Summer to me opens up the world of science exploration for kids especially around the natural world and I’m always on the look out for tools and equipment which will allow us to investigate further. Learning Resources/Educational Insights have released a new brand of science equipment – Nancy B’s Science Club – perfect for use at home especially in the summer and what’s more it’s working on one of the areas very close to my heart getting Girls interested in science – no not by focusing on “girly” science topics but instead changing the colours to be more appealing to girls – not pink but instead a pale green and purple which according to my son perfect for boys as well.
We’ve been trying out two of the Nancy B’s Science Club equipment – the underwater scope and the Moon Scope. These really attracted me as proper hands on science equipment for kids to use. Aimed at 8+ I’ve been using them with my almost 5 year old although not the accompanying journals instead devising our own observations with them.
The underwater scope
Our pond is one of J’s favourite spots and we spend a lot of time around the pond throughout the year and have been pond dipping on a number of occasions. Nancy B’S Science Club Aquascope (affiliate link) provided J with another way to observe the under water world – first off it’s really a nice size. I’ve used underwater scopes with my secondary school science classes in the past and they have always been small for use once you have pond dipped however this one is to be used in situ and it’s solid and large.
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Saying it’s solid though doesn’t mean it’s heavy – this was my one surprise it was lovely and light perfect for kids to hold and carry to where you want to observe. It needs 3 AAA batteries – but this gets you light via 3 LED’s at the end of the scope, really helping to view in our pond as it’s very shaded with trees at the moment and also covered in duck weed having the lights meant that we were able to see in the dark what was going on.
At first it took J some time to work on the focusing – probably not his fault more mine as I hadn’t read the instructions fully before he got so excited he had to head out to try it out – it needs you to twist and also move the focusing scope up and down to get the fine focusing needed. Once we had this worked out we were very excited to spot a froglet swimming away under the water.
The journal was great – from a science teachers perspective it asked lots of questions and got children recording in different ways as well as exploring in more detail.
We’re off rock pooling in a few weeks over the school summer holidays and we will be taking the underwater scope with us along to see what’s living under the water at the sea shore.
The moon scope
I’ve been looking for a telescope for the kids to use for a while – first off for the day time and then during the autumn and winter for star gazing and as they get older over the summer as well. This Nancy B’S Science Club Moonscope (affiliate link) is a perfect introductory telescope for the kids complete with an activity journal as well where kids can explore the phases of the moon as well as something that has been puzzling my kids for a couple of years – why is the moon out during the day, and stars it lets us start using at the preschool and kindergarten age and will extend to when they are early teens.
The moon scope is light weight – perfect for taking with you on a camp trip as it will strap to you back pack, comes with a tripod which also has a red LED light (needing 2 AAA batteries) meaning you can record your findings, check out some constellation cards you may have brought with you and complete the activity journal without producing light pollution.
We’ve been using it as a day telescope observing a wood pigeons nest in the trees behind our house – with 2 different magnifications included we’ve been able to observe the chicks in the tree and also look in more detail at the nest close up. The kit also comes with a moon filter which will help bring the detail of the moon into focus better (if only it wasn’t a new moon at the moment).
Again this is great to use with my kids (3 and almost 5) but again it’s something that will be able to be used well into their tweens.
Summer Science Tools
Both the Nancy B’s Science Club Aquascope and the Nancy B’s Science Club Moon Scope are excellent tools to add to your home and encourage science over the summer – they can be purchased direct from Learning Resources – or you can find them on Amazon.co.uk – Aquascope and Moonscope or from Amazon.com – Aquascope and Moonscope.