Is it just me or is it nearly impossible to successfully complete a kid's science kit?
We built a solar rover. Despite ample access to light, it never roved.
We tried to make crystals. The end result failed to impress.
Honestly, the list goes on...and my frustration culminated after this past Christmas.
Looking for gift ideas, my curious 10 year old flipped through a popular kid's catalog, flagging down all sorts of things that looked cool, ie: a bug vacuum, allowing easy study of insects, a birdhouse with a clear back and a "grow your own brine shrimp" kit which he was most excited about. In this day of technology, I was so jazzed that he was showing such enthusiasm for anything other than video games.
Guess what? Santa brought the birdhouse and the shrimp kit.
Well, we were supposed to fill out a form, send it to an address and receive the crustaceans in the mail to begin our marine ecosystem. We did this...and after weeks, then months, nothing arrived. Ever the diligent reporter, I called EVERYONE repeatedly: the manufacturer, the catalog. All I got after a dozen calls was lip service. No shrimp. I felt awful for my son. He was so hopeful...and his project was going nowhere. I was determined to salvage this experience and preserve his earnest expectations.
One day, wandering through a big-box toy store, I spied a little packet of Sea Monkey powder. Came to find out that Sea Monkeys are very similar to brine shrimp. So, we set-up the original kit, and attempted to cultivate these critters.
I FOLLOWED THE DIRECTIONS?#$%@! And, no Sea Monkeys. I nearly lost it: "Is it the water?! Is it the amount of sunlight exposure?! OR, IS IT JUST ME?! AAARRRGGGHHH!"
Shockingly, there is a happy ending to this sordid tale. We decided to try ONE LAST TIME! I made the water REALLY WARM...and kept the globe DIRECTLY IN THE SUN! And, on our third try: WE GOT SEA MONKEYS!
Well, this foray into science did not go the way Sam planned. But, he does now enjoy seeing the seven little white-ish, clear-ish creatures that live on the top of our kitchen counter. Why are there always seven? Why aren't they multiplying? Do I need to change the water? What will I end-up doing with them?! And, when?! Oh, why ask questions.
The moral of this story? Be wary of "grow your own shrimp kits". After our experience, I went online and found a whole bunch of similar complaints about the company that made the one we purchased. Apparently, I wasn't the only customer to get screwed out of shrimp.
Also: if you embark on growing Sea Monkeys, start with markedly warm water. I think it's key.
Good luck...and, oh yeah, we haven't gotten a single bird to show interest in our clear-backed house.
The journey continues.