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

 


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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2012 Awards
4M Bubble Science
(4M Kidzlabs $12.99 Score:)

A great way to explore the science of bubbles! Includes a tray, a pyramid framed wand, a cube frames wand, other shaped wands, yarn, straws, wand sticks, a mouthpiece to form a cone shaped blower, a small container of bubble solution and best of all an experiment booklet for making all sort of bubble magic happen. You will need to add more dish washing detergent. Younger kids will need your help with reading the directions and your participation in making some of the experiments work. That said, this is an interesting kit that our tester really loved. Making a bubble within a bubble took some try-try-again efforts, but in the end there was triumph! 5 & up with parent's help. 8 & up independently.

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

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2012 Award
Sci or Fi Files Game
(Educational Insights $14.99 Score:)

Players take turns reading three science statements that are printed on their cards. Everyone guesses which one of the statements is true or which one is false. Turn the card over to get the answer and the explanation. Players collect score chips for getting the facts right. There are 200 double sided cards with tons of fun facts and explanations. The box, designed like a file cabinet is set up with Physical Science, Earth and Space, Life Science and Unclassified (as in misc.) fact cards. You have to get one chip from each category to win the game. This was more fun than we expected at the start. It is something of a trivia game but the information is interesting and since they give you three choices players can always do an educated guess without feeling stupid or at a complete loss and even learn a little factoid,too. 10 to adult.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. 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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