“ Brand: Brainstorm / Age: 8+ „
The Smartlab Human Body Model retail for a little under £20, with Amazon often having it available for a slightly discounted price. When we purchased ours, we paid close to the £10 mark, and I feel we got a very good price considering the detail that goes into making up this kit.
What's so great about this toy is that it's definitely just that - a toy. It's not some boring, educational aid that kids will view as being work. The squishy, gloopy feel of some of the internal organs will appeal to lots of little children - especially boys who like a bit of snot and goo! What parents will like is that the organs are all highly detailed and factually accurate.
The intenstines in this model unravel, and are a bit awkward to get back into place afterwards. I think this is a good thing really as it will help kids to understand just how big and long intestines really are, even if it does annoy the parents who wind up having to cram them back into place. If you don't get them back into the correct position, you can't get the external casing on, or the rib cage either. Another little detail I like is that the skull cap opens to reveal a little brain inside which can be removed.
To go with the model, there's a laminated fold-out chart called an 'organ-izer'. This has shadows of all the organ outlines on it with their names underneath, to help children identify what the various parts are and learn to recognise them individually. It also helps to expose them to the names of the organs, and show them how they are spelled. After laying the parts out on the organizer, kids can then set about putting them back into the model in the correct places. If they don't get them in right, they can't shut the body (it has a plastic outer coating to represent the skin). There's no way to cheat basically, and I like that this forces them to work it out!
Also included in the kit, is a fun little book that I'm sure a lot of kids aged from about six (if bright and interested in this sort of thing) up to around twelve or thirteen. It takes you on a short, but informative, journey inside the human body, referring to the body parts included in the model along the way. On most pages, they've included fun little factual snippets that most children will find amusing. The grandson especially appreciates the little fact file about how many times a day a person 'passes gas'!
The only downsides to the set are the poor quality 'tools' that come with it. The pinching scissors that came with the set broke the second they came out of the box. The tweezers are also really weak, thing plastic that cannot grip things very well. This doesn't have a huge impact on the use of the toy since it's easier to use your fingers anyway, but I do think that for the price tag, especially considering the good quality of the other items in the kit, they could have made these items a little stronger and more durable than they are.
Over all this is a four star product that I would recommend for all children with an interest in how the body works, or just science and biology in general. I really like that they've made something that's an important part of a child's education so fun and entertaining, and the grandson has had a lot of fun use out of this. He's looked at it through the eye's of a bright six year old so far (recommended age is 8+) and I like that he will get a second use out of this in a couple of years time when his understanding has grown a bit. I feel that the quality of the actual model, organizer sheet and book will probably hold up well for use for a good few years.