Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Science Toys, Activities, and Equipment

 


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

One of a series of science kits for preschoolers. This one uses things found in the kitchen to make a volcano explosion, slime, crystals, fungus and more. The items in the kit include plastic test tubes, mini-volcano form, a small tank for making slime and other props. Best of all there is a wonderful 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 Bubble 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: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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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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2012 Awards
Learning Resources Farmer's Market Color Sorting Set
(Learning Resources $39.99 Score:)

Five plastic baskets come with fruits and veggies to sort by color. There are stick-on color labels to put on the basket and five pieces of food in each color. These are well-proportioned props for pretend stores, and kitchens that are also useful for building knowing and naming language skills as well as possible games of counting and making patterns. The set comes with 30 pieces that will find their way into all sorts of pretend play and learning games. 3 & up.

SNAP GAME: Put three veggies in a row. Have/help child name them. Have child turn away a you remove one. Can he tell which one is missing? Try it another way. Have child turn away while you add a fourth piece. Can he tell the name of piece added?

SNAP GAME: For kids working on beginning sounds put down three or four of the foods and say, I'm thinking of something that starts with the same sound as bird, bug, bobby...if that doesn't do it add another clue it rhymes with Hannah....did they find the banana?

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

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Little Tikes Makin' Mud Pies Kitchen Set
(Little Tikes $49.99 Score:)

We had mixed emotions over this toy. Making mud in the sandbox was always a special joy in our family. We know that our testers enjoyed this make-a-mess machine, but it does seem like one of those toys nobody really needs to invest in. As reviewers of children's products we have serious questions about the need for a toy designed to make mud. What ever happened to the garden hose, pail and shovel, old plastic sand molds and recycled containers? If you really think you need this, be forewarned: it comes with no drill holes, meaning you need to have a power drill to get this up and running. There is no doubt that sand and water are magical at a certain stage in life--offering an early science experiences along with sensory pleasure. But chances are you can trust your kids to know how to do this without any extra investment other than soap and water at the end of the fun. 24 months & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Mystery in the Forest Write Me a Story
(eeBoo $10.99 Score:)

One of a series of books designed to encourage kids to write or dictate original stories. There are forest related stickers in this one, blank spaces for original art and lines for writing the story on. They say 3 & up - we'd say more like 5-8.There are also matching games and story telling cards in this Mystery in the Forest line that use the same overall theme that can help expand children's vocabulary and recognition of forest creatures.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Insect Lore Creature Peeper
(Insect Lore $10.75 Score:)

A well-designed bug viewer that allows kids to see bugs from top or side. It can be used for viewing tadpoles or small fish, as well, for a short time, since it is water tight. Designed to be escape proof, it is still suggested that kids keep their creatures just for a short time and then, let them go. 4 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Learning Resources Primary Science Set
(Learning Resources $29.99 Score:)

A 12 piece set, all chunky but realistic and safe for kids. There are plastic beakers, test tubes, tweezers, magnifier, protective goggles, eye dropper and 10 activity cards. These experiment cards have one side that shows what you need; the other side tells you what to do. An adult is needed to read. Many items needed such as vinegar, raisins, baking soda, seeds, and other items are not in the set. But these are age appropriate experiments in color mixing, sprouting seeds, bugs, make a volcano—to name just a few. Marked 4 & up, but this will be a set you can use with 1st and 2nd graders.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Our tester sent these comments:
"The kids loved the idea of the kit and were excited to conduct the experiments. The chunky size beakers and test tubes were fun and they liked the laminated cards with the experiments. The downside was that several of the experiments required materials not included in the kit (which is fine as long as you know it is not a self-contained activity going in) - things that might not be on-hand in the average home, like seeds for planting, bugs for examining, food coloring, etc. The activities that we did went over really well and got them thinking. The only other comment is that the tweezers are really pretty useless. They are made the right size for preschoolers, but they really don't grasp anything and are hard to maneuver - both for kids and adults."

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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