed packs, descriptive plant markers, decorative pebbles, and three stained glass decals. The first step is to design your garden on paper; helpful tips are provided in the instructions. Next add the soil, sow the seeds, and water. Finally, place the dome on top, and set your garden in bright sunlight. Approximate growth times are indicated in the instructions. The lid allows the water to recycle, so you only need to water your garden once every four to six months. I love kits like this! I have learned by experience that it is usually cheaper and less hassle to buy kits, and this is a great one. I also love that it enriches our study of the Bible.
The World's Simplest Crystal is exactly what its name says it is! Just add white vinegar and watch beautiful white crystals grow. The natural limestone rocks react and natural aragonite crystals form very quickly. I set the bowl on the table with a magnifying glass and everyone (aged 4 to 35) has been fascinated watching these crystals grow. Background information is included that explains the process. We are going to Yellowstone this summer, and this is the same process that we will see in the thermal basins.
Now this kit is just plain fun! Super Snow is a polymer that expands 100 times its original size when you add water and creates artificial snow. The polymers appear to be similar to what is in disposable diapers, but they are so small (powdery) that when they grow (by osmosis), they sparkle and look exactly like real snow. One small jar makes seven quarts of snow; Dune Craft also sells larger bags if you want to make your backyard into a winter wonderland. The snow is reusable and lasts for weeks; just mist it when it starts to dry out to keep it fresh. The jar says, "Great for plants," so I imagine you can also use this to keep your potting soil from drying out. We are reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud, and I thought it would be fun to use Super Snow to make a diorama of Narnia. My children just cannot keep their hands out of this stuff, but we are being careful because I do not want little balls of it all over my house. It does clean up easily, however. Super Snow is super fun! This would make a great gift for the kid who has everything.