“ Manufacturer: Backyard Safari / Type: Science „
* Prices may differ from that shown
My son was quite desperate for this, having seen advertised on the package of another Backyard Safari toy. . I ended up buying two, one for each boy they are currently selling for £4.99 from Amazon.
The main point of buying this toy is the compass. There are however a few extras. There is a small fold out magnifying glass. This isn't very high powered magnifying glass, but I wasn't expecting it to be. There is a small red light which is meant to be used to signal with Morse code. The inside of the lid flips open to reveal a sticker with the dots and dashes for Morse code. There was a small booklet with this as well. The compass unit has a nice sturdy carabiner clip attached to a string which allows the child carry this clipped to a belt and pull it out for use. When they are done they let go and the string automatically retracts. This has ended up being my sons favourite part of the toy. Finally there is an explorer patch.
Both of my boys do honestly like this, but it really is not the standard of quality I expected from this company. My first issue is the compass. We have two of these and neither worked. I'm lucky enough to own an exceptionally powerful magnet and I was able to slightly magnetise the needle by repeatedly sliding the magnet in the same direction over the needle. This lines up all the electron thingies and makes a weak magnet, but it can be undone by shaking or dropping. I really do not see any point in having a toy compass that does not work, and a compass is such a simple item I just don't see why they couldn't get this right.
My next issue is the Morse Code signal light. As it happened my sons had just visited a restored military base/ museum and spent some time with a wonderful retired gentleman who is ex-army himself. He was kind enough to help them learn Morse Code, and allow them to use a Morse Code transmitter so the boys were quite excited by this, and they do enjoy it. However, the light is so incredibly dim you need to sit in a darkened room to see it, and even in after dark outside I wouldn't expect to see this more then 10 - 15 feet away. Again, I was not expecting something which could be used in a real emergency but I do feel that a light as good as very dim torch, or even some of the McDonald's Happy meal light up toys we have had would have been fair.
Finally, there is the badge. This is embroidered and meant to be sewn on cloth, I'm guessing it is about 1 1/2" across because the children have stolen my measuring tape again. This reads Expedition One in the field. It has a picture of a compass on the front. I home educate my boys and we do "badge work" very much like a scout troop. The boys earn badges to display on a flag by completing a set number of activities. For this badge, I had planned to have them transmit and decode a message via Morse code ( I'll be helping the youngest) and find a hidden treasure using a compass and a map. I'll still do this. But will have to sit a few feet apart for the message or use another light and without my magnet, the compass wouldn't have worked at all.
My sons give this four stars, they like it despite its faults. I would give it two. I think it was poor value for money, even at only £4.99 each from Amazon. I'll meat in the middle with three stars, but I am not really recommending this item. I might have given them some leeway thinking maybe only our product was faulty, but since we have two, and both have the same faults, I can only assume they are just poorly made.