Red has this great microscope that we bought him last year. There’s so many reasons I like having one, and why I love ours, which is the Carson Microbrite. I thought I’d give you a quick run down.
1. It’s portable
I can easily slip this in my pocket if we’re going out for a walk. It’s sturdy and not much bigger than my phone. I don’t do this if we’re walking somewhere and have a deadline to get there! Sometimes if I need to keep the walk short we collect things to bring home and look at them under the microscope then. But there’s something great about dawdling along and stopping to check something out in more detail. The boys are big fans of pulling up leaves or dandelions, but we’re currently discussing the life cycle of plants and the fact that pulling a leaf or a flower out of the ground means it can’t grow any more. A great solution for Red is to examine in situ, without impacting the plant (a great life lesson in general!)
2. It’s cheap
This microscope comes in at just under $12 on Amazon, last time I checked. I think it’s technical abilities stand up pretty well against the price point. We’re careful with it, and talk about not dropping it when we’re out and about, but I know that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if it broke. And I’ve seen it get enough use in the past year that I would definitely buy another if that happened.
3. Everyone slows down when we use it
I love that we change pace when Red knows this is in my pocket. Sometimes we spot it as we’re leaving the house and decide to take it with us. Sometimes we plan to go on a walk and find things to look at. Either way, it’s a decidedly different kind of walk when we take it along. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll know that this slowing down and being mindful of what’s around us, taking in the outdoors experience rather than just using it to get from A to B, is a big part of why I love taking my boys outside. This is a fantastic tool that helps us do that.
4. Extension activities at home
While I’m not the world’s best at identifying plants or animals (I’m going to blame this on not being a local, but to be honest, I think I’d have a hard time in Scotland, too!) I love taking items or photos home and finding out more about them. I think it’s really important for the boys to see that I don’t have all the answers, but that we can learn about things together. Where possible I love to get them using their brains and making some guesses about what we might have found before we look it up on the internet.
On our recent trip back to Scotland, Grandpa showed Red his telescope, which he thought was ‘a giant microscope’! Having spent some time working on focusing the microscope, he thankfully had some patience as they looked out into the night(ish!) sky.
If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer, or gift for a kid in this preschool/early elementary age range, I can’t recommend one of these highly enough!