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Oyster STEAM Subscription “Archaeologist” Review – January 2020

Becca Peterson
ByBecca PetersonJan 16, 2020 | 8 comments

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Oyster is a monthly STEAM-based "profession" subscription for kids ages 5-9. Each month you will receive an educational kit made with the help of professionals and rigorously tested by kids, which includes equipment, information, and experiments to try out a different profession. According to Oyster, kids closer to 9 will be able to complete the tasks independently, while younger kids will require participation from their parents.

This box is being reviewed thanks to MSA reader request!

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About Oyster

The Subscription Box: Oyster Kit

The Cost: $39.95 a month + free shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.

The Products: A new profession to explore every month through STEAM learning materials, online tests, and DIY projects

Ships to: The U.S. only

Oyster "Archaeologist" Kit January 2020 Review

Hooray for Oyster Kit! My kids were absolutely stoked to see this box in our mailbox! We have already become doctors, dentists, lab techs, and artists, thanks to this subscription, so let's go ahead and add archaeologist to our resume!


Safety first! Because this kit has a lot of small pieces, it is recommended for kids 5-8. Charlie is only 4, but I felt comfortable letting him participate because I was there to supervise. Some of the experiment cards include bonus material that can be found on their website and include QR codes for easy access.

Onto the fun stuff:



This month we received a fun illustrated map of the 4 countries we will be visiting as archaeologists. This was indeed very helpful to show Charlie just how far apart these areas are! (He was especially impressed after I showed him how close on this map Minnesota and Montana are, since he mentioned how that 18 hour car ride seemed like an eternity!)


Archaeologist Package

In this cute little manila envelope, we received all of the pertinent information needed to become archaeologists. We received a journal to record our findings and answer questions, a sticker to put in our professional record book, a template for our letter to the future, and the direction cards needed to complete each assignment.

Archaeologist Bandana

How cute is this bandana?! I am loving the soft yellow cloth printed with symbols and dinosaurs! The patches and the Oyster logo really make it cute. Charlie wasn't sure what an archaeologist would use this for, but he sure found out quickly that it was a necessary tool for wiping excavating dust off his face!


Mosaic Tile Kit

Here we received a kit to create our very own mosaic. Our direction card states that archaeologists often find pieces of art or household items that are chipped or have faded images and patterns. To return them to their original condition, they work to restore them. This particular mosaic is to be of "Poseidon."


Archaeology Excavation Set

This was my son's favorite part of the kit. We received a 6" X 4" clay brick and excavating tools to dig for our own ancient Roman artifacts. You'll have to take a look below to see what Charlie found!


Time Capsule

The next item in our box was this metal time capsule. We received a direction card to write a message to the future and bury this in our yard with some small treasures. Because it is the dead of January, we won't be digging up our yard, but my son has already planned where he will be burying this once the ground thaws!

Dinosaur Puzzle

I love this Stegosaurus puzzle! We have done, or should I say "tried to do" a few of these puzzles in the past. The versions I had previously received (as birthday gifts and such) were made of flimsy wood and not numbered with absolutely no directions. This version is the exact opposite. It is strong, sturdy, numbered, and the pieces fit together amazingly so it doesn't fall apart. Charlie was mostly able to do this himself but needed me to press the pieces in to get them tight.

Dinosaur Eyeballs

We also received 2 eyeballs to add to our dinosaur after the clay is added. I love the fact that the eyes are purple and blue, just like the clay that was sent. I need to find where I can get more of these!


To be able to cover our entire dinosaur skeleton with clay, we received 5 small containers of blue, light blue, and purple clay. While 4 of the containers were in perfect condition, the light blue container was moldy. I immediately reached out to the Oyster Kit customer service, and within minutes I received a very apologetic response. They asked for my order number and shipping address and had a new one shipped out within HOURS of my initial message. I was extremely impressed!


Before we started our projects, Charlie had to fill out his information in the archaeologist journal.

Project #1: Artifact Excavation


Holy mess, Batman! So, we have done a few smaller ones of these in the past, so I thought I was smart and put this clay brick on a baking sheet, but my four-year-old had clay dust EVERYWHERE! I'm not complaining, but be forewarned! Charlie had a great time working on this project and spent at least 45 minutes digging out his artifacts. It was a little tough to break off some of the pieces with the included chisel and hammer, so we did use a knife to speed things up a bit. I loved how the included direction card gave background information about ancient artifacts, and we really enjoyed reading the extra stories that were found using the QR code on the back! Look at those awesome coins! Charlie was especially impressed with the gold one!

Project #2: Time Capsule


The next project we completed was the time capsule. Charlie answered the questions included on the template as I wrote them down, and we rolled the paper up and slide it into the time capsule. He still hasn't decided which small toy to include, but he does plan to add some additional items. Like I said above, the ground is frozen like a rock here, so we won't be burying this baby until spring, but it has become a keeper of the excavated coins and treasure map until then!

Project #3: Mosaic Kit


The next included kit was the Poseidon mosaic kit. I really enjoyed the information they gave and the quality of the materials. The pattern was printed with one sticky side to adhere to the tiles. The tiles were awesome! They were actual glass and featured a paper backing for easy application to the sticker. Charlie loved this project, and had a fun time sorting the colors!

Project #4: Dinosaur Model

For the final project, we received the instructions and supplies to create the dinosaur model. First, we punched out all of the dinosaur skeleton puzzle pieces. Because they were so well numbered, we had a breeze assembling our Stegosaurus. After the skeleton was assembled, we used the clay to cover the entire skeleton. I was a little worried about how this step would go, but the clay was extremely soft and workable. Once the head was covered, we had to embellish using our fancy eyeballs. Charlie needed a little assistance with the clay, but managed to do the back and tail plates all on his own! The instructions state our new friend should be dry within 24 hours! Isn't he cute?

And here are all our finished projects from the Archaeologist Kit! I may be biased, but I think Charlie did a fabulous job!

Verdict: This was my third month of Oyster kit and it was our favorite! This box has gone above and beyond and taught us about things we otherwise probably wouldn't have learned at such a young age. It is so exciting to get to experience a little bit about different professions through play, and it is something my kids can't get enough of! I loved the items in this month's box, and feel that everything was so well thought out. The curation fit together perfectly, and the items themselves are always high quality. The dinosaur model sits proudly on my son's nightstand, and the Poseidon is taped to our fridge! This was the first month I have had to contact customer service, and as I said above, they were fast, apologetic, and friendly. I love learning through play and can't wait to see which profession we get to try next month.

We put about 6 hours into being archaeologists with this kit, and I feel with the amount of projects, the fun teachings, and the additional resources online, this subscription is worth $39.95 a month.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Possibly; it depends on kit availability.

Check out all of our Oyster Kit reviews and our list of 2019's best subscription boxes for kids!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

What do you think of Oyster?

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Becca Peterson
Becca Peterson
While I am taking a time-out from being a Clinical Laboratory Scientist, I am currently staying at home with my 2 sweet boys! My first subscription was Julep thanks to happening upon the MSA website, and it all went downhill from there! I have subscribed to Ipsy, Boxycharm, Degustabox, Julep, Graze, Bluum, Walmart, and more because I love a good surprise! I truly am a subscription addict!

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I am an archaeologist and I can tell you that bandanas are very important to us! Usually we work in hot climates and need a bandana to cover our hair, our mouths, or to wipe our sweat with.

Also, archaeologists don’t dig up dinosaurs.

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Haha, anthropologist here too. Its a great kit, but I wish they didn’t mix up the two.

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lol yea they got that one confused a bit with paleontologists.

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Your son is adorable. That really looks like an amazing subscription.

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Nice idea but they failed because archaeology has nothing to do with dinosaurs, the study of dinosaurs is paleontology, archaeology is the study of human artifacts and other physical remains. Really they could have solved this by either omitting the dinosaur stuff or simply saying it’s both an archaeology and paleontology box and teach what the difference is. Other than that a cool box.

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Hey Rachael! Thanks for commenting! After taking a closer look at the included direction cards, I see the do explain that it is indeed paleontologists that excavate dinosaur bones while archaeologists find artifacts. I also noticed that with them”Doctor” kit – it was called that, but also included lab tech and dentist activities.

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Brandi D.

That Charlie sure is a cutie! Looks like such a fun box! 😊

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Thanks Brandi Dowell! 😊 He had a blast and was sad when it was over!!

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