Science and applied math let children seek out and explore, inquire and investigate, and learn from hands-on experience and experimentation how the world works.
How do airplanes fly in the sky? With My First Airplane Kit, children can learn all about flight. They can build and paint easy-to-make airplanes with pens, and then watch their custom aircraft soar through the sky. Next, using their planes and other components, they can conduct experiments to learn about gravity, lift, drag and thrust, the forces involved in flight. This kit “tailors the fascinating world of flight to the young child. Not only can you build, paint and decorate planes — but you can also use these planes to conduct experiments,” Susan Rives at Scientific Explorer told TDmonthly. Launch date: May 2007.
— Idanna Smith, owner of Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., cited My First Airplane as one of the best toys at Toy Fair 2007.
— Scientific Explorer experiments do well, Owner Fred Rosenberg of On the Park in Kingwood, Texas, told TDmonthly in spring 2007.
— Scientific Explorer is one of “the most accommodating companies that I have dealt with,” Joshua Grindstaff of Education Station in Coldwater, Mich., told TDmonthly in spring 2007. “They … allow for a very small minimum order, and the quantities that you have to buy of each item are reasonable.”
THIS PRODUCT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11700 (added 2/28/2007)
This net habitat (almost like a Chinese lantern) encloses caterpillars, food and the setting for a caterpillar’s eventual metamorphosis. It requires mail-sent larvae. “The Butterfly Garden not only shows actual insect metamorphosis, but it does so in just three weeks' time. Many other animal habitats can take up to six months for any changes to occur. This makes it a perfect item for kids who have short attention spans and is an ideal science project for any classroom,” John White, marketing director of Insect Lore, told TDmonthly.
— Fred Rosenberg of On the Park in Kingwood, Texas, named this as his No. 1 seller in May 2008, with sales of 50 to 60 units monthly. “I just can't keep them in stock right now,” he told TDmonthly. “We have a display on our counter with the real butterflies so people can see it go through the process,” said Kim Emigh, VP of e-commerce at Growing Tree Toys in State College, Pa.
— 25% of 64 retailers surveyed in August 2008 named this as their top-selling nature toy, reporting average sales of 12 per month. Five of 38 retailers named Insect Lore’s butterfly habitats as best-selling science and nature products in late summer 2009. In an August 2010 survey, 21 percent of 43 specialty retailers said Insect Lore is a top-selling science and nature brand. Five retailers specifically cited Butterfly Garden as a best seller.
— As of 5/21/2012, the Butterfly Garden had spent more than 1,600 days in the top-100 best-selling toys and games at Amazon.com and has 4.4 out of 5 stars from 461 reviews.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3975 (added 7/18/2005)
Snap Circuits make learning electronics easy and fun. Kids follow the colorful pictures in the manual to build exciting projects, such as FM radios, burglar alarms, doorbells and more. Parts are mounted on plastic modules and snap together with ease. “Children can play with this kit for hours and hours and still have not completed all the projects the snap circuit kits have to offer,” Walter Larsen, national sales manager for Elenco, told TDmonthly.
— One retailer said in summer 2007 his store sells 25 Elenco units monthly. Five percent of 64 retailers said in August 2008 that Snap Circuits are a best-selling science product, reporting average sales of six units per month. Four of 38 retailers echoed the same a year later. “They’ve gone back to this game six or seven times,” between January and July 2006, said TDmonthly's homeschooling mom Susan Ledford.
— Any time TDmonthly asks specialty storeowners about top-selling science toys, Elenco's Snap Circuits heads the list. This simple electronics kit appeals to both girls and boys. By making science fun and easy, Snap Circuits earned a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 575 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: One user said that her grandchildren were "not all that interested" in the Snap Circuits, and told her that they would prefer LEGOs on their birthday.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5252 (added 10/27/2005)
With this advanced physics kit, kids can study more advanced topics in physics, including fluid dynamics, energy, oscillation, hydraulics and pneumatics. They will build spectacular models and devices, such as a wind tunnel, pneumatic shocks and a hydraulic lift. They will learn how ships float and airplanes fly, why a streamlined shape lets a car drive faster and how power plants convert a current of water into electrical current. A 96-page full-color manual is included. “All learning is done through hands-on construction,” Thames & Kosmos Customer Relations Manager Christa Raimondo told TDmonthly. This product is a Fall 2007 Parent's Choice Award winner. Launch date: July 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14652 (added 8/15/2007)
A marvel of engineering, the Ball of Whacks is made up of 30 magnetic rhombic pyramids that can be taken apart and rearranged in endless creative ways. More versatile than a puzzle and lots more fun than a brainteaser, there’s no right or wrong way to use it. Just pick it up and play with it! Designed to be a creativity workshop in a box, Ball of Whacks comes with a 96-page illustrated guidebook providing exercises for creative brainstorming, strategies for problem solving, insights into the creative process challenges to construct shapes and mosaics, and to invent new ones. The game is also a good stress reliever for active individuals working under pressure.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9092 (added 8/21/2006)
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