As i work full time, and my husband too, when we do have "family days" together, we tend to go all out, which unfortuantely my kids seem to think that the gift shop is part of the experience, and we always end up coming away with an assortment of "crap" everytime we go somewhere!
There is always the generic gifts, ie the cup with the twisty straw, pencils, rubbers keyrings etc...all bearing the brand of whichever day trip we have taken, but when we visited the "space centre" last year the gifts available were a little better than the norm (which was good as the place wasn't particularly that good!).
My son (who seems to just know when there are noisy toys in any given area) found the groan tubes within seconds, then spent the next ten minutes trying each one out to decied what colour, and which had the best groan factor (which there was plenty of from me when i realised his Dad had purchased one for him....grrr!).
The tube itself is around 50-60cms long, cylindrical, plastic and containing a block that travels up and down the tube very smoothly.
The groan is created by this block rapidly pushing the air in the tube out of the corresponding end through small holes (whilst sucking air in at the opposite end), all in all it makes a terrific noise, and really does sound like someone really moaning and groaning, which is fine and dandy during the day, but not so much fun when he wakes up in the night and starts to play with it, which is why we have hidden it in his room!
These come in a variety of colours, with the ones Connor was looking at also had star dots of glitter over the tubes, though these are quite easy to break, as they are plastic and when left in homes with central heating do start to disintergrate over time (though unfortunately not quickly enough!).
Price wise these are available from the £4.00 mark, which i suppose is not too bad as a pocket money priced toy goes.
Thanks for reading x
Kid's are dangerous when they've got their own money they buy the most ridiculous things imaginable. One store my son always 'shops' in is Hawkins Bazaar which is a novelty gift shop. This is were his Groan Tube came from. He had to have it, it was an essential. It cost him £1.50 so not a fortune- but still.....
Anyway the tube is an over a foot long, inch round, plastic hollow tube with something inside it that slides up and down to make the sound (the thing inside doesn't come out or fall out). That's about it really. It seems okay quality for the price and although the novelty wore off a long time ago it stills works. I don't know about other colours but my sons is yellow. The Groan Tube is for children aged 3 plus.
The tube is just tilted one way then tilted the other, as the sliding thing slides backwards and forwards it makes a noise. It's a nice size to hold and is light in weight the 'groan thing' doesn't make it heavy therefore doesn't hurt your wrist even with 'repeat' use. If you shake it, it makes a different sound but not as 'loud' as when tipped up and down. The noise pitch changes depending on which way you tilt it higher pitched one way and deeper pitched the other (it sounds more or less the same to me) The sound will go slow or fast depending on fast you tilt it- great fun......... It's hard to put the noise into words but it's not really a groan, it has more of an echoing wind tunnely groaning sound- but not really!!.
This toy had limited play but saying that the kids enjoyed playing with it, sort of sitting there in a trance just making a racket with it. I could see it being good for stress- but only for the person playing with and not for the rest of us having to listen to it.
Apparently this is an educational toy teaching children about noise resonance, and is also a sensory toy. I don't think it taught us anything except that repetitive noise is annoying!! But still it isn't broken so that's in it's favour.
4 stars from me because the kids liked it.