Interplay’s My Living world range gives children the opportunity to grow real live insects and creatures in their own home or garden and helps children gain a better understanding of nature and the world around them.
I am a bit squeamish when it comes to worms, ants, caterpillars etc so I decided to steer clear of those paticular sets, but Triop world was the kit that stood out for us. No wiggly worms or slime to handle with this one!
My children (2 eldest) have had previous experience hatching sea monkeys and the Triops, although a different creature are grow and cared for in a similar way.
Triops come from the Triassic period so we are talking thousands of years ago. They are a species of shrimp which somehow stay alive but dormant and com back to life when added to water.
In the kit is the triop tank which is small enough to fit on our window sill. They work best with plenty of light and therefore in a sunny spot works best. Also in the box is the packet of Triop eggs, food and sand all of which can be bought as replacements if needed from Interplay.
You also get a spoon and water pumper along with instructions which give a bit of info on the Triops.
It is recommended not to use tap water, they mention both bottled and rain water but I worked out that boiled water left to cool also works a treat. So first thing is to fill the tank and get the water to the correct temperature, then add the Triops.
As you can see the Triop egg pack leaves the tank looking quite dirty, (I believe the Triops prefer dirty water). After a few days the dirt can be skimmed off the top with a spoon. This is not the easiest of tasks as it’s quite slimy.
Then we wait!
After just 3 days I could see lots of white tiny creatures darting and swimming around, almost like tiny white tadpoles.
Unfortunaly with Triops it seems to be survival of the fittest as many simply do not survive or get eaten by the others so the numbers reduce each day until only 2 or 3 remain.
Triops are not the only creatures grown with the included eggs. 3 other creatures can also hatch.
The Triops and other creatures are still tiny in our tank, they also seem to have a habit of camouflaging and hiding. We har to look very closely or even use a magnifier to see them. They are usually around the top of the tank and as of today I can see 4 different creatures if I look hard enough. We have had our tank up for about 2 weeks now.
We have also added the sand which should somehow help to keep the water a little cleaner. The Triops are tiny and therefore only require feeding a small amount of food 2 or 3 times a week at the most.
The tank does get a bit smelly which is the main drawback, it helps to change some of the water when possible but the risk is losing some of the tiny Triops in the process.
My kids are loving this kit so much that I have ordered another one just so they can both have one each. They cost £9.99 from Interplay UK. It makes a great hobby. I think the Triops last about 2/3 months each maximum and then replacement eggs can be purchased.
I’m not sure who is most fascinated by them, me or my kids!
For recommended ages 7 and over, younger ones will also want to look, but probably best keeping the eggs and food well out of reach, would not want Triops in their tummies.