Monday 10 June 2019

Bandai STEM Kits - Glowing Crystals and Sea Monkeys (Sent for review by Bandai)

This month Bandai have sent us two more of their STEM educational kits for review. The National Geographic Green Crystal Growing Lab (age 8+) and the Sea Monkeys Ocean Zoo (age 6+).

Bandai STEM Kits - Glowing Crystals and Sea Monkeys packs

National Geographic Green Crystal Growing Lab (age 8+) allows you to grow a glow-in-the-dark pale green crystal. You are supplied with everything you need except water and a suitable container, and it's a really easy kit to get started.

Bandai STEM Kits Green Glowing Crystal lab pack shot

In the pack are growing powder, a seed rock, stirring stick, real Fluorite crystal, magnifying glass and a learning guide with the instructions. Packaged entirely in cardboard and the pull out cardboard tray is super handy for containing any mess while you work.

The box contents for the National Geographiv Green crystal growing kit

You simply need to dissolve the growing powder into water, drop in the seed rock and wait. The chemicals dissolved into the water naturally group together, creating bigger crystals as time goes on. Adding a seed rock made from plaster of Paris gives them somewhere nice and easy to adhere to.

Seed rock in crystal concentrate solution flourite day 1

This is what it looks like after 1 week.

Seed rock in crystal concentrate solution with large number of white crystals all over flourite day 7

If you were wondering how big the crystals can grow, the answer is for as long as you leave them and they can access more chemicals and moisture, there isn't a limit. After 9 days most of the water has evaporated, but we can still grow ours for a while yet.

Flourite crystals on a seed rock day 9

In Blue Peter style, here's one I made earlier, and this sat on a shelf for 18 months. The crystal grew all over the glass jar and spread itself as wide as it could, even travelling across the shelf and onto other items there. Because it had free movement and wasn't trapped in an enclosed space, it behaved more like a ground-covering plant than what you would expect from a 'crystal'. This is science.

Glow in the dark Crystals after 18 months growth and spread inside and outside the glass jar

And it does glow-in-the-dark. Just...

Nat Geo STEM kit glow in the dark crystal in a darkened room

Included is a fairly large sample of Flourite in case you can't wait, and a magnifying glass to examine it. It's actually surprisingly different when viewed from each side. Ours in translucent at one angle and full of colour, impossible to see through from another side.

Flourite crystal sample shown through a magnifying glass

The National Geographic STEM kits are really popular here and we've bought loads for our children over the years. At around £10 they're a great present when your kids are invited to friends' parties.

Sea Monkeys Ocean Zoo Review pack shot with wording and images

Sea Monkeys (age 6+) really are a classic and have been a very popular 'pet' for children for over 50 years. They are actually brine shrimp and incredibly easy to keep, with a short lifespan. The packaging for our Ocean-Zoo is completely minimal and I love it. The tank is the package, everything else is inside.

Sea Monkey ocean zoo tank shaped bottom and magnifying windows

You are supplied with the Ocean Zoo Tank which has a moulded bottom and magnifying windows on the side, a tiny measuring spoon, instruction sheet and 3 pouches containing what we are told are water purifier, Sea Monkey eggs and Sea Monkey food.

Sea Monkey Water Purifier Eggs and Food pouches

Fill the tank with water and add the purifier, then wait 24 hours for it to work. After a full day add the Sea Monkey eggs and they should start to hatch almost straight away.

adding water purifier to a sea monkey water tank

They won't need their first tiny spoon of food until 5 days later. You can buy more food in bigger toy shops, online or direct from Sea Monkeys, although the American postage is expensive. We kept them for months (if not years) before and never even ran out of food. That is a really incredibly tiny spoon.

Sea Monkey food pouch and measuring spoon

We've not had any success before with sea monkeys at this address and it didn't occur to me until this time that this could be due to the amount of peat in our water. It is a real problem for us and even dyes everything brown. It also makes the water really heavy. In many water areas it's advisable to use bottled water.

We aren't seeing a lot of movement, but we do have Sea Monkeys and if you stare at the tank long enough you can spot them swimming and darting around. That's really a Sea Monkey in the middle of the photo!

Sea Monkeys Review photo 3 day old shrimp in water

Sea Monkeys are a lot of fun and my older children kept them for years. They're a great way to introduce children to life cycles, marine life and how to take care of living things. Watching them swim and flit about is relaxing and they're actually very beautiful and graceful once they get a bit bigger.

Bandai make all kinds of brilliant sets and kits which encourage STEM learning, thinking for yourself and exploring your world. They give your child lifelong skills, as well as supporting what your child will learn in school. Kits start at around £10 each and there are handy affiliate links* below with latest prices on Amazon...

As Bandai STEM Ambassadors we've also reviewed the Real Bug Dig Kit, Dino Fossil Dig Kit and Break Open Geodes

We were sent our kits for review by Bandai. *Amazon links are affiliate, which means I earn a few pence as a thank you if you buy through my link, but you don't pay any more. 


  1. The sets look fantastic and perfect for a rainy day! Loved Sea Monkeys when I was a kid! :) Sim x

    1. They are ideal with this weather! They're really coming on now - my youngest is so proud of his 'pets' :D

  2. Those look great. We are big sea monkey fans here. Such simple pets x

    1. They really are. The kids love them and they are so easy to keep. I think it's a rite of passage to have Sea Monkeys :D


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