Best New Science Toys of 2012

Smithsonian Time Capsule

Timeless Toy for 2012

Holiday 2012 is almost here.  Believe it or not.  The kids and I spent the weekend prepping the Discover This warehouse for Holiday 2012 – opening boxes, straightening shelves, placing new items.  Natalie (8) even offered to pitch in by working on her Christmas list.  I love our company because “we sell things that are fun and teach you, but you don’t really know that you are learning” (from Natalie).  This has been a great year for new science kits and toys – and I thought that I would share my personal favorites.  To view the complete list, check out our 12 Best New Science Toys for 2012 article.

How much fun would your family have with a Smithsonian Time Capsule? Seriously, a time capsule that you bury in your back yard to dig up years later – maybe after college or when your grand children are born. The sheer premise is a ton of fun and a great family activity – particularly during the holidays when you are likely to have family and friends around to join the fun. The Time Capsule is the perfect opportunity to teach and engage your child in the concept of time and change.

The awards keep piling up for OWI Robotics’ Solar Transformers – between when Discover This named the toy to its 12 Best New in 2012 and today, the 7 in 1 solar vehicle kit has earned four additional awards (including 2012 Top Toy of the Year by Creative Child Magazine).  The vehicles are fast and fun, and the recharging station can keep them powered on a cloudy day.  We will definitely give this kit to our middle school and late elementary sons for Christmas this year.

Looking for another great family activity for the holidays – solve a real mystery with the Crime Catchers Spy Kit. Kids find this forensic science kit especially engaging because the kit combines interesting scientific discovery (DNA, fingerprints, etc.) with an engaging story line. Even my CSI (all locations) trained mother found this kit worthy of her keen eyes and crime drama tested sleuthing skills.

Give these special science kits for kids a try and let us know what you think.

You can read the full details and specifications on each exciting science kit here.

 

War Games, Terminator, and The Human Brain Project

Human Brain Project

Human Brain Project

Our children believe that within the world of computers and technology….anything is possible.  We have seen dramatic advances in computing and technology that have increased our connectivity and contributed to our quality of life.  Parents of my generation, however, can also remember when super computers developed a mean streak and ruled their creators in an effort to destroy mankind.  And who can’t still imitate Joshua from War Games? ”Would you like to play a game. . .”

Enter the Human Brain Project. . .  European scientists are teaming up to try to recreate the complete inner workings of the human brain using a super computer.  Can you imagine a super computer “brain” that can talk, experience, learn and interact in the way that humans do?  The only kink in the master plan is that the program requires over $1.3 billion in funding over the next 10 years and neuroscientists are at least a decade away from having the proper computer.  Some people really like to dream big.

If you think that the Human Brain Project is unbelievable science fiction, check out this unorthodox brain boost.  An Oxford University researcher is attempting to improve a child’s ability to learn math by stimulating a portion of the brain with electricity.  Using transcranial direct current stimulation, he hopes to encourage the responsiveness of neurons and make them more prone to engage in certain tasks.  There is some concern over the ethics of boosting a child’s brain power without the effort of learning, but if you are interested in the process for your child, evidently the researcher already has a line out the door.

How does all of this relate to my child?  Simple, in this era of so many “smart” devices, your child needs to develop an appreciation for how smart and special he or she really is.  Start with a simple brain diagram or scale model of the human brain.  Discuss the sections of the brain and what movements and thoughts that each brain section controls.  Help your children to think about their own thinking (metacognition). If they understand how their brains best process information, they will be able to have self-directed improvements in their own brain power. Talk about the diseases of the brain and how those diseases limit those movements and thoughts as well as the impacts of drugs and alcohol on body functions and decision making.  And finally, talk about bike helmets and other ways to keep the brain protected (and in our family, why it is critical to play sports safely).

Welcome From Our Family

Welcome to the Discover This blog.  We are a family owned company – and our passion for science and exploration starts at home.  Visit our blog for the best in exciting science experiments that you can perform with your family at home.  Looking for a great educational gift for a family member or friend – check out our product reviews.  Time for your school science fair – add to our growing list of great science fair ideas.  Thank you from our family to yours…

Alex, Erin, Will, Margaux, Luke, Alexander, Lauren and Natalie

Summer Vacation