We've been playing a lot of science-themed games this week (I'm intending to post on Thursday about some of our experiments!), so, in the mood, the big girls decided to spend their some of their saved pocket money today in the Australian Geographic shop on these gold mining kits.
We agreed to go halvies and they happily ponied up their share to get them.
They are quite nifty - mimicking a mixed-soil surface, they require the kids to scrape away several layers of plaster and stone with patience and efficiency to extract the little nuggets of pyrite (Fool's Gold). As they are working on them (they've been going about an hour and a half now, with a break for drinks), I've read them extracts from the encyclopedia about fool's gold, mining, and geology.
These kits aren't all that cheap, retailing for $24.95 each, but they are certainly getting good fun out of them and will have a cloth bag of pyrite each at the end, which will doubtless be added to their geology collections.
I'm going to keep these kits (and the several other similar ones) in mind for potential birthday presents this year. It's something a bit different and it is certainly easily an afternoon of fun, if not more.