Product Type: Insect Lore Outdoor Toy
Newest Review: ... the bottom so that you can view the top and bottom of the creature you catch. You can easily catch a bug by taking the cone shaped top off... more
Not for squeamish mummy's
Insect Lore Creature Peeper
Member Name: cha97mw
Insect Lore Creature Peeper
Advantages: relatively inexpensive, easy to use, quite a tough toy, nice to see bugs from two angles.
Disadvantages: would be better if the top screwed on, and if one eye piece had higher magnification.
My boys received this as a Christmas present from my brother and sister in law a couple of years ago. My sister in law asked me first if this was ok, and as a science teacher and a parent of inquisitive children who like the great outdoors, I was happy for them to buy this for my children to use.
This was bought when my children were toddlers, and I found that they were more than capable of using this with my help from the age of about two and a half. The recommended age is 3 plus, but I feel that probably like most things depends on whether your child can be trusted to kindly touch bugs and not squash them or put anything yucky in their mouth, including fingers that have been poking around in the mud.
This is quite a simple bit of kit, featuring two sections. The top part of the peeper lifts off so you can put a bug onto the flat clear platform. You can then view the bug from above and below using the eye pieces in the base or the top section, and see your bug magnified up to 3 times magnification.
The base plate where the bug sits is similar in size to a petri dish, and the top does fit on quite snugly. Personally I would prefer it if the top screwed onto the base just because I feel that it is a bit much to expect a toddler to hold onto both sections while they are using the equipment. Theoretically, you could use this if you did some basic pond dipping to look at tadpoles and water insects as there is enough space to hold a small amount of water.
The apparatus came with a small plastic bug so you could practice using this before going outside with it. This was probably part of the reason the recommended age is 3 plus, as it was about the size of a ten pence piece, and might be a choking hazard.
In practice, we have found it can be quite tricky for a child to catch a bug of interest and get it into this apparatus. Therefore, we have spent more time using the top part of the apparatus as something to trap a bug under on the floor or wall, to let us look at it. Magnification is ok, but not that exciting, so while this was a popular toy the first summer they got it, it is not something they look at a lot nowadays. They liked to look at some of their little toys in the apparatus too, which I guess was a bit of a novelty, and they were keen to share with each other and myself what they had seen.
This is a relatively cheap toy priced at around £4.50 on amazon. I feel it is certainly worth the price, and I liked the way my sister in law teemed this up with a book about garden insects that the boys might come across, as this made it really a lot more relevant to them. I feel it is quite a hard wearing toy. It has been used outside and been dropped, and has not got any chips or scratches on it. For children who like exploring the great outdoors, it is nice for them to learn about basic ecology through play.
If you are the sort of person who does not like handling bugs or you are a bit squeamish about your children poking around the garden, this might not be the toy for you, but I thought it was pretty entertaining for my children.
Summary: A fun piece of kit to introduce children to basic biology.
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