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

Solar Mechanics

Solar Mechanics

Spring 2012 Toys
Ages: 8 & Up
Price: $19.00

Green Science's Solar Mechanics kit contains materials and instructions for building a solar module which can be expanded and easily reconfigured into numerous sun-powered toys. The most amusing of these was an off-balance, vibrating robot; more impressive were the fan-based illusions. The solar module is a tricky build, requiring careful attention to detail, made all the more satisfying when mistakes are made, discovered, and corrected. The instructions suggest that a bright lamp will be sufficient to power the module, but in our experience only bright, direct sunlight gave good results; even a window screen or a passing cloud slowed the fan considerably. But the children enthusiastically put the motor through all its paces and then read up on how solar cells work - and any toy that leads kids to pursue more scientific knowledge and understanding is worth having.

Emily Crawford   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Look for this product at:
4M Industrial Development Limited

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