How many times have you made a trip to the museum or something similar and ended up in the toystore overwhelmed by all of the awesome education toys and books? This happens to me all the time. By the time I get to the Museum store I have spent a bunch of money on the tour and my kids are tired and whiney and the last thing I want to do is reward them with a new toy. So I leave, thinking I will look into the toys later, and later never happens.
I have now been introduced to the solution for this shopping drama. Museum Tour is an online store devoted to educational games, toys and books designed to educate as well as entertain.
The Museum Tour website and catalog is the brainchild of a former museum director. As a former educator and president of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, she recognized a need for enjoyable, easy to communicate teaching aides to assist parents in fulfilling their role as primary educators. After all, in every generation parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents have taken on the responsibility of insuring that the children become contributing members of society. But the training tools they used were found in the kitchen, garage, and farmyard. Today, to compete globally, we need modern props (that are rapidly changing) to assist our children’s learning. The Museum Tour website and annual catalog make it easy for adults to create enjoyable learning opportunities for children beyond the museum and science center walls.
Museum Tour sent me a couple of fun items to try out with my children. For my daughter Danica I requested the Enchantmints Ballerina Jewelry Box ($29.99). As a child I longed for a jewelry box like this with a ballerina that twirled around to music via a wind up in the back. I never had that jewelry box, but now my daughter does and the beam of her smile when I gave it to her was priceless. The box has a drawer in the front and back of the box on the bottom and two small drawers on either side and the top opens for storage and the ballerina dances in front of the mirror when opened. It is completely adorable. They also have a Unicorn and a Horse Jewelry box.
For my sons Kurtis and Keegan I instantly fell in love with the Anteater Bug Vacuum. ($19.99)
This baby anteater has an appetite for collecting all kinds of bugs. With the touch of a button, youngsters can quickly and safely gather up insects to observe in the anteaters’ removable belly chamber. After viewing the bugs, release them back into their habitats unharmed. Measures 13″. Takes 4 AA batteries.
When I was little, I didn’t have a bug vacuum. My sister and I had jars with lids and we would go around and trap the bugs in the jars. Our favorite was catching the bees as they fed on clovers. While my sister and I were never stung in this fun game of ours, a neighbor friend once was. I think using the Anteater Bug Vac will be a much safer option for my kids to satisfy their curiosities for insects. The removable chamber has a magnifying glass on it. Since it is extremely cold here in Northern MN right now there were no bugs to be found, but Kurtis had a great time sucking up a piece of paper we ripped off and viewing it under the magnifying glass.
I spent some time looking over the Museum Tour online site and I just can’t stress enough how easy to use it is. All of the toys, games and books are sorted by categories. Then, you can further sort those categories by age (Infancy | Pre-K | Grade K-1 | Grade 2-3 | Grade 4-5 | Grade 6-8 | High School | Adult). This makes it so easy to narrow down the hundreds of fun items into one that will be appropriate for whoever you are shopping for.
There is such a variety of items from the very simple such as utensils for small children, to sports items, math, and paleontology just to name a few.
A couple of my favorites were the Wondermaze ($49.99), which is similar to a larger display we have in our local childrens museum, the Duct Tape Book ($14.95) which I will be ordering for my 10 year old nephew, and the Candy Chemistry ($36.99) kit which would be fun for just about anybody age 10 and older.
Visit MuseumTour.com to find all of these great products and so many more.
One lucky reader will win a $30 gift certificate code for MuseumTour.com
Disclosure: I received samples for purpose of this review however all thoughts remain my own.