Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Spring 2016 Toys
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Ravensburger
Price: $44.99

The SmartScope is a microscope that allows children to view magnified objects through their smart device (e.g., phone, tablet, etc.). The kit includes pieces to build the SmartScope (including a screwdriver and screws!) and a variety of tools for collecting and examining specimens: tweezers, petri dish, pipette, object holder, cover plates, tablet support, storage/carrying pouch, and a 33"x23" poster with ideas for observations. The scope itself features two magnification levels and a removable light source.

The scope was easy to build; it took approximately ten minutes, but may take less time without help from little hands. The fully-illustrated instructions are easy-to-follow and include suggestions and descriptions of potential specimens (e.g., ants, leaves, pine needles, feathers, seaweed, salt, magazine pictures, etc.). There's even include a caveat to use only already-dead specimens.

The SmartScope gets children excited about microscopy as well as nature as they explore various environments to find specimens to examine. This innovative blending of screen and real world, introduces a variety of scientific topics, vocabulary, and observation techniques. Bottom line? It prompts a lot of questions, discovery and the fun of learning something new.

Sharon Heuscher   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Sharon holds B.A.s in English Literature and Ancient Studies as well as a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently a masters-level trainee in Clinical Psychology specializing in neurodegenerative diseases. For the past thirteen years, Sharon has focused primarily on raising, educating, and nurturing her five children who range in age from three to thirteen.

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