This review of the Seabed Fossils Excavation Kit from Top Toys exists to save your child from disappointment. You may well see one of these kits around, particularly in shops where everything is sold for a pound or less. And they look like a fabulous bargain. Perfect for a stocking filler. A selection of these kits can be seen below.
The packaging says that there is a different fossil in every kit - note this for later! As well as the lump of plaster containing the fossil there's a little plastic hammer, a chisel (also plastic), and a little paint brush for brushing dust away.
The kits aren't small. They are a good size, and that's part of the problem. As you can see from the photo above we spent ages digging the fossil out. And it turned out to be a really tiny clamshell. Now, if you look on the back of the package you'll see a lobster. You'll see a crab. You'll see a turtle. You will not see a seashell.
All the way through my son persevered, for the better part of an hour tapping away, dusting it off, and then tapping again. All the time excitedly wondering which sea creature he would get. The poor thing wouldn't believe me that the tiny little shell was all he was going to get for his effort and insisted on keeping going, sure in his little seven year old heart that there would be another creature in there, somewhere.
And of course there wasn't. So that's one crushed little boy and one hugely guilty mum who will never skimp on something like this again. Excavation kits will only be coming from the Natural History Museum from now on!