Remember those dull science—or maybe it was reading or math—
lessons you sat through when you were a kid in school? Today, manufacturers
of learning kits are ensuring that children learn the basics of these subjects
in a fun and creative way.
Magnets have always been engaging and useful educational tools. With
the release of the CX Electromagnetic Motor Race Car,
made by Seibun ($39.95) (ToyDirectory),
youngsters ages 8-15 can conduct scientific experiments while playing
with the vehicle, such as magnifying a coil by running an electric current
through it. The Solar Mars Rover ($33.95) has a small
solar panel that provides its energy.
Solar Mars Rover by Seibun
Science lessons can also be tasty ones with Scientific Explorer's
Soda Pop Science and Ice Cream Science (retail
for $19.95, wholesale for $10) (ToyDirectory).
With the first kit, young scientists (ages 5 and up) can learn about carbonation
and experiment with different flavors and colors. With the ice cream kit,
kids (ages nine and up) can create their own recipes and learn how ingredients
such as salt crystals work to make ice cream.
Barn Owl Pellets
Barn Owl Pellets ($1.95/unit), by Kyp Henn Sales
are just that. Owls regurgitate much of what they eat into pellets. What
students (ages 8 and up) get to study comes right from the owls' mouths,
so to speak. They can dissect the sterilized pieces to see the hair and
the bones of the creatures the owl actually ate in the wild. One complete
skeleton is guaranteed for each pellet.
Human body Puzzle
Straight Edge (ToyDirectory)
has produced a puzzle to let preschoolers see what the human body looks
like from the inside. The Human Body Puzzle ($5.95) has
a picture of a body on the outside of the puzzle. When the puzzle’s pieces
are removed, bones, organs and blood vessels become visible, a way for youngsters
to learn anatomy on an elementary basis. Straight Edge has also found a
way to introduce the same age group to nursery rhymes. Goldilocks,
Three Little Pigs and Jack and the Beanstalk,
among others, can all be learned with Story in a Box ($8.95
each), a sturdy kit that helps tell classics with cardboard characters and
Bank Account and Allowance Game
Board games are also educational, and there is no lack of them on the market.
Bank Account ($23.95) and Allowance Game
($21.95) by Creative Teaching Associates (ToyShow)
teaches problem-solving skills for real-life problems, such as handling
one's own money. The game, which is ideal for fifth through twelfth graders,
is just one of 250 educational games available from CTA.
Klutz Kwiz by Klutz
is a combination card game and computer device, blending engaging questions
with an educational spin. Cards and answers are punched into the "gizmo,"
providing a great way for preschoolers to fourth graders to learn a variety
of math, reading and skill games. A green light and chime rewards a correct
answer, while a red light and “sad” sound signals a wrong answer. Card
decks alone cost $9.95, while the complete kit with the gizmo is $17.95.
Toss and Learn Cubes ($14.95) from World Class
Learning Materials (ToyDirectory)
can be tossed like dice to teach lessons in phonics and grammar. WCLM
also manufactures reading comprehension board games for second through
fifth graders that teach critical thinking skills. There are six games
in all, such as Predicting Outcomes, Following
Directions and Logic & Reasoning, all priced
at $20.95 each.