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Every budding scientist needs a microscope, right? I’ve been wanting to get one since Emma began Kindergarten, and even more so lately since I’ve noticed Emma’s definite interest in all things science. Signs? Her desire to handle and find out more about bugs, animals, and the nature around her; the blueprints she is making of a robot with the specific function of applying bandaids when needed; and the fact that she would rather read The Handbook of Nature Study and other science books hanging around our house than the fictional stories I have loaded our bookshelf with.
Of course, it was inevitable that I found myself browsing Amazon’s reviews in search of the perfect microscope!
Hours Days later, I just wasn’t able to find what I was looking for – something inexpensive that did its job and could hold up under a sometimes-careless 5-year-old’s attention. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that might be broken, and I really wanted it to be something Emma could use without supervision. But I didn’t find anything like that, so I gave up for awhile.
But guess what one of Learning Resources’ new 2014 products includes? THIS:
It’s called a Primary Science ViewScope and it just fits the bill for us! It’s inexpensive (currently $16.99 at Amazon), durable, and is a terrific “first microscope”. Read on to find out more!
First, this is what you’ll receive from Learning Resources when ordering a ViewScope:
– Microscope body – Detachable microscope (magnifier) – Clear specimen container with lid
One of my favorite features of the ViewScope is that the magnifier is able to be separated from the body. It’s very convenient for taking on nature walks and can be handled by little ones easily. Both my 5-year-old and my 3-year-old have used it. It also has held up well despite having been heavily tested by two young children with low levels of patience. ;-) It’s been dropped, the microscope removed from the body incorrectly, and the focus wheel has been turned too far, but it still works perfectly! I’m impressed!
But how does it work? The scope itself magnifies up to 20x and actually a cross between a microscope and a really powerful magnifier. The child turns the knob on the microscope slowly to focus the lens. Emma is able to do this herself with no trouble and her fascination with the new world of seeing tiny objects up close is a joy to behold. She spent the first day with the ViewScope wandering around the house trying to find “more things to see up close” – nothing was safe and my pantry was one of her favorite places to invade. Sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and any other spice I had was studied thoroughly and with much fascination.
I’m so happy I was able to get my camera to take these pictures through the microscope viewer! These are some of our results:
Our Final Thoughts: I think the Primary Science ViewScope fulfills its purpose perfectly – it reveals details not able to be seen with the naked eye in a kid-friendly package. It works well both attached to the base and detached from it, though we found that when detached it was most useful for close-ups of things that didn’t move around a lot (the moss on a tree, rocks, etc); for lighter things like leaves on a branch, you really have to hold the leaf steady (something you can’t do yourself while holding the scope in one hand and focusing with the other hand) or use the body of the microscope to get it in focus. Since it is light, small, and portable, it is able to used in ways a regular microscope is not, and the pros outweigh the cons without a doubt. Also, it’s been good for Emma to learn how to use it correctly (as you would do with any scientific instrument), and I really appreciate that she is able to “own it” – pull it out whenever she wants to without having to wait for mom’s help. Overall it has been a great “first microscope” and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it as an affordable nature study/science tool for young children. It has certainly been an asset in our homeschool!
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Thanks to the awesome people at Learning Resources, one winner will be chosen to receive a Primary Science ViewScope! Open to the US only.
Disclosure: My thanks to Learning Resources for providing the prizing for this giveaway and for sending me the Primary Science ViewScope so I could share my thoughts and experiences with my readers! The opinions I have given are honest and 100% my own. This post may contain affiliate links.