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My daughter loves to dig around in the garden, looking for all sorts of creepy crawlies. Her hands are always covered in mud as she scratches around in the dirt looking for new specimens. Whilst I was our shopping in Home Bargains, I came across the national geographic kits, (as in my earlier review these were the explorer kit, Mineral Dig (fantastic) and Night vision goggles (rubbish). At just £2.99, compared to the retail price of £9.99, I decided I would get both Mineral Dig and Explorer Kit, as I thought they would be perfect for my little explorer back home.
Inside the box was a small black plastic water bottle (not exactly sure how long they expect your children to be exploring). The bottle feels quite sturdy with a screw top lid. Warning thou, it is not suitable for a dishwasher. The bottle comes with its own bright yellow carry cord; long enough to hand around the child's neck while the dig for more worms for the kitchen table. The cord feels quite strong, but I could imagine after constant use this could start to fray around the edges. As for the amount of fluid the bottle can hold is approx 150ml, about the same amount as a Robinsons fruit shoot (my daughter favourite).
The next item I came across was the little black torch. As usual, I had to my own exploration for an AA battery as the kit didn't supply you with one. I was very disappointed with the amount of light produce, barely enough to illuminate just in front of you. On closer inspection, I noticed that the directional arrow to twist the torch on and off where pointing the wrong way, not that my daughter noticed. The one good point of the torch is considering the amount of times it has been dropped on the kitchen tiles, despite have a bright yellow wrist cord, the torch has managed to stay in one piece.
The bug viewer scares me half to death, especially with a plastic spider inside it when I opened the box. My daughter loves it. I hate it, as I have to look at the bugs she finds as well. I can do without seeing a woodlouse under a magnification, not a pretty sight. My skin still crawls at the mere thought of it. The viewer is made of a clear strong plastic container, with an integral magnified bright yellow eye piece on the top. The bottom of the viewer clicks off, so you can place your specimen in, and then click the bottom back to secure it inside. Don't worry, the viewer has built in air holes, so nothing is harmed while you are observing, recording and measuring. Inside the bottom if the viewer is a printed ruler, so they can compete against each other on who found the biggest spider and scared me the most.
Last of all you have the tool clip. A bright yellow, chunky, Swiss army style tool. On the top is a fair sized compass with clear white markings on a black dial. On the other side is a little mirror, what for I have no idea. Then you have your pull out spade, tweezers and rake. All three are made of black sturdy plastic and look like the ones you get when you buy a bucket and spade at the beach. The tweezers are pathetic at picking anything up. The spade is far too small for any serious worm gathering. As for the rake, same story, not much use at all. You also have a pull out magnifying glass with adequate magnification. The tool boosts of a secret compartment with a mini spy scope. I don't think much of this either. The eyepiece is far too small, about the size of a small pea. The magnification is extremely poor.
To be honest I am glad I only paid £2.99, although I still feel ripped off. I would have been furious if I had paid the full retail price. The only item in the whole kit that was of any use was the bug viewer. Which lets face it, at the end of the day; it is only a plastic container with a magnifying glass on the top. I cannot believe that National Geographic would put their name to such a pathetic toy, especially when in comparison; the Mineral Dig was a brilliant buy (which I have also reviewed).