Review of My First Lab WOW Scope – A 3D microscope for Kids

 

What we love…

Binocular microscope, good quality lenses, allows user to look at 3D objects as well as slides

What we’d love to see…

Additional higher powered lenses, a petri dish included

Summary

The WOW Scope is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. It is well made and allows the user to examine 3D objects as well as glass slides.

recommended-by-the-imums

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a microscope designed for children. The WOW Scope is different than most children’s microscopes on the market in 3 major ways

  1. it is a binocular microscope i.e. it has 2 eyepieces, most children’s microscopes are monocular (1 eyepiece.)
  2. It is designed not only for viewing microscope slides but also for viewing 3D objects and so has both upper and lower illumination
  3. It is made by a company (C & A Scientific) who make scientific and educational microscopes for laboratory use.

 

What’s in the Box

The WOW Scope includes: a binocular microscope, 2 interchangeable sets of eyepieces (10x and 25x), a slide case and 2 prepared slides.

One slide is traditionally prepared samples of a mosquito mouth and fly wing – these are thin sections mounted on a glass slide, under a coverslip . The other slide is white card and has 3 samples glued on – sand, a small feather and an insect leg, these are 3D objects and have not been cut into thin sections or mounted under a cover slip.

Set Up

Set up is very quick and easy, and requires 2 AA batteries. The batteries are inserted into the battery compartment in the base of the microscope. Then the slide is placed on the stage (base of the microscope) and held in place by 2 metal clips. The light switch has 2 on positions, for glass slides light I is switched on, this illuminated the slide from under the stage. For 3D objects light II is switched on – this illuminates the object from on top.

The 10x eyepieces are put in place and the large black knob on the side is turned to move the microscope head down and up until the object is in focus. For higher magnification the 25x eyepieces replace the 10x and the focus is then readjusted. The total magnification is 20x or 50x depending on which eyepieces are used.

Construction

The WOW scope is very solidly made, it does have some plastic parts e.g. the base  but it is mostly made of metal and has glass optics. It feels well made and the focussing knob moves the microscope very smoothly up and down.  I have several other kids’ microscopes at home and the quality of the optics is noticeably better on the WOW scope than the others I have.

In Use

The Wow Scope is used in a different way than a traditional microscope, usually the eyepiece lens stays the same and you rotate through different objective lenses (the ones closest to the slide) for different magnification levels. Instead with the WOW scope the objective lens is fixed and it is the eyepiece lens that you change by sliding it in and out of the eyepiece barrel. It is easy to change the lenses but you do need to make sure you have a safe place to put down the ones you are not using.

I love how the WOW scope is designed to encourage kids to examine closely any object they find. Unlike most microscopes the WOW scope is designed to let you examine 3D objects rather than just prepared slides. This makes it much easier to just pick something from the environment such as a leaf or feather. My kids and I looked at moss, sugar, feathers, coins, rocks and leaves as well as looking at microscope slides with prepared specimens. It worked well except when we tried to examine objects that were “too 3D” e.g. a pine cone. This was too hard to focus as the parts of the cone were at many different distances, a somewhat flat object works better. I was a little nervous about placing rough objects, such as rocks, directly on the glass stage, as I was worried it would get scratched. It would be nice to see a petri dish or other container for holding the 3D objects included.

As well as being able to examine 3D objects the WOW scopes optical set up makes objects appear more 3 dimensional. It has 2 eyepiece lenses each with their own objective lens, so you can use both eyes at once and they each see the specimen from slightly different angles.

Moss through WOW Scope

 

The levels of magnification are 20x and 50x, most kids microscopes will have magnification levels higher than this (this is similar to their low level magnification.) Because of this, if you want to look at a lot of slides at cellular level, then a microscope with higher magnification e.g My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope may be a better choice. However, because you can spontaneously examine objects you find in nature, this scope is a great way to get kids engaged in STEM, as they can explore whatever they find, instead of needing to have prepared slides to examine. It is still useful for examining slides if you are looking at larger scale objects such as the parts of an insect, rather than looking at the cellular level

Price and Availability

Available from myfirstlab.com for US$69.99 Recommended for Ages 7+ , other microscopes from my first lab are available on Amazon

Summary

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a great STEM gift to get kids interested in exploring science and nature. It is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. The WOW scope can be used with traditional glass microscope slides but also allows viewing of 3-D objects such as feathers, rocks and leaves. This lets kids view objects they find when out exploring in nature, without needing to do any slide preparation. The WOW scope is well made, My First Lab is a division of C & A Scientific who make scientific and educational microscopes so they use good quality glass optics for clearer viewing.

The WOW scope is featured in our Kids Holiday Gift Guide – 11 Tech Toys For Kids of All Ages

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Toddler & Kids Learning Games by Clapenjoy SRL – Review


What we love…

Activities that help develop early science thinkers.

What we’d love to see…

A harvesting step to complete the plant life cycle and parents’ guide.

Summary

This is a fun app that stimulates preschoolers’ curiosity to find out how nature works.

Our Rating

Toddler & Kids Learning Games by Clapenjoy SRL is the perfect companion app for curious preschoolers to discover the wonders of nature that are all around them. What they learn in the app can be easily linked to what they observe in the real world.
 
There are 4 nature-based learning activities in the app. Through these activities, kids imagine what happens when temperature changes, grow their own vegetables and fruits, witness the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly and feed baby birds. They also learn about the life cycle of plants, butterflies and birds, and what is needed for healthy growth. All these information is presented in cute animation.
 

Besides the age-appropriate educational content, I like that the app frequently prompts young learners to think about what item or action is needed next. You can talk about the 3 options given and guide your child’s thinking process in choosing the correct option. As the answer options change at every play session, you can have different discussions deliberating and explaining why some answers are good choices and why others are not.
 

Another point that I like is that there are many opportunities for children to make decisions while playing the app e.g. which outfit to wear, what vegetables to plant, which fancy watering can to use, which fruit tree to grow and what color should the butterfly be.
 

This app is easy for young children to navigate, with prompts given when they are stuck. Players proceed from one learning section to the next seamlessly and there is no need for instructions. Simple finger actions like tapping, dragging and rubbing are all that is needed to activate a response from the app. There is also no time limit or score keeping in the activities.
 

In addition to the nature-based educational games, kids can also have fun with puzzles, memory match games and coloring pages that are based on the nature activities.

Digital puzzles take away the frustrations that some younger children experience when they don’t have the fine-motor skills to manipulate a physical puzzle yet. With digital puzzles, children continue to reap the benefits of putting together a puzzle like hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills . Each puzzle in this app starts with 4 pieces. It gets more difficult with increasing number of pieces. But you can change the level of difficulty at any time by tapping on the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ on-screen buttons. In total, there are 30 puzzles of varying difficulty levels in the app to be solved.
 

The 24 memory cards games included in the app are also presented in increasing levels of difficulty, from 4 to 12 cards per set. Similarly, you can adjust the number of cards in each game. The memory cards are randomly generated and players get a different set of cards each time they play. These games are great for concentration and improving memory.

Coloring activities are always popular with preschoolers and having some sessions on digital coloring pages that are easier to complete can help kids achieve success and boost their self-esteem (especially when you keep a screenshot of their masterpiece). The 11 coloring pages in this app come with 4 coloring tools, an eraser and 13 color options. The paint brush, crayons and color pencils are standard offerings but the rub-and-color magic wand will be great for younger kids.
 

The app is free to download and kids can play with the vegetable garden activity right away. The free app also comes with a puzzle, a memory card game and a coloring page for your child to try. The other 3 nature-based activities can be unlocked with an in-app-purchase (IAP) of $1.99 . The developer keeps the app kids-friendly by giving users the option to disable the IAP from within the parent’s section. You can also turn off the background music and sound effects (like the rabbit’s springy hopping sounds) from the parent’s section. It would be great if this section can also provide parents with the key learning points that they can highlight to their children in each of the learning activities.

Nevertheless, Toddler & Kids Learning Games is still a standout among the very few early science apps that are available in the App Store for the preschool age group. It encourages young learners to ask questions about how nature works and to find their own answers. It should be renamed to reflect its area of focus. Download the free app and check it out!

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Toddler & Kids Learning Games

Toddler games 4 preschool kids Toddler games 4 preschool kids by Clapenjoy SRL

Price: $FREE

Learning games for kids to explore the natural world, an early science kids app especially designed for AGES 2 to 5. Play and learn with free preschool and kindergarten interactive games, puzzles, memory.

 

 

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.

SanDisk iXpand Base: Easy iPhone Back Up and Charging- Review

 

What we love…

Foolproof backup that happens without having to think of it, easy to download backed up items to computer or restore onto phone or iPad

What we’d love to see…

Option to choose to remove select pictures/ videos after backup instead of just having option to remove all or none.

Summary

The iXpand Base from SanDisk is an easy way to keep your iPhone and iPad photos, videos and contacts backed up. It is very easy to set up and after the initial set up if you use it as your charging station it will back your phone up every time you charge without you needing to do anything except plug your phone in

recommended-by-the-imums

If you are looking for a fast, easy, foolproof way to back up your iPhone, the SanDisk iXpand Base is the perfect solution. It can hold up to 256GB of data and is a charging station and back up solution all in one.

Set Up

Set up is a breeze:

  • install the free iXpand Base app on your iPhone.
  • Plug the SanDisk iXpand Base into an outlet with the included (6ft) power cord, then connect your iPhone charging cable to the SanDisk iXpand Base (a lightning cable is not included you do need to supply your own). The cable can be left long or wrapped around the cord manager in the bottom of the iXpand Base.
  • Open the app and connect your phone via the cable and it will automatically start scanning your phone and backing up your photos and contacts.
  • The first time you use it you need to give permission to access your photos, videos and contacts, after that everything is automatic

In Use

SanDisk iXpand Base iPhone Back Up and Charging

 

The iXpand Base has a slightly angled, rubberized surface that works well to hold the iPhone whilst it charges. I keep the SanDisk iXpand Base on my desk and use it every time I want to charge my iPhone or iPad during the day. I never even have to think about backing up my iPhone and iPad photos, videos and contacts – it happens automatically every time I charge it.  The first time I used it the SanDisk iXpand Base it took about an hour to fully back up my photos, videos and contacts, but now as I back it up daily it only takes a couple of minutes to update each time. After the first time whenever you plug your phone in to the iXpand Base it will start charging and simultaneously scan your phone. It will then automatically back up any new items it finds.

Once it has successfully backed up for device your are given the option to delete the backed up items from your iPhone or iPad to create space. This is an “all or nothing” option – you touch one button to remove all the backed up files. If you just want to remove select photos or videos you do this in the usual way from within your photo library.

 

Accessing Backups and Restoring Photos, Videos and Contacts

It is simple to access your backed up files on your iPhone, iPad or computer.

When your iOS device is connected to the iXpand base you can view any of the photos, videos or contacts you have previously backed up from this or any other iOS device. In “Settings” you can see all your backups listed, and choose which one you wish to restore from. Once you have selected a backup file you can “select all” or individually choose which images or contacts you wish to restore onto your device. Once you have selected the items to restore simply tap “restore” and they will be downloaded into your device’s photos or contacts.

Transferring Backed up Items to Computer
The simplest way to move items from the iXpand to your computer is via the iXpand’s SD card. The iXpand has an SD card slot at the back of the unit, pressing on the SD card will eject it. The SD card can then be placed into the SD card slot on your computer where you can simply drag and drop files to download them. The files are in folders labelled by the device name each backup came from with sub-folders for photos and contacts.  If you need more storage you can also remove the full SD card from your iXpand Base and replace it with a new SD card.

If you don’t have an SD card reader on your computer you can also access the files by connecting the iXpand Base to your computer using a data transfer Micro USB – USB  cable (not included.)
 

Setting up a new iPhone
 

If you lose or damage your iPhone and need to get a new one, it is very simple to restore all your old contacts, photos and videos on to your device phone. Simply download the iXpand App onto the new phone, plug it into the iXpand Base, select your old phone’s back up and tap restore.
 

Summary
 

The iXpand Base from SanDisk is an easy way to keep your iPhone and iPad photos, videos and contacts backed up. It is very easy to set up and after the initial set up if you use it as your charging station it will back your phone up every time you charge without you needing to do anything except plug your phone in !
 

Price and Availability
 

The iXpand Base from SanDisk is available in 64GB, 128 GB or 256 GB versions, from AmazonSanDisk.com or other retailers from US$69.99
 
 
 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Dr. Panda Town: Mall from Dr. Panda Games – Review


What we love…

fun interactive mall that has a number of great activities for kids to play ranging from hair, dress up, cinema, food court and more!  Lots of great role play and language activities to describe the scenes.

What we’d love to see…

ability to add photos in the app to the camera roll, also more “boy” themed dress up and characters like a security/police officer

Summary

Overall, this is a super fun addition to the Dr. Panda suite of apps.  There are lots of new adventures to play with Dr. Panda friends and my kids spent hours inside the mall.

Our Rating

Get ready to shop until you drop!  Dr. Panda Town Mall the newest app from Dr. Panda Games is a free app with IAP for the full game.  Inside the mall there are six different locations to visit on three floors including a cinema, pet store, food court, hair salon, clothing store, toy store and even a place to snap a selfie!  This app features the traditional Dr. Panda characters and now adds some fun children to the mix.  Game play is simple – open ended role play which allows your child to go through the mall picking and choosing from their favorite activities with no rules – just fun!  There are sixteen different characters you can choose from within the app which means everyone has a chance for fun!  You can even open and close the shops by a simple tap.  You can read more reviews of previous Dr. Panda apps here.  I also helped my son narrate as he played which let us practice language, naming items and more!

Inside each of the shops at Dr. Panda Mall there are different activities that you can do and when you have finished you can use Dr. Panda money from the ATM to pay for your services, a crane game to try to get a favorite toy (how i wish the real life one was this easy!), a bouncing car, an interactive fountain and lots of fun elements to tap and touch!  There are also a wide variety of interactive elements including wrapped gifts (and the ability to wrap you own), a restroom and more!

Hair Salon: Activities in the hair salon include: styling hair, coloring your hair, washing your hair, getting a quick snip/.style, having a drink and reading a magazine.

Cinema: Buy your ticket and head into for a show.  The cinema features three different movies and a variety of activities including: getting a drink, snacks at the concession stand, picking up your 3D glasses and even trying on fun costumes while you wait for the movie to start!

Food Court: Hungry for a snack?  Simply hop on the escalator up to floor three and you can get your character their favorite snack.  Items range from coffee/juice to muffins, rolls, sandwiches, smoothies and more.  My younger son loved making his own smoothie.

Pet Store: Head inside the pet store to play with a variety of animals including a hamster, kittens and lizards.  You can also buy pet food, carriers for your pet, accessories and more!  A favorite of my son was dressing up the animals in the pet shop.

Selfie Snap: No day at the mall is complete without photos.  Gather your favorite characters, pets and accessories for a quick photo which you can then post on the photo board.

Costume/Clothing Shop: Head inside and gather your favorite outfits and costumes for dress up!  Head inside the dressing room for a quick change for your next destination!

Toy Shop: This is a toy store of any children’s dreams – it features a flying rocket, airplane, ring stack, dinosaur and many more toys!  As a parent I personally loved the train.  My kids also loved the various dress up options, bouncing balls and musical instruments.Having the performance on stage was a bonus – they especially liked opening and closing the curtains.

I loved the open ended play of this app.  My son could spend as much or as little time on each activity as he wanted to.  He enjoyed each of the shops and the various games and interactions within.  I noticed that each time we played – he would often go back to the hair salon and cinema before heading up to the food court for a snack and a selfie!  He also enjoyed the pretend play with various dress up objects and we pretended that we were a variety of Dr. Panda characters as well as a Mom and a child heading to the mall.  As a parent I liked the diversity of the characters and variety of dress up clothes.  Navigation within the app is straightforward and you can always go to a map to start over in a new clean mall.   Inside the parental gate there is the ability to turn on/off sounds and background music as well as promotions.

My son wanted to be able to save the photos to our camera roll – but right now they are just saved within the app and when the board gets full there is no way to save your favorites.  My son also asked for additional dress up options like a construction outfit, security/police and a firefighter.  My older son asked for a toy building where he could construct his own stuffed animal – we found lots of clothes but he couldn’t make his own animal.

Overall, this is a super fun addition to the Dr. Panda suite of apps.  There are lots of new adventures to play with Dr. Panda friends and my kids spent hours inside the mall.  A great new addition to your Dr. Panda library.  This app is free with in-app purchases for the various stores/games within the app.  In app purchases range from $0.99 – $4.99 for all the shops and add ons.


Dr. Panda Town: Mall Dr. Panda Town: Mall by Dr. Panda Ltd

Price: $FREE

Go on a fun-filled shopping spree in Dr. Panda Town: Mall! With so many shops and other things to discover, there are endless stories to be told and adventures to be had.

EXPLORE THE MALL
Explore.

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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