September 7, 2007 ToyQuest and Mad Science have developed a new line of science-based toys designed to combine learning with play. The range consists of five different toys for children aged six and up including a Hydraulic Robotic Arm which is powered completely by water.
In promoting the need for science-based learning at a young age, the makers point out declining national test scores and America's well documented slide in rank (the US currently falls below 38 other countries in performance on science tests by some estimates). The aim of these toys is to engage the imagination of scientists of the future and capitalize on the fact that kids love science and discovery when it's positioned correctly.
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"This new line of Mad Science toys and activities gives kids something to get excited about," stated Josh Weichbrodt, ToyQuest Product Manager, "Curiosity, discovery, fun. When kids are having fun, they don't realize they are learning".
The robotic arm introduces kids to hydraulics in a fun and dynamic way that requires no batteries or external power source. By pumping the arm to generate energy it can then grab, move, lift and stack. It retails for US$29.99.
Other toys in the range include:
Dinosaur Curator Set - Taking a leaf from Jurassic Park, kids can return a dinosaur to its original state using bones and moulds kids to recreate the dinosaurs by adding a gel mix (US$14.99).
The Egg Drop Challenge - This is an exercise many of us no doubt undertook at school. Using over 80 reusable pieces kids can design and build a structure sturdy enough to protect an egg through a freefall and landing. This activity is designed to improve engineering and problem solving skills while learning about gravity and terminal velocity. (US$9.99).
Bubble Experiment Lab - Introduces kids to physics and chemistry through fun with bubbles. The Lab features a battery-powered fan and smoke generator which allow kids to create smoke filled bubbles, bubbles inside of bubbles, square bubbles and more (US$34.99).
Goo and Slime Maker - All kids love gross stuff so the is sure to be a hit. It’s based on the science of polymers and features a motorized mixing chamber and all the ingredients needed to create goo and slime (US$29.99).
Although the idea of scientific learning through toys is not new, it has to be said that these and other noteworthy science-related toys are a quite a bit slicker than the traditional electronics kit.