April 17, 2006 The greatest gift you can give a child (other than unconditional love) is a good education. So we think the new all-in-one nature backpacks from Home Science Tools are a winning concept. The go-anywhere backpacks get children out into nature where they can become an insect-collecting entomologist, a rock hound, a bird watcher, a botanist, or just a nature observer. The series of six different kits range in price from US$60 to $90 and provide everything children need to explore and learn about the world around them, including quality, hands-on tools; field guides; and instructions for getting the most out of the kits. The (pictured) first-of-its-kind Young Naturalist's Kit facilitates catching and observing insects, identifying and pressing flowers, watching the habits of birds and small animals, and making a record of everything they see. The kit contains a sturdy backpack, three field guides (birds, insects and wildflowers), the Watching Nature book, a deluxe insect net, a pop-up insect habitat, compact binoculars, a magnifying glass, a plant press, collection bags, ruler, nature notebook, and instructions.
Home Science Tools is an online resource for parents, teachers and children interested in a complete array of science materials. Frank and Debbie Schaner started the business in 1994 with a commitment to provide the best tools for science education and to become a resource for home school parents seeking effective ways to teach science. They offer unique services, quality products, low prices, and prompt order shipment. With Frank's chemical engineering background and Debbie's registered nurse training, they bring the right set of skills to the business and also provide parent and children's workshops to promote science education. The company has expanded beyond the home school market to serve the broader science needs of parents and teachers throughout the country.
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Kids strap on the backpacks and can catch and observe insects with the deluxe net and pop-up insect habitat, collect and press flowers using the plant press and mounting kit, watch the habits of birds with the bird call and compact binoculars, collect and test rocks with the rock pick and mineral test pack, and learn about plants and animals with the various field guides.
"These backpack kits, available in time to take full advantage of summer, are the perfect gift for children who are curious about exploring nature," said Frank Schaner, president of Home Science Tools. "Parents and teachers are continually challenged to make science learning fun and creative, and that's what we've done with this series of nature backpacks. At Home Science Tools, our goal is to provide children with adult-quality tools that help ignite a lifelong appreciation of science."
In addition to helping make learning fun, researchers have long found that hands-on science programs help children remember and retain information, and children often feel a greater sense of accomplishment when the task is completed. Studies have shown that hands-on education has increased science learning and achievement, and has helped improve students' attitudes toward the subject.
"It's easy for kids to read books about wildflowers and birds, but you tap into an entirely new level of learning when you give kids the tools to actually go out into nature and explore plants and animals in their habitat," said Schaner. "Through hands-on discovery and experimentation, children develop their critical thinking skills and better understand and retain the information in a fun way."
The new Home Science Tools backpack series includes the following kits:
Young Naturalist's Backpack Kit
This introductory nature kit can be used to explore the backyard or park and is ideal for studying nature on hikes or on camping trips. With the widest outdoor appeal, this kit enables children to catch and observe insects, identify and press flowers, watch the habits of birds and small animals, and make a record of everything they see. Perfect for children 7-14 years old. US$90
Insect Collector's Backpack Kit
This advanced backpack kit includes field guides to identify more than 700 insects as well as the tools to collect and display captured bugs. This kit appeals to a wide range of children and young adults, from 8-18 years old. US$80
Botanist's Backpack Kit
Children can take this pack into nature to search for and identify various flowers and plants. It contains all the tools they need to discover the beautiful plant world, including field guides, a plant and flower press, and plant collection and mounting supplies. Ideal for children and young adults 7-18 years old. US$70
Rock Hound's Backpack Kit
Perfect for rock collectors, this kit includes all the essential tools for in-depth learning about rocks and minerals. Kids can collect rocks and minerals, test the samples to discover physical properties such as hardness and color streak, and then identify the samples based on their research. For ages 8-18. US$70
Bird Watcher's Backpack Kit (Eastern and Western versions)
This is a great kit for the urban family who wants to maximize what they can see in their backyard and beyond. Using materials from the kit, kids can attract, feed, observe, and identify a variety of birds. Targeted for children and young adults 8-18 years old. $59.95
The new nature backpacks can be ordered by visiting Home Science ToolsView gallery - 3 images