We just met a dinosaur! Excitement has been high in the house this evening, I was recently sent an amazing kit to review, the AR Dino Digging Kit from Great Gizmos and let me tell you, it’s pretty mind blowing if you, like me, grew up without all this amazing technology, instead receiving phone calls ‘on the land line’ whilst sitting on the stairs!
The recommended age is 8+ and I have a 5 and a 3 year old so we’re probably not the best candidates to review but if I’m being 100% honest, I wanted it for me!! I am a bit of a dinosaur enthusiast, and I love the whole concept of playing at being an archaeologist for the day.
The kit comprises of a large lump of hard clay, some plastic ‘tools’, a paint brush, concise instructions and two card mats. You also need to download a free app for your smart phone.
Buried in the clay, are 12 pieces of a glow in the dark plastic skeleton, the idea is to excavate the pieces using the tools. This is designed to be a slow process, involving lots of careful chipping away and brushing around the pieces and oodles of patience. Perfect for an older child and something that could keep them busy for quite some time. I, however, was attempting this after school, with children under the recommended age, and patience levels were non-existent. The kit states that you can spray with water or soak in water to make it quicker, but also warns that it is messier and may stain clothes. I went for the more immediate option of dropping the block on the patio and letting them excavate the smaller bits!
Worked a treat and the children were very happy with their manageable chunks, soon uncovering all 12 pieces. (We luckily had an extra tool from a similar sort of thing my son had for his birthday last year so they could both saw away, otherwise, there would have been issues for sure, but this is because mine are still coming round to the idea of taking turns and waiting patiently.) As I started to put the glow in the dark pieces together, I quickly realised that the small holes to connect the skeleton were also full of hardened clay and therefore too blocked to push the pegs through, and after a bit of trial and error, I can heartily recommend a toothpick for clearing them out.
Truthfully, I found it a bit of a struggle to assemble the skeleton, the instructions are brilliant and it should be quite simple, however, I found that the plastic pegs were a bit soft and bent when I was trying to push them into the holes so it didn’t seem to click together very well, so I have left it for another day. That being said, it states that some ‘soft wax’ might help to make it move more easily, and I didn’t have anything like that to hand so that may have been the key. I was also attempting it under extreme stress with melt downs imminent! The repeated; ‘shall we leave it for Daddy, Daddy can fix things’ were also not remotely helpful either, as I had to keep stopping to explain through gritted teeth that Mummies can also fix things perfectly well too, whilst being obviously unable to put it together! 😀
Our dinosaur is a triceratops and I’ve not even told you the best bit of all, also hidden in the clay is a little test tube. Inside the test tube is some ‘dinosaur DNA’ a little scroll of stickers that you stick onto the large card ‘charts’. Then you download the app and that’s when the real fun happens!
Placing the card on the floor, you then open the camera in the app and aim it towards the card. At first nothing happens but as soon as the app registers the dino DNA code something really awesome appears on screen. A dinosaur! I don’t know what I’d imagined, but it was way beyond my expectations! I had heard of virtual reality obviously, but wasn’t entirely sure what augmented reality was, I still don’t know if it’s the same or not, but trust me, this seemed fantastic to my inner 80s child. The dino moves and roars and there is a function to take photos and videos of yourselves with the dinosaur. This was so mind bending as the kids stood next to a card mat on the floor, nothing to see, and then hopped round to watch a video of them standing beside a stamping roaring dinosaur. They were absolutely thrilled and couldn’t seem to get their heads around it! They kept asking for another photo, another video and then when Daddy got home from work, were bubbling over with the news that we had a dinosaur in the kitchen, begging to show him the videos over and over.
The app has many other functions, facts etc, which we’ve not yet explored, and then the second mat revealed a whole new surprise scene for us to gasp at. I am genuinely so impressed with this. I think it will be something that we bring out a lot when the kids have friends over, as they will definitely want to show them our new pet dinosaur!
There are currently three kits available, a stegosaurus, a tyrannosaurus and a triceratops, each priced at £9.99, which, as my friend stated today, ‘is an amazing price considering you get all of that, I think I’m going to have to get one for my kids’, as she is an ex-teacher and now child minder, I’d take that as a ringing endorsement!!
We were sent this item free of charge to review, but of course, as always, all the views are my own. 🙂