Did you know that the earliest microscopes were nicknamed “flea glasses?” That’s because this scientific tool was originally used to study small insects.
Now, microscopes are used to examine all sorts of small-scale life: patterns on a leopard’s coat, the composition of volcanic rocks, hair follicles, and even the cells of bacteria. The world is much more complex than what we can see with our eyes alone!
Educational Insights is here to help kids ages 5 and up understand the minutiae of life on our planet with its GeoSafari Jr. Kidscope. This STEM toy gives kids a personal pair of “flea glasses” to observe the makeup of animal skin, anatomy, crystals, and more while learning facts about each subject.
The 9-by-7-inch Kidscope is constructed with various accessible elements. It features a dual eyepiece, a slide dial, a rotating slide stage, a light button, a storage drawer for the 15 included slides, and a focus knob that adjusts the microscope’s head to move closer or farther from the slide stage. The dual eyepiece has a maximum 3x magnification, which would allow someone to see the head and shoulders of George Washington on a $1 bill. In this case, it allows kids to observe the images on each slide with the caption above the specimen still in sight.
Each slide features four images, ranging from insect wings and household items to fruits and bird feathers. To view the images under the microscope, kids attach the slide to the rotating stage and turn the disc to move through each image. The Kidscope also comes with a battery-operated LED light underneath the stage, which kids can press to get a better view of each specimen. Kids can turn the knob on the side of the Kidscope to observe details as close or as far away as they desire, whether they are studying the rings of an oak tree stump or getting up close and personal with slimy algae from a pond. Once they’re done, kids can store the slides in the drawer compartment behind the stage.
The Kidscope also comes with a science booklet that contains more than 200 facts about each specimen depicted on the slides to deepen kids’ scientific investigation and research. For example, the booklet details the ecosystem and blooming patterns of orchids, the formation of diamonds, the purpose of zebra stripes, the way stingrays search for food, and more. There are so many subjects for kids to explore!
Whether kids are still experiencing remote learning or seeking some supplemental science, the Kidscope is a great way to make STEM learning interactive and fun. The detailed explanation of each specimen will help reinforce their knowledge about biological subjects, while the slides give them a visible example of the subjects’ compositions to interact with, just like scientists do in real life. This microscope is a great introduction for helping kids understand one of the tools we use to observe the world around us, and how we use it!