Encouraging Invention (page 2)
Since 1978, Parents' Choice has championed the search for products that sharpen young minds, not blunt them. From bookshelves to kitchen tables or playroom floors, the following suggestions will help awaken imaginations, cheer on creativity and instigate exploration.
So You Want to Be an
Ages: All Ages
Author: Judith St. George Illustrator: David Small
Publisher: Penguin Putnam Inc., $16.99
This is just the book for kids who like "to tinker with machines that clink and clank, levers that pull, bells that ring, cogs that grind, switches that turn on and off, wires that vibrate, dials that spin." etc "If you want to be an inventor, find a need and fill it," says author St. George. The author lists necessary attributes of an inventor: be a dreamer; keep your eyes open; "be stubborn as a bulldog", don't mind being laughed at. More than three dozen inventors have been well chosen as examples of the various attributes useful to a would-be inventor.
Imagibricks Giant Building Blocks 40-Piece Set
Ages: 2 - 6 yrs.
Imagiplay, Inc., $32.99
Constructive play begins with the kind of large corrugated cardboard blocks beloved by generations of children. They are light enough even for toddlers to carry and stack, big enough to show quick results, and strong enough to stand or sit on.
101 Rhythm Instrument Activities :
for Young Children
Ages: 2 - 6 yrs.
Author: Abigail Flesch Connors Illustrator: Deborah Wright
Gryphon House, Inc., $14.95 (Hardcover)
The perfect book to introduce rhythm instruments to young children. The activities bring music into the home or classroom and offer ways for children to participate in the music experience, using rhythm sticks, sand blocks, bells, shakers, and more! Plus, they learn to play the instruments along with their favorite songs. Book Description
Superstructs Construction Set: Starter Set
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
WABA Fun, LLC, $29.95
The Superstructs™ Starter Set is designed to build big rolling fun! The set includes illustrated, step-by-step plans to create a tractor, dragster, dune buggy, or monster truck. Or use your imagination - and the Superstructs building system pieces - to build other great creations! Product Description
Science is Simple: Over 250 Activities for Preschoolers
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Artist: Peggy Ashbrook Illustrator: Marie Ferrante-Doyle
Gryphon House, Inc., $16.95
Science Is Simple encourages children to experience our world fully, and gives teachers learning objectives, items for discovery, related books and follow-up activities. This comprehensive resource will help you teach simple science concepts -- simply! Book Description
Ages: 5 - 10 yrs.
PlastWood Corporation, $79.99
Connect magnetic rods in two lengths (one inch and one-half inch) with metal balls to make constructions strong enough to build outward on a refrigerator. 244 is the total number of rods and balls.
Ages: 5 - 11 yrs.
Inspiration Software, Inc., $69.00 (Windows/ MAC)
This software is essentially a hands-on, visual, brainstorming and outlining workshop for comprehending and writing assignments, or for just exploring topics. In practical terms, it's an enriching tool for everything from planning research projects to recognizing connectivity of ideas and subjects. Using the mind-mapping webs that create and connect concepts, kids can learn better to synthesize, analyze and evaluate. Sorting, categorizing, organizing and rethinking are the mental muscles the program builds as ideas are wrung-out, reworked, kneaded and raised, and finally translated into a more comprehensive written form, such as a journal, report or project.
Strange Attractors Starter Kit
Ages: 5 - 12 yrs.
Design Science Toys, $39.95
The set consists of magnets in the shape of rods that can cling to steel balls. By experimenting with different shapes and joining techniques, many different structures can be built. With magnet rods of varying lengths, this kit can be used to explore geometry as well as the way many different materials fit together at an atomic scale. A detailed instruction book is included.
Atollo a240 Flexible Building Kit
Ages: 5 & Up
ATOLLO Systems USA, $25.99
Each Atollo kit contains enough pieces to build the model illustrated. (And to get you started instructions to show you how). But what else you do with those pieces is down to your imagination. Models will have poseable joints, so you can move and flex them just as you like! Product Description
Kidz Labs/Super Magnet
Ages: 5 & Up
4M Industrial Development Limited, $9.90
Two extremely powerful bar magnets transform into different gadgets that combine the science of magnetism with the fun of magnetic games. With the accessories included, two children can conduct a car race on a tabletop maze and a yacht race in water, play a fishing game, make magnetic sculptures, and even check their cereal for iron content! Well-illustrated five-page folder clarifies everything.
Ages: 5 & Up
Made By Hands, Inc., $18.95
Somehow we as parents have forgotten that toys don't have to beep, talk to us or do all the work. This inventive, uncomplicated and imaginative kit includes simple, durable elements: a game board with two blank sides, a blank spinner, a blank deck of cards, pop out shapes, three blank dice of different sizes and a glue stick - enough pieces and supplies to create two games; it even has a carrying case. A thought provoking and innovative way to play and learn.
Music Ace Deluxe
Ages: 5 yrs. & Up
Harmonic Vision Inc., $50.00 (Windows 98 & Up/Mac OS)
What sets Music Ace apart from other programs is its delivery. Simply put, it's much hipper and funnier than most other music learning programs. Our music students had a blast with this program. The lessons are nothing new - and they shouldn't be - no need to reinvent the wheel. The "Maestro" guides you through the program with great aplomb. The smiling, frowning, singing and dancing noteheads are flat out hysterical. Kudos to Harmonic Vision for coming up with a fresh package for this material!
Reprinted with the permission of the Parents' Choice Foundation. © Copyright 2012 Parents' Choice Foundation. All rights reserved.
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