Toys that make learning fun are a penchant of parents and teachers, and kids have access to more than your standard chemistry kit nowadays. ToyNews rounds up the newest science and education toys.

SECTOR GUIDE: Science and Education

Trends UK – 01295 768 078

Trends continues to go from strength to strength with its range of licensed, educational science toys. Plus it’s extending its own offer under the ‘Trends’ umbrella for 2013.

The company has partnered with Discovery Channel to launch a new range under the ‘Discovery – Explore Your World’ banner.

Explore Your World by Discovery Channel is a ‘real world’ entertainment brand for kids. The product line will inspire kids to explore the world and satisfy their curiosity through a range of real-world related products.

Core stock items have now arrived for launch, with one eye firmly on Christmas 2013 for two new and TV advertised lines. The Thermo Trakker Night Goggles and Ultrasonic Detector bring new technologies to the forefront and will inspire a whole new generation of outdoor fun for boys.

Trends also continues with its long association with the Haynes brand and, as a result of the success of The Haynes Build Your Own Combustion Engine, 2013 sees the launch of a new V8 engine. The line has been in development for over two years and the end result is a fully working model that is constructed from 200+ parts.
2013 also sees an extension of the ‘Trends’ science and educational offer with the introduction of new products: Froth, Slop & Pop, Crystal Kit, Rocket Science, Live Wire, and Air Powered Car. These complement the success of best-selling lines Chemistry Lab and Explorer Globe.

Trends says it is focusing on all areas of toy and gift, and looks forward to a successful year with all of its retail partners.

Great Gizmos – 01293 543 221

Great Gizmos will add some absolutely electrifying new projects to its 4M range this year that it says will appeal to every budding scientist.

Continuing to prove that Great Gizmos loves being green, environmentally-friendly machines can be built with the new Green Science Salt Water Power Robot. This uses a single drop of salt water to power the self-assembly robot across the floor.

For electrifying fun, the Static Science kit uses static electricity to create mind-blowing tricks and allows children to make salt jump, balloons float and even bend electrical bolts through water.

Ideal for nature lovers, the Grow-A-Maze project allows children to design and build their own amazing maze and watch it come to life.

Perfect as a science project, kids can follow the lifecycle of a plant and watch as a seedling winds its way through the maze trying to reach the light source at the top.

Great Gizmos’ Science Museum range also boasts a selection of projects that explore the world of science and technology. The Buzz Wire kit will put kids’ skills to the test with the use of a simple wire circuit, which, once assembled, will emit a shocking sound when touched. For other circuit kits, there’s the Top Secret Intruder Alarm – fit to any door and all intruders will be detected.

For pocket money scientific treats, the 4M Micro Rocket will blast off with the help of vinegar and baking powder, while the Lemon Clock turns an everyday fruit into a clock with the aid of electrodes. Add to these other mini science kits such as the Diving Submarines and Tornado Maker, and a host of scientific experiments can be collected.

With POS and strong PR support, the kits are ideal for those fascinated by gadgets and gizmos.

DKL – 01604 678 786

The popularity of Miniland toys continues to grow.

Miniland’s Science range covers Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The Crystal growing kits come in four different colours and include all the tools needed for children to play the part of mad scientist, whereas the Robot sets make working models including a moving bird and bubble blower.

The Physics and Electric Combination kits have a host of experiments to entertain. Each kit comes packaged in a unique metal tin for easy storage – also available as a FSDU which can make a great feature display.

The extensive range of Aptitude sets Miniland offers are also perfectly suited for home learning.

Available as hanging boxes, tubs or on a quality metal stand, the Aptitude sets come in 12 key lines ideal for children aged three years plus.

The range puts fun into learning, offering sets such as Sewing Alphabets, Lacing Shapes, Activity Clock, Nuts and Bolts, Magnetic Letters and Numbers and so much more. Each set comes with an activity booklet featuring games and sequences to maximise play and learning.

Miniland is supported by an in-store programme, high-profile marketing campaign and dedicated planograms.

Brainstorm Toys – 01200 445 113

Aqua Dragons are real live aquatic creatures that kids can hatch and grow at home. The scientific name of these animals is Artemia Salina, and they have been living in the sea and in salty lakes on the Earth for millions of years, including while dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

They are live aquatic beings from the crustacea family and have an amazing capacity called cryptobiosis, which means they can be dried and stay alive, only to hatch many years later. Each Aqua Dragon has three eyes and a set of two fins which work like gills to breathe and eat with, as well as guide their swimming in the water.

The product is available in three styles: Underwater World, Deluxe Kit with LED lights and Backer Card. Further TV campaigns are now being planned throughout the year.

Kids can bring the amazing natural light show of the Northern and Southern Lights into their own home with the Aurora Projector. This uses multi-colour LEDs in seven light modes to display moving Aurora lights onto the walls and ceiling of a darkened room.

Children’s friends will be amazed when they balance The New Incredible Balancing Pteranodon on the tip of their finger. The pocket-money Pteranodon appears to defy gravity but is easy to balance practically anywhere.

Also new is the horseshoe-shaped Massive Magnet, with separate North and South poles and loads of lifting power. With the fun Jungle Friends Musical Toothbrushes, children can dance along to music while they brush their teeth.

Jumbo Games – 01707 289 289

Smart Games are single-player brainteaser games that have a minimum of 48 to 101 challenges depending on the game.

New for 2013 is the travel game Busy Bugs. Hidden in the dirt and under the rocks lay the busy bugs – can you find out where their hideouts are? Busy Bugs includes 48 challenges and four levels of difficulty using magnetic tiles and a challenge booklet.

In Travel Noah’s Ark, Noah needs to get all the pairs of animals on board his ship before the rain comes. Place the animals side by side, in pairs, using the magnetic tiles and challenge booklet. There are 48 challenges and four levels of difficulty.

The IQ Range contains three games. These include the number one selling Smart Games IQ Puzzler as well as IQ Fit and IQ Twist.

The IQ games are designed to help develop logical thinking and spatial awareness skills, while being portable and compact. There 101 challenges for children to enjoy with each game.

The Smart Games are priced at £9.99 each.

Marbel – 0845 6000 285

Marbel stocks the EIN-O Science and Trixy and Troy ranges, both offering educational toys for kids of all ages.
EIN-O Science kits offer kids a chance to awaken their inner scientist and explore scientific principles.

Professor EIN-O leads children into the magnificent world of science through interesting and exciting science experiments.

With themes ranging from amazing outer space discoveries, fierce volcanic eruptions and green energy, EIN-O Science aims to satisfy the curiosity of every budding young scientist at home.

The Mini Labs (£2.99) offer an introduction into science with a choice of six fun experiments: Illusion Disc, Friction Racer, Blade Zipper, Air Hovercraft, Ball Levatron and Downhill Wobbler.

The more comprehensive Science Wizard kit (£22.49) features 12 amazing magic tricks all based on simple science.

Amaze friends and family by makings things disappear, learning how to ‘read minds’, changing visions and more for a mystical experience.

The Trixy and Troy learning kits are a great way of introducing children to early learning skills in a fun and creative way.

The Dinosaur Days kit (£4.99) comes with a self-assembly learning book and jigsaw puzzle that teaches kids all about the exciting world of dinosaurs.

The Wonderful World interactive kit (£9.99) contains a learning book, a sketch poster and a paper craft teaching kids about the world’s continents and different places.

Children can create a 3D globe and learn various country names.

Flair – 020 8643 0320

For a really wild adventure the active explorer can get up close and personal with all sorts of mini bugs and beasties thanks to Flair’s Backyard Safari collection.

Whether their safari takes place in the park, on the beach, or even in their own back garden, young explorers will be geared up and ready for action with the gadgets and gizmos that this range offers.

There’s a Scoop Net for the capture and release of critters, a 3-in-1 Compass with flip-out magnifier and Morse Code signalling light, and a Lighted Field Scope for close-up examination of creepy crawlies.

The Bug Vacuum gently sucks up insects into the Capture Core which can be removed to release bugs back into the wild, or directly into the Lighted Land and Water Habitat which can accommodate land or water dwelling critters.

The range has also benefitted from a comprehensive PR campaign this spring with schools taking part in a national bug hunting survey, using some products from the Backyard Safari range.

Interplay – 01628 488 944

The My Living World collection has a new look for 2013. Endorsed by TV nature specialist and wildlife authority Nick Baker, My Living World is packed full of supplies and equipment, with each kit including everything required to learn about the fascinating creatures found in gardens, parks and fields, plus a guide written by Nick himself.

Kids can now discover the secret world of even more interesting insects, as Ladybird World, Snail World and Spider World join the collection. Prices range from £9.99 to £14.99.

Wild Science for Girls sees the £12.99 price held for the fifth year. The range is bolstered with Magic Nail Lab. The kit is set be as popular as hero lines Perfume Lab, Bath Bomb Factory and Luxury Soap Science. The existing Wild Science for Boys includes Weird Slime Laboratory.

The Rivetz range uses a patented Rivetz Gun to snap and fix pieces of decorated pre-cut card together. Create 3D models of a Dragon, Giant Hornet, Racer, plus two new kits for 2013.

Halilit – 01254 872 454

Children from as young as three can enjoy building their own scientific equipment with the ingenious Interstar Science Optics Young Explorers Kit – and then use the equipment to explore the world around them.

The boxed set features real optical lenses and includes everything required to make a working telescope, magnifying glass and binoculars at the same time.

The set also includes a colourful 12-page educational booklet that explains all about how lenses work and suggests experiments.

The Interstar range from Halilit has been extended with the recent launch of four brand new themed sets, each of which can be used separately or mixed and matched, as all the Interstar pieces interconnect.

All the new sets are suitable from the age of three-plus, and the informative colour-themed packaging, with each box containing a minimum of 48 pieces, clearly shows the choice available: Kingdoms, Racers, Safari and Space.

John Crane – 01604 774 949

John Crane has a whole host of different fun toys which are packed with educational value.
Keep in touch with Alphaberry from B. Children can learn their ABCs with their very own PDA.

Push any button and the letter is displayed and read aloud.

There is also an auto-off feature and volume control, as well as a feature to enable children to toggle between four musical styles of the alphabet song. There is also a wheel that children can turn for three different screen colours.

Children can see the world from the comfort of their homes with Global Glowball. They can push any continent to hear cultural music.

If they press it again, a different song is played, and if they push a different continent, they will travel somewhere new.

Parents can also switch on the ‘lights only’ mode and turn the globe into a night light.

Asobi – 01628 200 077

Seedling is one of Asobi’s most significant brands – the innovative craft kits took the UK by storm last year.

Seedling is a New Zealand-born brand on a mission to inspire the minds and ignite the imagination of little ones.

Seedling has a vast range of craft kits that appeal to a huge range of interests.

Among the kits are a collection of science and nature products which will help bring out the scientist and explorer in everyone.

Whether children want to build their own erupting volcano, observe their very own nature habitat or be the proud owner of a worm farm, Asobi says that Seedling has the tools that make their dreams a reality.
You can download Asobi’s catalogue app for free from iTunes or Google Play.

Revell – 01442 890 285

The natural world is laid bare for budding scientists with the X-ray range from Revell.

From the human digestive system to an animal’s internal organs, X-ray anatomy models provide a fascinating insight into the human and animal anatomy. The anatomical structure of bones and organs are visible as if viewed through an X-ray screen, making these real life models both educational and frighteningly good fun.
X-ray anatomy models are suitable for model fans of all ages, with intricate pre-painted individual parts
that simply snap together and can be easily taken apart again.

No glue is required to make the sets, while the models have an affordable price point, too.

X-ray Human Anatomy is priced from £14.99, while X-ray Animal is £26.99. The current spine-tingling X-ray range includes Dog, Giraffe, Crocodile, Tarantula (pictured), Horse, Human Anatomy and Skeleton.

Inspiration Works – 01727 827 194

InspirationWorks teamed up with hit online social world Bin Weevils at the end of last year, and this summer will see the firm launch two science kits based around the Bin Weevils characters and the online world.

Lab’s Slimey Slime Lab allows children aged ten and over to make their own slippery and slimy Bin Weevils characters.

Kids can create ghastly and gooey effects and super slimes, while exploring the cool science of hydrated crystals, cross-linked polymers and ion diffusion and gels.

Alternatively, kids can produce frosty effects and crystallise their own Bin Weevils with Lab’s Lab Ice Crystal Kit. While creating creepy ice-like figures and strange creatures, kids aged ten plus will be finding out about the science of supersaturation, capillary actions, crystallisation, and chromatography.

Both kits contain materials that can be used again for extended play, along with a colour instruction booklet.

Also available

John Adams is introducing three kits into its science portfolio: Eyeball Dissection, Zombie Hand and Beating Heart; Thames and Kosmos has added 20 new kits to its range including electronic kits and a Kids First range; the Tag Solar System Adventure Map from LeapFrog allows kids to explore the solar system across a three-feet map; the My World range of puzzles and games from Gibsons Games is designed in conjunction with child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer; Baa Baa is a colour matching game from Orchard Toys which encourages colour recognition; Bigjigs’ Learn to Write board helps little ones learn about the shape and construction of letters; Haba’s Terra Kids Experimental Boxes help
children learn the art of wind power and more; Schleich’s Farm Life and Wild Life figures and play-sets provide an early introduction to the world of nature; ZooBooKoo’s Word Searcher card games (£7.99) scored near-perfect marks in the Good Toy Guide; The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys are the original instant live pet brand from Peterkin; Science and nature enthusiasts will love Playmobil’s Dinosaurs range; The Navir range of educational and scientific fun products are distributed in the UK by Brookite; Elemental Publishing has turned the elemental properties into a series of games; Wild Card Games offers a great range of educational travel-sized games for geography, maths and science; The Cash Register is a new addition to the Honeybake range from Le Toy Van; EcoToys is returning to the UK market with a new approach, courtesy of Kids International Marketing; the Great Explorations ‘Glow in the Dark’ range from University Games introduces the science of our solar system.

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