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

 


2010 Award
Creativity for Kids Mini Flower Press and Nature Cards
(Creativity for Kids $14.99 Score:)

A small 4" by 4" flower press is just the right size for pressing single flowerheads, leaves, and seed pods. The kit includes directions, press, watercolors, glue, mini marker, craft tweezers, and colorful mini cards, envelopes, book marks, and gift tags for making and using these treasures from nature to make small useful creations as gifts or gift enclosures. A project that blends science with an artistic twist. 6 & up. 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: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Nature Series: Science on a Tracking Expedition
(The Young Scientists Club $32 Score:)

We received several new science kits this year from The Young Scientists Club.  This animal tracking set rated the best with all of our testers. This kit came with enough plaster mix to make all of the animal tracks with the enclosed casts.  It also comes with information about the animals. Our testers also gave high markes to the stickers and poster set included in this kits.  Unfortunately, they did not have the same success with the solar kit. The solar panel/motor did not function--we had the same problem when we first tested this kit in house. We thought perhaps we had gotten a dud--but their review confirms the problem - which is too bad since this kit would otherwise be great fun.  The Back in Time with Dinosaurs Kit was initially received well--but it doesn't come with as much plaster as the animal tracks kit--so repeats of making the dinosaur fossils was not possible.

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

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2010 Award
Backyard Safari Mega Magnifier
(Summit Inc. $14.99 Score:)

Talk about big - here's a super 13 X 10 inch magnifier with hand grips on each side. Made of plastic, this is fun for indoors and out - in fact it floats! Fun for wide close up views of bugs, plants, feathers, fabrics, whatever. A warning reminds parents that magnifiers left in direct sun can cause fires, so this is a piece of science equipment that you need to keep track of. 5 & up.

Age: Early 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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2009 Award
Zebra Mix Cookie Baking Activity Set
(Zebra Mix $22.95 Score:)

Baking with kids is fun and also a solid way to introduce so many math and science concepts. Zebra Mix, the company has created some baking mix packages that make it feel more like a gift. Their Organic Flour Power Cookie Baking Activity Set ($22.99) comes with a small rolling pin, two cookie cutters (a dragonfly and a flower), cookie mix, icing mix, and a big colorful direction sheet. You will need to add your own butter, flour, and vegetable coloring. The company also makes a Zebra Cupcake Kit ($14.95) that comes in a black and white zebra striped metal lunchbox. Our testers sent us rave reviews of the latter, although it comes with none of the utensils needed for making cupcakes except the mix. You'll need to provide many extra ingredients as well as muffin tins, liners, mixer, timer, measuring cup. Spoons and bowls. You could also just buy a cake mix and go at it. We have to say the packaging does have a gifty appeal along with the colorful directions "map." We note that the mixes do come with less packaging for a lower price, though they are packed in sets of six.  While you are using these kits or baking your own from scratch, be sure to talk about how things change as liquid is added to dry ingredients and what happens to liquid batter when heat is added.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Kinder-Ready Art of Science Color Kit
(Elmer's $14.95 Score:)

Designed for the youngest scientists in the making, this is an experiment kit that is ideal for introducing kids to the magic of colors and how they mix to make other colors. Three plastic oversized test tubes with stand and screw on caps come with a supply of 12 fizzy color tablets that are used to explore color changing. This is a kit for parent and child to share. It is not for kids to use independently. It comes with a color mixing tray, two long plastic pipettes (eyedroppers), magnifier, cotton swab, and an excellent manual to walk you through the experiments. There are three outlines of Eric Carle art that kids can color - but that is the least of it. This is science for the beginner that is totally hands on and planned for discoveries. Of course, mixing paints or vegetable coloring will do the same job, but this is a good place to introduce the concepts of observing, making hypotheses, and seeing what happens. The color tablets will run out, but the other materials will be useful for further experiments with paint and veggie coloring. 4 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

We have just learned that this product is only available at the moment on Barnes & Noble on line.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2001 Award
Nature House
(TWC of America $11 Score:) This sturdy hut-shaped wooden house with screened sides makes a perfect temporary habitat for captured bugs. Also top rated, Soil Dweller Nature House Kit ($20). Kids can make their own earthworm or ant farm with this kit (approx. 8" x 11") with wooden frame and Plexiglas windows. Captive creatures can be returned to the wild with ease. 8 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Mighty Mega Bouncing Zoom Balls
(Action Products $12 Score:) An update of a '98 PLATINUM AWARD winner, this kit has enough material for three 2" super-sized neon balls. A little science here with mixing crystals and water to change them into a solid, bounce-able material in just three minutes. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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1999 Awards
Buried Treasure Kits
(Kidology $17.95 Score:) We originally thought this kind of kit was pretty mindless, but our testers loved playing archeologist, chipping away at hardened sand blocks to unearth hidden treasures. While there used to be several themes- Castle, Egyptian, or Mayan Treasure-- the company has informed us that they are going forward with only the Egyptian set for 2009. 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: 1999.

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1995 Awards
Giant Periscope
(Tasco $15 Score:) For exploring around corners, this sturdy, plastic double-handled periscope is just right. Made of sturdy plastic this is a fun toy for dramatic play as well as visual discoveries. This company also makes a full line of microscopes and telescopes.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 1995.

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