Digging in the dirt to see what’s there is innate to almost every child, and dig kits make the most of this trait. But it’s easy to see why—the digging part is fun, because the block of material in the dig kit resembles a sedimentary rock and requires chisel-like tools to excavate it. Egg-style kits that contain dinosaur action figures are best for young kids, while fossil dig kits are ideal for inquisitive kids with an interest in paleontology. Gemstone dig kits provide a fun treasure hunting adventure and serve as an introduction to geology. Plus, dig kits provide an actual reward because there’s cool stuff buried inside the material. A side benefit is that a child can learn something about science in the process.

For some kids, especially young ones, the digging is more fun than the finding, and young kids may not be very interested in searching for something that isn’t a toy. If that’s your child—or if the child doesn’t have a long attention span—consider getting a dig kit that contains simulated eggs instead of a big block of simulated rock. The eggs are fun and easy to open, and they all contain a toy dinosaur, which become playthings after all of the eggs are opened.

Great Value

This set comes with a chisel, brush, and magnifying glass so kids will feel as if they’re grown-up scientists. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Some dig kits provide actual prehistoric fossils that kids can search for, in a dig “brick” composed of gypsum. It’s nowhere near as hard as rock but does require a chisel to break through it and search for genuine fossils of dinosaurs, prehistoric sharks, and other creatures. Guides come with kits that explain what each fossil is and have illustrations that depict the creature from which the fossil came. Such a kit can keep a child occupied for hours, gives him or her something for their labors, and can inspire an interest in the natural sciences.

Also Consider

This set allows boys and girls to search for amethyst, tiger’s eye, agate, and other cool minerals. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Some dig kits provide genuine gemstones instead of fossils. The material kids dig through is the same, but the rewards are differently colored minerals formed by various natural processes in the earth. Digging through such a kit is like searching for buried treasure, and you can clean the stones up and turn them into an attractive and fun display. This is the kit to get any kid who shows an interest in geology.