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Golden Apple Awards 2010 (ages 6-8)

From a talking pen to a futuristic ant farm, these toys are made for kids' learning (and fun).

By GreatSchools Staff

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Ant-o-Sphere

Ages: 6-8

A science toy that requires kids to design and build an ecosystem for an ant colony, then trap several dozen live ants and their pupa, isn’t for faint-of-heart, hands-off parents. But if you are willing to invest the time, this is no ordinary toy.

Designed by former entomologist Peter Smith, Ant-o-Sphere from Wild Science offers a flexible kit of multiple pods in transparent red and clear plastic, connected by tubes that mimic ant colonies in nature. This toy encourages real scientific learning. Kids can test, observe, and draw conclusions —  important skills typically absent in project-oriented science toys, where the outcome is a foregone conclusion. For instance, the kit encourages kids to create their own pod design and see how it changes ant behavior. By the same token, children can learn about the eating habits of ants by offering them different kinds of food.

Bottom line: Bring science to life with this interactive and engaging kit.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

03/24/2011:
"Lets see YOU find something better that will excite kids to read!!!"
11/15/2010:
"Snore...three out of four of these toys are electronic...is this the best great schools can do? Sad. Rotten Apple Award!"
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