Primary Science™ Outdoor Discovery Set
The Primary Science Outdoor Discovery Set was a huge hit with my son. He has recently taken a liking to playing more outside with the summer weather upon us, so this fit naturally into his play. The Outdoor Discover Set comes with a number of items that will help you grow plants, water them, and check out bugs you may find in your garden. My son enjoyed putting dirt inside of the containers and filling it with some cat grass seed we had for our cat, but the real hit of the playset was the bug collection device. He had a blast picking up bugs with the grabber device and then placing them in the ladybug viewing jar. He would even sometimes throw in some grass to make sure it was more like their natural environment. He would check out the bugs, make some observations and comments to us, and then promptly want to release it back into the yard. We were able to check out a worm (pictured below) and a caterpillar during testing of the product. If you have a kid who loves the outdoors and maybe has shown an interest in gardening and/or bug life, this is a great little toyset to introduce them to the natural world in our backyards. The set retails for $29.99, but can be found cheaper on Amazon.com.
Primary Science™ Shining Stars Projector
The Primary Science Shining Star Projector was something that I was really excited for my son to play with. Having grown up with a healthy love of everything science, especially in regards to space, this projector seemed like the perfect introduction to get him some exposure to the awesomeness of outer space. The toy itself consists of a couple pieces; the base, three circular discs that have the images on them and fits into the base, and then the projector itself which can be held in one hand. After inserting batteries (not provided) you can turn the device on with a button on the back. This will illuminate the disc and push the image on it out to the wall you're directing the light onto. The room obviously needs to be dark to have the best picture, so nighttime in the bedroom was the time when we found this worked best. Each disc contains images of outer space ranging from the planets, sun, and asteroids to astronauts on spacewalks and the International Space Station. My son had a blast shining this onto the ceiling and having me talk about each individual slide. It's a really fun product, but the one downside is that the slides are finite. With 8 pictures on each slide, and 3 slides, you only have 24 pictures. My son never got tired of it though, but he is young. I can't speak to the older kids who may yearn for more. The Shining Stars Projector retails for $21.99.
Education Insights GeoSafari Jr. SubScope
The GeoSafari Jr. Subscope is a toy from Educational Insights that my son enjoyed playing with. We found the perfect place for him to use this, a water table in our backyard. There wasn't much for him to see under the water, but he still had fun playing with it as a toy and then using it to look at his other toys under the water. I could imagine if you took the kids to a stream or a lake that this would have a much higher fun factor as you look at marine life beneath the water's surface. The viewing under the water was neat, but my son really had a blast playing with it as a toy since it floats on top of the water in his water table. If you have a pool, a water table, or maybe take the kids to streams near your house, this little toy could be a lot of fun. It's also usable in the bathtub, of course, although viewing the bottom of the tub can only be so much fun - preferable for the outdoors. The SubScope retails for $27.99 but can be found cheaper on Amazon.