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

 


2012 Award
Small World Bouncing Balls Kit
(Small World Toys $19.99 Score:)

Kids can make eight small sparkly bouncing balls with this easy to do kit. It comes with an easy to fill mold and water bowl. You pour some of the colorful beads from one of the five packets. Add water to the water bowl and let them stand for two minutes. Wait another two minutes and open the mold! Voila! You have a bouncing ball the size of a Jacks ball to play with. Our tester said you can buy a bouncing ball that will bounce higher, but that is not the same as making one. This is a little bit of chemistry, reading to follow directions and a finished product for active play. A good choice for play date or nice birthday gift. Finding craft kits to appeal to boys as well as girls is rare. This is one of those gender free products. For 6 and up. Adult supervision will be needed.

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

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2012 Award
Parents Bug Bungalow and Magnifier Set
(Manhattan Toy $32 Score:)

A nicely crafted bug-house with wooden sides and net roof. The see-through door slides easily and allows bug hunters to look inside with their wooden handled magnifier. A sturdy science toy for young nature explorers. 3 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Primary Science Mix and Measure Set
(Learning Resources $29.99 Score:)

Learning about measurement equivalencies comes built into this clever set of measuring tools. For starters you want to give kids a chance to explore how many cups it takes to fill the bigger containers and to discover that the tall and short two-cup containers are the same. The 12-piece set includes measuring spoons and 1/4, 1/2, and 1 cup measures, 2-cup and 4 cup beakers. A small scale is included along with some clever activity cards to use with your child. These science activities are recipes for creating bubble solution, puffy paint, clay, trail mix, slime stencils, mystery goo and other more basic measuring experiments. The well made materials and activity cards add up to a wealth of entertaining parent and child explorations that make early connections to science. 4 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Kiwi Crates-Color
(Kiwicrate $19.95 Score:)

A new on-line series of activity kits that are incredibly well conceived and designed.  We sampled a COLOR kit where the activities include making spinning tops and collages. We usually don't love most science kits - but these were just on target for early school aged kids (and we'd say older fours with adult assistance). The materials are lovely and the instructions are clear.  One of the downsides of most science kits, is that the instructions become too complicated for most kids and adults.  Here, the instructions are a playful blend of written and pictorial. The site also invites you to post your results.

These kits are really terrific parent/child or grandparent/child projects that can be completed in an afternoon. We also tried the company's WIND kit that was great fun (but is no longer available). 

NOTE: This is a subscription service so we have not been able to test all the kits going forward.  To order the COLOR kit shown on the Today Show, click here.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
Talking Tubes
(Alex $27.99 Score:)

An update from the can and strings inventions you played with in school, this plastic set works really well to the delight of our testers young and old. It comes with 3.3 yards of yellow tubing with a red and blue telephone on either end. Go around a corner so that you can't see each other and whisper something. Your voice comes through loud and clear. An early science lesson about sound! 3 & up.

SNAP: For kids who are working on speech, this is a fun prop that will add playful fun to their efforts. Try a game of echo. Say what I say...start with one or two words and buld. Reverse roles and you say what your child says.

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

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2011 Award
Hexbug Nano Glows in the Dark Habitat Set
(Innovation First $39.99 Score:)

Fans of the Hexbugs will want to check out the latest sets that glow in the dark. The Habitat set comes with ten pieces that go together easily. Part of the tracks and the two special "nanos" glow in the dark. The nanos work just like the original--they move quickly but now you can see them in the dark. If you like bugs and toys that glow in the dark, it doesn't get much better than this set. On the other hand, if bugs are not your thing, you probably will be a little freaked out by fast moving glow in the dark plastic bugs. You can buy more bugs separately.  

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Smart Lab Squishy Human Body
(Smart Lab $24.99 Score:)

If you have a child interested in the human body and how it works, this is a must have kit. We love the  information about all the systems of the body in the book, as well as the model of the human body that comes with the set.  The skelton also has body parts for hands on exploration. Remember the first time someone told you how long your intensines are?  Could you visual it?  Here you get to see it!  Unlike so many science kits and books directed to kids, the folks at Smart Lab hit the balance of information just right!  It's this kind of science toy that makes us so happy-- it really celebrates science and encourages kids to learn more. They also have more specific kit and book on the Squishy Brain and a fun Extreme Secret Formula Lab for 20 science experiments to try at home.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Tarantula Planet Spider
(Uncle Milton $14.50 Score:)

Spiders continue to be "hot" in toyland. Last year we had remote controlled spiders that would spin on the wall. This year, the remote control is old school. The spiders in this new collection from Uncle Milton are voice activated. With a click your fingers or saying something loudly, the spider will take off! Very cool if you're into creepy crawler fun. 


Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Make Your Own Kaleidoscope
(Creativity for Kids $12.99 Score:)

Here kids are getting an introduction to reflective properties of light and how different materials affect what we see. The set requires kids to follow step by step instructions for putting the kaleidoscope together. Comes with lots of materials to put in the end piece, but you can also encourage your child to experiment with things from around the house (small buttons, Cheerios, etc.).  Kit says 5 & up--and while a 5 year old will love playing with this toy, they will need your assistance to put it together.   We'd say  more like 8 & up for independent play.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.   We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Break Open Real Geodes
(Dr. Cool Science $49.95 Score:)

Here's a chance to break open geodes (that are formed by prehistoric bubbles in lava). The kit comes with 15 geodes from 3 different mines so there will be a difference in the crystals that have formed that can include: quartz, fluorite, calcite and amethyst. The kit includes a pair of safety glasses (a must!). We also like their suggestion that you can put the geode in a sock- a much safer way to go with younger kids.  It does not come with a hammer or chisel (the two recommended tools for breaking them open).

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011.

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