Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Green Science: Windmill Generator

Green Science: Windmill Generator

Spring 2008 Toys
Ages: 8 & Up
Price: $11.99
Review:
In building a small wind-powered generator, youngsters learn about renewable energy sources and how energy can be harnessed from the wind. It is a miniature, working model of the gargantuan windmills that are becoming increasingly common on the US landscape. We have seen windmills while traveling and we have talked about how they work, but this toy really brought it home. They can hold it in the wind and see the work that is done. And as most kids are aware of the high environmental and economic cost of energy, it is easy for them to see this as at least a partial solution. This product is more a demonstration model than a toy for play. After assembly, we took it outside and tried it out in the March wind. When that didn't work, we got out the portable fan and got it working. We tested it at all speeds, oscillating and stationary. We even tried it in the dark so we could experience the bright red LED glow. In the experiment, young builders observe that it takes a fair amount of wind to turn the rotor fast enough to light the small LED lamp. They may also conclude that wind power may not be suitable for all places or energy needs. This is truly a "green" toy; it uses an empty bottle no longer fit for its intended use, it has an obvious benefit of generating electricity, and it produces no waste. The kit includes an instruction booklet and materials necessary to build the generator.
Ellie and Don Homce   ©2008 Parents' Choice
Don and Ellie Homce are the parents of two sons. Ellie is a former chemistry and physical science teacher and trainer in the hazardous materials field. Currently a professional volunteer at local schools and a thrift shop, Ellie continues to pursue her interests in art. Don is a health and safety and environmental science professional who enjoys building and fixing things. He has been a Boy Scout Leader for the past ten years.

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