The New York Times – featured Be Amazing! Toys in its December 25, 2012 article on the power of science kits to inspire future scientists.
But even at the goo-making end of the retail spectrum, toy company executives make good arguments for the educational value of their products. At Be Amazing! Toys, top sellers include Insta-Snow, Cool Slime (“Just mix the two liquids together and you’ve got perfect slime every time”) and the Geyser Tube, which is a package of Mentos and a tube to funnel them into a soda bottle. Some kits cost under $5.
“We look at ourselves as, ‘Here’s a great way to introduce your child to the world of science and make it interesting, not boring,’ ” said Reneé Whitney, a vice president at Be Amazing! Toys. “Once they’ve had the ‘wow effect,’ we try to explain why it happened.”
Snobs may scoff, but the experiments are quick and foolproof and can be done (whew!) without a grown-up. Science lessons are spoon-fed along with the fun: Kits like Growing Gators, which comes with miniature alligators and cards to track their growth, ask children to measure their experiments and hypothesize about what might happen, Ms. Whitney said. That sugary-looking “Water Gel” that turns water into a solid? The kit explains that it’s the same stuff found in baby diapers, and encourages children to cut open a dry diaper and see how much powder it has.
“We’re trying to teach them to think like scientists,” Ms. Whitney said.
Whether a future generation of scientists will look back fondly on their days of dropping candies through the Geyser Tube into Diet Coke remains to be seen. But it does seem that each generation grows up with a science toy that inspires in a particular way.
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