You may remember a few weeks ago, we had a great time hunting for creepy crawlies and seeing them close up in the fun but educational Bug Barn. Well, our exploration of the miniature world has been continuing this week as we've been trying out the Discovery Channel 100x microscope set.
You're never too young to get interested in science, apparently ! Despite the 8+ age on the box, I was surprised to see that 5-year-old Pierre was fascinated too, and took turns along with big sister Juliette. Once I'd explained it all to him, he actually did really well.
Even Madhouse Daddy joined in the fun, showing that kids (and even big kids !) of all ages and both sexes find it an equally fascinating piece of equipment to play with.
I had a microscope set when I was little and I always thought it was fascinating, looking at tiny things that were barey visible to the naked eye and seeing them in all their magnified glory.
The box contains 36 pieces. The most important one is the microscope itself, which has three different magnifications (25x, 50x and 100x). It also has a variety of tools to make you feel like a proper little scientist - stirring rod, tweezers, two specimen vials, magnifying glass, pipette, ... - as well as 11 slides.
Eight of the slides are blank, allowing you to create your own temporary or permanent slides to examine (we had a look at a piece of dog fur, a blade of grass and a grain of rice, to begin with). I was impressed to see that, to start you off, it also comes complete with three pre-prepared slides, showing fern root, wool and oleaster.
The microscope needs 2 x AA batteries which confused me at first, but it's because it has an electric illuminator (using a bulb and a mirror), along with a choice of colours by twisting a dial at the bottom. There is a spare bulb in the box for when it needs replacing too.
For the price (RRP £19.99 but available on amazon for just £11), I think it's very good value. It's made of plastic and is probably not as high spec as a proper, grown-up (and much more expensive) microscope, but as a first introduction to the fascinating world of science and microscopes, it's brilliant. Juliette and Pierre have proved that kids of both sexes and all ages are fascinated by it, and even much older kids and grown-ups can't resist having a look, and finding things to look at, too. All I keep hearing lately is "oooh can we look at that under the microscope?" - I did say no when I'd just cleaned out Pierre's ears with a cotton bud and he was looking at the offending article with a gleam in his eye, but I bet I won't be able to put him off for long. Getting grossed out is the most enjoyable part of the whole scientific experience apparently !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £19.99
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.