Encouraging Invention (page 7)
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!
Kids' Art Works! Creating With Color, Design, Texture &
Ages: 6 - 12 yrs.
Williamson Publishing, $12.95 (Paperback)
Budding artists explore texture, color, pattern and imagination through the more than 60 art projects in this creative book.
Hands-on Science: Get In Gear
Ages 6 & Up
By Sholly Fisch, Illustrated by Mark Oliver
Innovative Kids, $19.99
Guided by Doc Sprocket, a robot who lives in a junkyard, kids can build wacky gear contraptions directly on the pages, using real gears that are stored in a special tray at the back of the book. Once the gears and parts are in place, switch on the built-in motor and watch the gears move. Book Description
Kids Discover Magazine
Ages: 7 - 10 yrs.
Kids Discover, $26.95 (1-Year Subscription)
Dedicated to helping children aged 6 to 12 become lifelong learners, each issue investigates a single high-interest topic in science or social studies. The combination of dramatic color photography, high-impact illustrations, and informative kid-friendly text engages readers with compelling content. Product Description
Ask (Arts and Sciences for Kids)
Ages: 7 - 10 yrs.
Carus Publishing Company- Chicago, $23.95
ASK is about the real world, from dinosaurs to cathedrals, from distant stars to microbes. It's about why animal sleep, why people love music, and who deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphs. ASK helps kids understand how the world works and how discoveries are made--it challenges them to explore new ideas. Product Description
Nature's Art Box
Ages: 7 - 12 yrs.
Author: Laura Martin Illustrator: David Cain
Storey Publishing/Storey Kids, $16.95 (Paperback)
Whether it's a city park, a suburban backyard, a farmer's field, or the sandy seashore, there's a treasure trove of natural art materials out there. Twigs, vines, pinecones, flowers, leaves, rocks, shells, moss, feathers - they're all gifts of the earth. Add just a few inexpensive store-bought items, such as glue, string, and wire, and anyone can create beautiful, natural works of art. Book Description
Recycled Crafts Box
Ages: 7 - 12 yrs.
Author: Laura Martin Illustrator: Lisa Adams
Storey Publishing/Storey Kids, $10.95
Old blue jeans, worn out sweaters, plastic bubble wrap, grocery bags, and empty soda bottles all find new life with these creative projects. Each project features step-by-step illustrated instructions, and a full-color photo of the finished artwork. Plus you'll learn fun facts about rubbish throughout history, where our garbage goes, and read stories of artists who make beautiful things from junk. Product Description
Gizmos & Gadgets: Creating Science Contraptions That Work (&
Ages: 7 - 14 yrs.
Author: Jill Frankel Hauser Illustrator: Michael Kline
Williamson Publishing, $12.95
Using simple household items to create toys that spin, fling, collide, and whiz, kids will grasp the basics of concepts of gravity, inertia, balance, and energy. Every page is jam-packed (in age-appropriate vocabulary) with factoids, fun facts about famous inventors, and inspiration for science lovers of all ages.
Sculpey Creative Clay Deluxe Bucket
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Polyform Products, $25.00
This deluxe pack includes: (8) 1-oz. Bars of assorted colors of clay, (2) push molds, (6) clay cutters, modeling tools, clay roller and accessories. Package serves as storage.
Paper-Folding Fun! 50 Awesome Crafts to Weave, Twist &
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Ginger Johnson Illustrator: Betsy Day
Williamson Publishing, $12.95 (Hard Cover)
Fold, weave, twist, and curl paper, and transform it into books, origami, baskets, boxes, beads, weavings, mobiles, or pop-ups. The book starts with well-illustrated descriptions of supplies and techniques.
A Book of Artrageous Projects
Ages: 8 & Up
The ever-clever elves at Klutz have partnered with the Metropolitan Museum of Art staff to produce a hands-on art museum between book covers.
1000 Inventions and Discoveries
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Roger Francis Bridgman Illustrator: Peter Dennis
Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc., $24.99 (Hardcover)
Fascinating stories and vivid photographs and illustrations tell the tales of the developments in technology and natural science that have shaped our world. Profiles of the famous (and not-so-famous) men and women who have had "Eureka!" moments, a running timeline which puts the inventions and discoveries in historical context, and feature boxes highlighting key topics make this chronologically ordered volume a must-have for school and home learning. Book Description
Ages: 8 & Up
Jazwares Distribution, Inc., $14.99
Kids 8 and up get all materials needed to make lightning, a working battery, and a telegraph machine and to conduct other experiments related to electricity. Includes step-by-step instructions.
The Usborne Book of Art Projects (Art Ideas)
Ages: 10 & Up
Author: Fiona Watt
EDC Publishing/Usborne Books, $18.95 (Hard Cover)
This book is packed full of inspiring projects that use a variety of art materials to create exciting drawings, paintings, prints and collage. There are also lots of ideas for framing your pictures and making cards. You can follow the step-by-step instructions or use the ideas to create pictures of your own. Book Description
Ages: 12 - 18 yrs.
Jumby Bay Studios, $29.95
Dynamite. Velcro. Cellophane. The Post-it Note. Who came up with these wacky ideas? Accidental Inventions explores the origins of some of the most common and useful items in our world, all created in unlikely and unexpected ways. Using historical photos, 3-D graphics, maps, clips and interviews with experts, the DVD offers interesting mini-documentaries that will inspire, inform, encourage curiosity and prove that anything's possible - even when you least expect it.
Reprinted with the permission of the Parents' Choice Foundation. © Copyright 2012 Parents' Choice Foundation. All rights reserved.
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