Can We Build It?

Disclosure- I received the below in order to review.  All opinions are my own and honest.  See “I disclose” for more info.

science toys

LittleBits

Littlebits are an interesting take on the build it concept.  Instead of blocks or pieces, these are parts of something bigger.  The set includes LED lights, Servos, battery or power blocks and sensors of various types.  These pieces are broken down into 4 categories- input, sound sensors, buttons, etc; output, LED lights, Servos; power and connectors, wires to transmit a signal long or short range, or to break up a signal by fixed intervals.  When first looking at the box, it almost looks like someone took apart a complex electronic device, and it’s your job to put it together. However, this set is much more than that.  When stringing the pieces together, the user can make simple or complex circuits that can do everything from massage your back, to working a backhoe, or if the creativity is really flowing bring a drawing to life.  The instruction book is a great tool in learning how each piece works but the best way to really learn is hands on and with this set
hands on is easy to work with.  There is no danger of electrocution when connecting or disconnecting pieces.  They are held together with strong magnets and can only fit together in such a way that short circuiting the boards is difficult.  When playing with LittleBits it was great fun watching Little Man make connections in his head, from what he wants to happen to how he can make it happen using the pieces at his disposal.

science toy

Air Stream Machines

Air Stream machines is an educational set which teaches kids about air pressure and air driven mechanics.  The book included is part instruction book, part educational tool.  Each project is broken down into simple steps while showing real world examples of air pressure, air flow and electrical to mechanical energy.  The star of the set is the hover craft.  This project is simple to build and rewarding as well.  With an adult helper, the pieces fit together perfectly and work just as the instructions say.  The hover craft can float over land or water on a pillow of air.  Little Man’s eyes lit up like Christmas trees when the hovercraft’s air pillow inflated then started moving.  This set is perfect for anyone young or old who is fascinated with vehicles and science in general.
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Get Kids Thinking and Exploring with Nancy B

One of my favorite brands for educational, yet still truly fun toys is Educational Insights. I love how creative and interesting their toys are, and how engaged they keep the kids. As a teacher and mother, those “ah-ha!” moments are wonderful, but just as important are the moments that they are actively enjoying their learning experience- while playing. (Hopefully at least some of the time, with me!)

 nancy b

Nancy B’s Science Club toys debuted this year at Toy Fair 2013, and they were some of my favorite items of the show. Designed to inspire girls to become interested in and learn more about science, these were developed by former science teacher Nancy Balter. The colors are appealing to girls, but also young children in general. Each product in the Nancy B category comes with a science journal to keep track of your notes and progress, as well as access to an online science club. This club has partnered with female scientists from around the world who provide content to the site and contribute their knowledge. Just a side note- none of these products will break the bank, especially when compared to other similar items, and they are good quality.

nancy b binoculars

 

The Nancy B’s Science Club Binoculars and Wildlife Activity Journal encourage outside play and exploration. The accompanying journal also includes a bird watching “find it” activity, and ecosystem challenges so that your child is not only active, but learning. This is a great first step into science, because all kids would love to see the world through binoculars. A little time searching the woods with mom and dad and some encouragement, and who knows what they will learn? The Wildlife Activity Journal lets them look back on all they have seen and accomplished.
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