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

 

 
2004 Awards
Insect Lore Butterfly Pavilion
(Insect Lore $29.99 Score:)

A large 2-foot tall updated version of a habitat for hatching painted ladies butterflies. The pop-up mesh tent can be hung or put on a tabletop. This is a three-week long project with all the magic of watching caterpillars transform themselves into chrysalis and then into beautiful butterflies that can be released into your garden. When you bring home the Pavilion you send your certificate for the caterpillars. A good project to capture with camera as it moves along and keep a log of the dates and changes. This size comes with 10 caterpillars; a smaller Live Butterfly Garden($19.99) one foot comes with certificate for five caterpillars. 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: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2005 Award
Discovery Awesome Avalanche Kit
(Discovery Kids $19.95 Score:) At first glance this avalanche kit seems a lot like most of the volcano kits you may have seen - a five-minute wonder. But our 11-year old tester liked painting the model of Mt. Everest. While it was drying he and his mom read through the excellent booklet that explains how real avalanches happen, as well as the nature of the "insta-snow" - grains of white polymer that come with the kit. Add water to a measure of "insta-snow" and "Watch out below!" It cascades from the mountaintop! This kind of polymer is used in indoor snow-boarding parks and is related to the super absorbent polymer in disposable diapers. There are a number of other hands-on experiments and the good news is that if you store the saturated fluffy "insta-snow" in an open container, they shrink and dry and are ready to do their magic again. Our tester now insists on showing all visitors a demonstration. Adult supervision suggested.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Box of Rocks
(GeoCentral $21.99 Score:)

If you have a young rock hound in the family, this box with 16 specimens and an informative booklet will be a hit and may inspire further discoveries. Activity Rocks ($5.25 ) has four specimens—including one that floats!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2005. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Kid Tough Digital Camera
(Fisher-Price $69.95 Score:)

This was a Platinum winner in 2007. What has changed? It is now waterproof-not a bad idea when you think of how often cameras are taken along to the beach or pool. Technically, this is not a 2009 winner, but it is worth considering. Designed for beginners, this digital camera works surprisingly easily. There is a two-eye view finder as well as a small but adequate screen. It’s easy to use with chunky handgrips and big button. Comes with built-in flash, runs on four AA batteries, and you can add a card for extra memory. Compatible with Mac or PC. They say 3 & up, we’d say more like 6 & up. Available in pink or blue. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Eye Clops
(Jakks Pacific (Child Guidance) $49.99 Score:)

There's no way of knowing how long this will hold their interest, but it is one amazing "bionic eye" that magnifies objects 200✕ their size! Plug it into the TV screen and look at your skin, a bug, a coin, your sweater. We hope a future model will plug into the computer so you can save slides of your finds. Unlike a classic microscope that is hard for kids to use, this projects images on the TV screen so that they really can marvel at the crystal shapes in table salt and examine the details of a fly or rug fiber. 6 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
EyeClops Bionic Eye Multizoom
(Jakks Pacific $44.99 Score:)

We originally raved about the original EyeClops that allows you to blow up images that you can view on your television screen. Ever look at your carpet or your skin up close? Really gross and cool -- all at the same time. This year they improved the product by making the magnification even better (you can set it at 1o0, 200 or 400X). You can move around with it rather than having to be tethered to your tv. One of the best hands-on science toys we've ever seen for the home market.

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: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
EyeClops Night Vision
(Jakks Pacific $79.99 Score:)

If you've read our reviews over the years you know we really like glow in the dark toys. So it's not too much of a stretch that we were going to be interested in this night vision toy. As usual we packed into the office bathroom to check out. It really does work. The company says that the infra-red driven technology allows you to see clearly for 50 feet in pitch black. Our bathroom wasn't that big! Only kidding--we tried it in larger rooms and were amazed by what we could see. Editors note: While we have noted that consumers have posted comments on-line that they had trouble with getting the product to work properly--we did not have a problem and our testers really gave this product high marks. If it doesn't work-for $80 you should complain! Get a replacement--it's cool!

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

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Fun Fly Stick Magic Levitation Wand
(Unitech Toys $26.95 Score:)

Want to see kids up and moving? Here's a fun novelty toy that seems to work by magic. In fact the magic is electrostatic! Remember how you used to make a balloon float after rubbing it with your hair…or how you gave your little sister a shock by dragging your feet on the carpet? Same idea…only more fun! Press the button on the magic wand, toss one of the three flying toys up, touch it once with the wand and get ready for magic! Your wand will keep the silvery iridescent toy levitating as you chase it around the room. A word of caution, this is not to be used within 3 feet of any electronic devices such as a computer or TV. Therefore, this is a toy that will need supervision…and please, let the kids play with it.

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: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2003 Award
Ice Cream Science
(Scientific Explorer $20 Score:) We wish all chemistry experiments were this tasty! Kids fill out their own lab sheets as they formulate their own "secret" formula. Comes with different flavorings and can be used with different types of milk. The fun part comes when you put your mixture in a series of plastic bags and then put it in a t-shirt and start shaking! After vigorous shaking for five minutes, you'll have ice cream. The kit is full of interesting information about why this works. We found that you really had to shake hard for five minutes. If the ice cream is too runny, you can put your mixture in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Kit designed in conjunction with the UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science. 9 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2004 Award
Bird Diner Kit
(Balitono $17 Score:) This diner attracts smaller birds such as finches, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches. We'd pair it with a set of binoculars, a bird book, and a log. Also for the outdoors, Spiral Windchime Kit ($17). 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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