Today we investigate toys and other educational devices that will stimulate the minds of children and scholars of all ages, engage their imaginations, and contribute to their intellectual development. If you have a child with an interest in science (or just a highly inquisitive mind), this may well be a very useful article for you. Similarly, if you or your child has an interest in astronomy, anatomy, biology, or chemistry (among other sciences), then the items we discuss here today are sure to be right up your alley! Read on to see what fun and interesting gadgets we can come up with.
Educational Toys For All!
There’s no better type of toy than one that’s not only fun but also educational. Of course, the somewhat loose definition of “toys” that I’m using here (and in most of my articles) encompasses pretty much anything that can be used to have fun. Whatever can make life a little bit more exciting or interesting is the kind of thing I’m looking for—only they had better be educational as well, because learning goes a whole lot easier when boring tasks are replaced with fun ones. Whatever your scientific interest, there’s sure to be something that makes its pursuit a whole lot more fun than burying your nose in a big, thick, difficult textbook. The trick, of course, is to figure out just what that something is. From telescopes to chemistry lab sets, these are the types of items that make learning fun!
If your child has future aspirations of being a medical doctor, one great way to get started in the right direction is by collecting and assembling anatomical models. Take, for example, the Walter Products Half-Size Human Skeleton Model, which is just one of the many highly educational anatomical models that your son or daughter can acquire. Learn every bone in the human body with this accurately detailed, 3 piece (i.e., you assemble it from 3 sections), 33 inch tall, anatomical model (which even includes suture lines and a full dentition). You and your child can also study the arm and leg joints (featuring realistic human movement) to learn all about how the human skeletal system works (it’s not just bones that are involved, there are ligaments in there too!). The incredible creature you see at right comes with his (or is it her?) own labelled colour chart that’s chock full of useful details that are sure to lead to an excellent knowledge base with which to build on with future (and different kinds of) anatomical models. Equally educational for both younger scholars and college-age students alike, this realistic skeleton is great both for hands-on demonstrations (related to the human skeletal system) or as an excellent visual aid. You could even get some extra mileage out of it at Halloween as a kooky display piece!
In the realm of astronomy, the Celestron PowerSeeker 114EQ Telescope is a great entry level scope to get the amateur or beginning astronomer outside and enjoying the stars. This particular model (a Newtonian telescope) has a number of useful features going for it. For example, its got an equatorial mount that when paired with a Celestron motor drive (sold separately) allows you to track the movement of a given celestial object across the night sky as the Earth rotates on its axis. This easy to operate telescope also features a 114mm aperture, a focal length of 900mm, and it offers a highest useful magnification of 269x, meaning it’s powerful enough to keep you and your offspring busy looking at the stars and planets for many years to come. It’s even got a special software package called “The Sky” that helps you to locate, identify, and view the many celestial objects that you’ll be eager to seek out. If there’s a wannabe astronomer in your home, you can’t go wrong with this Celestron beauty!
From the same manufacturer comes this incredible Celestron 40-2000x Binocular Compound Microscope, which is perfect for the scholar with an interest in the super small. Everything from human cells to microorganisms are visible under the power of this lab-ready binocular microscope. Complete with eyepieces offering 10x and 20x magnification, as well as 4 fully achromatic objective lenses (4x, 10x, 40x, and 100x), this compound microscope allows users to easily view specimens at magnifications of 40x, 80x, 100x, 200x, 400x, 800x, 1000x, and even a whopping 2000x. Imagine what your future microbiologist (possibly?) will learn when peering through this incredible instrument! I actually had a lesser quality microscope myself back in the day, and even though I never became a scientist, I absolutely loved learning what tiny objects (such as shed spider skins and insect husks) looked like under extreme magnification. This particular scope also offers an djustable binocular head and coarse and fine focus knobs, as well as 3 colored filters (which together help to enhance the quality of magnified images). Moreover, it’s durable (featuring an all-metal construction) and has built in (and adjustable) halogen lower illumination, along with 10 prepared slides. It’s the perfect device for anyone wanting to learn all about what it’s like to be a genuine lab based researcher.
Finally, if you suspect that your budding future scientist is most interested in the scientific field of chemistry, you might consider getting them the extremely cool Secret Formula Lab set. This STEM focused chemistry set comes with everything you could want to create you own home based chemistry lab. There’s the base station itself, a spill tray, a plunger, a cylinder, rubber grommets, a test tube holder and test tubes, vinyl tubes, a pipette, various valves and reservoirs, snap clips, pH strips, a flask, a beaker, a petri dish, a helpful book, and a few special ‘substances’ to help your household chemist to get started (i.e., calcium chloride, calcium hydroxide, and phenol red). Other than that, all your child needs are standard kitchen ingredients to have epic educational fun creating 40 of the coolest experiments around. Perfect for kids ages 8 and up, this set is safe, fun, educational, and the perfect stepping off point for any future chemist. What could be more exciting!
If none of the educational items discussed above speak to you or your child, fear not—there are many more great Science and Education based toys and gadgets currently available at Best Buy. Do your child a favour and investigate a few of them today!