Monday, April 21, 2008

Boom, Boom, Acka, Lacka, Lacka, Boom!

The kids recently got a gift from their Golfing Grandparents. They each got a set of dinosaur capsules. I didn't realize they still made headache medicine for dinosaurs.

Actually, they are little capsules that you put in water. Once they soak in the water long enough, a dinosaur shaped sponge grows from the capsule.

The kids absolutely love these things. They have even been known to fight over them when an odd number of capsules are left. We have one little bean counter who especially makes sure that things are fair. And if the situation happens to be a little 'more fair' in her favor, she usually doesn't expose the error.

It's strange, sometimes, to see what will excite the kids. The kids really love to watch these capsule work, so of course, we limit them and use them as rewards for good behavior. Hey, anything a parent can use is free game.

So, when we say, "Capsule time!", both kids come running with wide eyes.
"I'll get the cups!", shouts Number One Son.
"I want to pour the water!", demands Sweet Pea.

After a short debate about water temperature, (one party claims warm water works faster. The other party isn't patient enough to wait for the sink water to warm up.)each kid is ready with their cup of water. They then choose which color of capsule they would like to use this time.

"Which color are you going to use?", Sweet Pea asks.
"I don't know, green I guess.", N1S states uninterestedly.

"Yeah, I want green too.", Sweet Pea shrewdly decides. Not only does she want to keep the number of capsules even, she also doesn't want to get caught with less capsules of a certain color. Even though she may have more yellow capsules, it would destroy her to be without a blue capsule if her brother saved a blue one for the end.

So the capsules get excitedly thrown into the water with much singing and ceremony. Then the kids stare at a floating capsule for ten minutes or more and discuss what shape they think the sponge will be. It is at least another ten minutes before one of the capsules starts to melt enough to change shape. These things are not very fast. The initial excitement has somewhat worn off at this point and the kids start to feel bored. They usually leave their capsules to finish on their own.

When they check back after a half hour or so, a fully formed, sponge dinosaur is swimming happily in their cup. When I say fully formed, I mean a two dimensional, gum stick sized silhouette of a roughly dinosaur shape. It seems pretty anticlimactic to me, but the kids are thrilled.

They match up their dinosaur shape with the chart on the back of the package, so they are learning a little about what a certain dinosaur looks like. Then the dinosaurs get taken to bath time, where they either get to swim with Mermaid Barbie, or they get to take part in a Star Wars water battle.

After they dry out, they hang around by the tub or sink for a few days before embarking on their next great adventure to the landfill.

It's nice for the kids to get such joy out of an inexpensive simple toy. Perhaps other kids would think it lame to play with any kind of dinosaur that is not on a Play Station. We probably will never own a Play Station for just that reason. Too many video games can sometimes take the imagination out of playing. Too many video games can also take the imagination out of my wallet.


delightful-d said...

Happy Birthday My Dear Husband!

Regarding the capsules: Funny how SP ends up with all the yellow ones and N1S has, oh maybe two out of 24 capsules (if he is lucky).

DJ Kirkby said...

N3S is equally fascinated with an expanding dog my mom sent him. You put it in a jar of water and it grows about 12 times its size, remove the water and it shrinks back down. I am always feel releived when it is no longer floating in the water; I find that view more disturbing than I should...
Happy birthday btw.

ALF said...

Those capsule things are the best! I still love them. I need to have some kids so I have a good excuse to buy things like that.

pixie said...

My kids got one of those capsules that grew into a horse. When it was done, the kids said, "Now what?"

I couldn't have agreed more.

Anonymous said...

I love those things too. Have you seen the dinosaur eggs that you put in water and they slowly begin to crack like a baby dinosaur is hatching out? Those are awesome.

Above Average Joe said...

Similar situation with the toys from McDonalds. The kids play with them for an hour after dinner then they forget about them and I send them off to the landfill.

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.