Wee man and I recently had the pleasure of contributing to the Creative Steps Magazine toy awards http://creativesteps.co.uk/news/creative-play-awards-2018-winners-announced/ and we got to play with the Geo Safari JrTalking Microscope! Thanks so much for having us.
Here’s what we thought;
The product is robustly packaged and we were excited to discover what was inside. The outer packaging of the product is an accurate representation of the toy and resulting activities. It was pleasant to see/hear that Bindi Irwin is the voice for this product, which enabled us to discuss explorers and the types of things her family have been involved in with wildlife and knowledge and understanding of the world. The instructions were clear in order to set the product up quickly, though be mindful that batteries / nor trial batteries are included. This is not necessarily a toys to use independently, (it can be) but to make the most out of the product it’s good to have an adult around. The microscope allows children to attach slides under a light, there are then facts they can listen to or quiz questions to answer per image (there are 3 images per slide). The slides are a little tricky to click on, so children may require support here. Similarly, to make the most out of the facts and quiz, it’s good to have an adult around to extend the conversations, and answer the inquisitive questions the product elicits from children. There is a slide out tray underneath the microscope itself to store the slides, and here in lies an issue, not all slides fit in, or if they do, we couldn’t do it, which is a shame as there’s potential to lose these, and it means you can’t simply store the microscope on a desk top or shelf side, it does need a box. We thoroughly enjoyed using the product and the questions and conversations this provoked was great for learning. The timing of this review was particularly good as it was around the Big Biology Family day at Staffordshire University http://www.staffs.ac.uk/study/big_biology_day/ whereby my little boy looked in real microscopes etc.
This is a good gender neutral product to remind children how cool the world is, and can inspire a love of science and the world and sensitive period in development. In terms of purchasing the product I think this should come in a little cheaper, given the storage issues. Similarly I wonder for older children once they’ve made their way through the slides and can remember quiz answers/facts, it’s up to the adult to keep this product relevant (which could be short lived for some, but potentially longer for others). For my 6 year old boy, this was ‘super cool.’ From the adult perspective in terms of price and storage it just makes it fall short of a full 10/10 as an end result. Nevertheless, great to see gender neutral STEAM activities, nice touch to have a female voice, and elicit awe and wonder in the world, reminded children it is indeed cool!
If you’re interested in purchasing this for a gift for a STEAM mad child, the better place I have found this available as of posting is via https://www.brightminds.co.uk/products/geosafari-jr-talking-microscope (this is not a #CollaborationStation post, I’ve genuinely had a search for readers benefit and am not in partnership with Bright Minds – you’re welcome)