Tests DuneCraft's Themed Science and Nature Kits

We met some great folks from DuneCraft at the 2012 Toy Fair in NY. DuneCraft specializes in fun and educational science and nature kits.  They aim to "teach kids without them even knowing they are learning."  And from looking at their full line of kits, which include themes that will be irresistable to most kids, it's apparent they know how to do this.

DuneCraft was of particular interest to me because I have two young boys who had recently been trying to grow some venus fly traps purchased online.  But it was challenging, requiring more technical skill than any of us had. 

DuneCraft takes a decidedly different approach, providing everything you need in the box to grow the plants while including those extras that make the experience even more enjoyable for the kids.

So let's get started.  This is the first post in what may become a series with updates on how our kits are growing.  As of today, we have planted 3 of the 4 kits we have (the remaining kit is the Carnivorous Creations, which we will post at a later time).

Rainforest Biosphere

The first kit was called the Rainforest Biosphere and this theme with its images of tree frogs and what one kid said was "the bird from Rio (the movie)" was an instant hit.

This was the most elaborate of the kits so far.  It includes a growing dome, two germination discs, four seed packets, small rocks and a little tree frog.

You simply place the two germation discs in 4 cups of water and it will dissolve becoming a wet soil type mixture which you then scoop into the dome.  The instructions are super easy to follow and even recommend you carving out water paths in the soil with an included rock.

We carved some paths and made four separate areas for each of the four seed packets.

The seeds it comes with are China Doll, Polka Dot Plant, Moon Flower and Rainbow Plant.  Once you drop the seeds in each of the areas the kids noted the included plant stakes which mark each seed territory.  Just another nice touch that enhances the intrigue for little kids.

That was all it took.  Now we will wait for a few weeks to see how it looks. Retail price is $24.99.

Volcano Crater Garden

The older boys will jump at this one because of the dragons.  All kids love dragons, and now they can create their very own bi-level "dangerous garden" complete with Venus Fly Traps and Black Dragon Coleus. 

This kit follows almost the same instructions as the Rainforest Biosphere, except it has only one germination disc so it is slightly smaller overall.  But the bi-level is neat, where you grow the Fly Traps on one level and the Black Dragon Coleus on the next (we accidentally flip flopped our plantings from the directions so we will see how they turn out). 

The included dome has some great decals of fly traps and a dragon volcano back sticker that really set the theme.  The stickers are great because the kids can't see any growth upon planting.  But they can still get a feel for the theme of the kit.  And then of course, DuneCraft includes a small hand painted dragon that you can put inside your dome.  That was another hit with the kids.

This kit was assembled a few minutes quicker than the Rainforest kit.  Once you get the hang of these, they are very easy and you can get the kids even more involved with stirring the soil and planting the seeds.

You'll see our completed kit in the photos below.  Retail price on this one was $19.99

Fly Trap Fred

This is a great little kit that I wish I would have found earlier.  Retail price is only $2.99 and it's a fun and easy kit designed to get kids going in the science and nature realm.  This kit includes a small germination disc which again creates the growing soil which you scoop in the dome.  You simply plant the seeds, pop the lid on and you're off.

A unique element to this kit is how eco friendly it is.  The planter and dome are both made from a corn resin, which is also nice to see.  I should also mention that DuneCraft is the world's largest buyer of carnivorous seed and all the seeds are farm grown on hundreds of acres of private nursery land dedicated to DuneCraft seed. 

Here are images of the completed kits which will be sitting in the sunlight for the next month.  The seeds vary in the time required to begin sprouting.  Some seeds may sprout in a week to two weeks while others may take a month.  We plan on keeping you posted as our kits mature.
-- Andrew Joseph

Rainforest Biosphere

Volcano Crater Garden

Fly Trap Fred


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