With so many dino toys on the market today, from inflatable T-Rexes to wing-flapping pterodactyls, I thought I'd seen it all. But the new digable dinosauar egg toys, from educational toymaker Lakeshore, really do break through the clutter (pun intended!). In order to play with the extinct creatures, you first have to excavate them from their clay eggs using some authentic-looking tools. I'm pretty sure that kids and adults alike will totally dig being a "paleontologist" (pun intended again!).
Designed for ages 4 through 11, the Dig & Discover Dinosaur Eggs set includes 12 dino eggs, 12 wooden chisels, and 12 brushes. Here's how it all works: Using a chisel, you break open the textured brown eggs, and then you brush away the debris to reveal a unique dinosaur inside each one, ranging from the spiky stegosaurus to the long-necked plesiosaur. The dinosaurs are plastic and neon-colored, so they seem a little less authentic than the excavation process itself, but the kit does come with an educational Excavation Guide, which features some cool facts about each dino. The dino egg kits are available on the on the Lakeshore website for $20 and through in-store pick-up at select stores; you can also find them on Amazon for $23.
Unlike real dinosaur eggs, the ones included in this kit are pretty small, measuring in at just under three inches. But, while the dozen eggs thankfully don't take up much space, they do make a bit of a mess (although a little dust can be expected at any good archaeological site, right?). The chiseling leaves some debris behind, so it's advisable to do this activity either outside, or over a baking sheet or disposable tablecloth. Having said that, these eggs are an awesome hands-on activity for children, and one that feels educational and engaging at the same time.
However, if you think the excavating will be easy, think again. Many of the reviews online emphasize the real effort involved. "My 5-year-old grandson loved the activity. Quite a challenge to break open the egg! The excitement once opened was contagious." wrote "Kary" on the Lakeshore website.
Another reviewer on the Lakeshore site had this to say: "Four and six- year-old girls had a great time chiseling the dinosaurs. Eggs are quite hard so the four-year-old needed some help getting started. Six year old did fine by herself... Took around 15 - 30 minutes per egg depending on the age patience of the child."
I have to say, I'm impressed that kids really have to work to get to the toy inside. It seems like a great activity not only for fine-motor skills, but also for teaching perseverance and patience. It demonstrates that in the real world, excavating fossils requires a lot of hard work and skill.
I also love that the Dig & Discover Dinosaur Eggs provide a fun, interactive science lesson. Who knows what interests and curiosities a STEM-focused activity like this could spark? Maybe it's creating the next generation of paleontologists that will go on to make the next great prehistoric discoveries. At the very least, your kid will have fun getting his or her hands dirty!