Gross Into Gold: Science Toys Discover Fun for All Types of Kids
By Michaele Birney Arneson
May 1, 2003
people, whether children or adults, have strong feelings about science:
they either love it or go glassy-eyed at the sound of the word.
As a child, I eagerly collected tadpoles from our backyard pond,
loved to go camping (no tent required) and performed my own unauthorized
experiments in chemistry class when the teacher left the room.
My husband, on the other hand, has a strong dislike for anything
that slithers, flies or crawls. Our children straddle both camps:
three of them love the outdoors and making their own “scientific
discoveries,” while the other two would prefer more domestic
activities at home.
Capsela Weather Station
many kids, their first questions about science come through experiencing
ordinary weather changes. With the Capsela Weather Station
by Educational Insights ($19.99, ages 7–12),
I can give my kids the opportunity to see how weather works by allowing
them to participate and even control the process. Step-by-step assembly
instructions and an educational activity guide make it easy for
scientifically challenged adults to enjoy the various weather experiments
and learn alongside their kids.
Learning about magnetism, bonds and geometry is a snap with the
new Supermag, a new and improved version of the
Geomag ($19.99, ages 3+), featuring "stronger,
tapered rods in both one-inch and half-inch lengths." The new
system is compatible with the Geomag sets, a toy which has swept
seven of the top toy awards in less than a year. Supermag is scheduled
to hit store shelves in summer 2003.
take advantage of unique plush toys to educate my children about
the animal kingdom. Plush Manufacturers Wild Republic
and Wildlife Artists encourage this educational
process by including relevant information about animals along with
their plush creations.
Milton Ant Farm Village
my indoor children prefer to examine the complex social relationships
occurring within their Uncle Milton Ant Farm Village
($19.99, ages 6–9) or my outdoor children create their own
laboratory of living bugs using their Creature Keeper by
Small World Toys ($9.99, ages 3+), I have the satisfaction
of knowing they’re learning something they can’t get
from SpongeBob SquarePants.
Bio: Michaele Birney Arneson is a freelance writer and
editor, specializing in children’s topics, education and employment,
health science, and environmental issues.