Solar MechanicsSpring 2012 Toys
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.