Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Science Toys, Activities, and Equipment

 


2013 Award
Little Bits Deluxe 18 Bit Set
(littleBits $199.99 Score:)

Just as the name says, this is the biggest, deluxe version of a clever kit that allows kids to snap together a spectacular array of library of electronic modules. This kit has 18 color coded modules that budding engineers can explore to make sound, light, buttons and sensors without having to use wires, solder or programming. There is an excellent project book with instructions for 15 projects and many, many more projects on the littleBits website. Testers were amused with making a Tickle Machine, Prank Handshake, Auto Greeter, Truck Crane, among others. A science toy with a sense of humor. THere are smaller less pricey sets. The Base Kit $99 is a good introductory kit with 10 bits, a project book and a button, dimmer and buzzer to make a doorbell for your room. The Premium Kit $149 and has 14 bits and a good number of accessories to spark your child's creative circuits. Additonal base projects are are available online. Another good choice for STEM learning.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Thames & Kosmos Gyrobot
(Thames & Kosmos $50.49 Score:)

Did you know that there is a gyroscope in your smart phoe, your tablet, the video controllers, airplanes, space telescopes...you name it. But how about building one? Does that sound like a challenge? In fact, following the directions in this amazing new set, kids can explore the world of physics as they build 7-motorized models that give them hands-on playful experiences as they learn about the jobs gyroscopes do in our world. In an age when science and math are so vital, this is one of those smart toys that is not instantly consumed, but rather invites repeated exploration. The well-written 24-pg manual gives them 7 experiments: the gyroscope goes into a robot, gyrocompass, flight simulator, balance game, gyro horizon, personal transporter, and a tightrope walker.  A good choice for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.

 

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
K'nex Education - Exploring Wind & Water Energy
(K'nex $69.99 Score:)

Designed originally for the classroom, this is one of a new series of construction toys with a scientific edge that will entertain as well as enhance their understanding of renewable energy. In an age when science and math are so vital, this is one of those smart toys that is not instantly consumed, but rather invites repeated exploration. There are six projects in the 288-piece kit that comes in a storage tub. Our tester started with a windmill that connects and powers a shuttle ride. They can also build a Water Lift and a Hydroelectric Generator, among other projects. A great way to get kids engaged with science, math, and technology. Once they have some of the basics, they may want to invent some energy inventions of their own. Also see, K'nex Investigating Solar Energy. Ages 9 & up. Both good choices for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
K'nex Education - Investigating Solar Energy
(K'nex $69.99 Score:)

Talk about going green, this is a construction set that runs of solar energy. Kids can make six different models with the 128 piece Knex set comes in a good size tub for easy storage. It is designed to give them a hands-on experience of building a working machine from scratch. In an age when science and math are so vital, this is one of those smart toys that will both entertains and educate without turning kids off. It's challenging but rewarding. Our tester was especially taken with the "crank man" that she built and put on a sunny windowsill. Designed originally for the classroom, this is one of a new series of construction toys with a scientific edge that will entertain as well as enhance their understanding of renewable energy. This amazing animated construction set comes with detailed instructions and is sure to be a hit for kids. 9 & up. Also see, K'nex Exploring Wind & Water Energy. Both good choices for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Backyard Safari Critter Shack
(Backyard Safari Outfitters $12.99 Score:)

Kids can collect and observe their live finds in this clearview housing that works with wet or dry conditions. The clear view container is water-tight and has a mesh lid so critters can breathe. There is a sturdy carrying handle. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Creativity For Kids Complete Paper Making Kit
(Creativity for Kids $29 Score:)

Part Science/part art this is a kit with everything needed to turn old paper into new. Kids can make their own paper and decorate it for cards. Comes with shredded paper, but you can recycle the many kinds of paper that come into your home. The kit includes a basin, paper making tray, screens, sponge, paper punch, scissors, stencil and many more goodies. This is a kit that introduces how to create your own tags, cards and even jewelry.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Backyard Safari Mini Scoop Net
(Backyard Safari Outfitters $9.99 Score:)

Our testers fought over taking turns over who would use this sturdy net to catch moving things in their backyard. We don't usually recommend toys that involve fighting, but in this instance we simply suggest buying two. Great for catching pollywogs, butterflies, lizards or whatever. The lightweight net is perfect for wet or dry tasks and like your old Ivory soap...it floats! 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Magic School Bus Weather Lab
(The Young Scientists Club $40 Score:)

A bus-shaped science kit features the clever Ms Frizzle's weather experiments that our testers were eager to try. They made a tornado in a bottle, constructed a barometer, used a sun-dial and more. They learned about tracking and keeping a log of the weather with a thermometer, rain gauge, wind vane and compass. There are 28 experiment cards, weather station base, wind vane, plastic cup with rounded top, measuring cup, sponge, thermometer, pinwheel, 3 pieces of clay, peat pellet, paper plate, string, dish, 2 cardboard circles, bar magnet, 3 plastic tubes, straw pencil, index card, petri dish, weather chart, data notebook, snake model, anemometer, bottle connector, and 2 sticker sheets for budding meteorologists.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Clifford the Big Red Dog Bubble Science Kit
(Scholastic $19.99 Score:)

One of a series of science kits for younger children. This explores making all sorts of bubbles by making wands and using them to make prints, sculptures, colored bubbles, gliding boats, jumping pepper and more. It comes with a supply of pipecleaners, wandsm bubble solution, funnel and best of all, an excellent step-by-step experiment book that will walk you through all these together activities. In the past, most of these experiments were more typically done with kindegarten,1st and 2nd graders. That said, there is nothing in this kit that preschoolers will not enjoy trying. Clearly, this is not a solo toy, but rather a chance to explore together. They have also done a Kitchen Science Kit and Rainbow Science. These are available at PBS Kids site and the Scholastic site. As of this writing they were not elsewhere. Marked for 3+, we think they make more sense with 5+.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2012 Award
SmartLab DJ Rock Dock
(SmartLab $20 Score:)

A science toy that will get plenty of play. First things first, kids follow the step by step directions to make a circuit that will turn into a plug in set of portable speakers. Now put them into one of the easy to assemble paper housing boxes. No special tools are needed. Now, plug it into your ipod and play!  A small scienctific fact: the sound is greatly amplified when the speakers go into the housing that ceates a sound box. This set of real speakers will work with an ipod, smart phone or any mp3 player.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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