Now that the weather is getting warmer it’s good to have some tricks up my sleeve for getting everyone out in the fresh air more. We’ve been hibernating over the winter and we’ve all been poorly so we haven’t spent a huge amount of time outside. We were sent a Pocket Microscope from Interplay and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a great way to encourage some outdoor time. The garden provides easy access to a previously undiscovered world of microscopic adventures and with the new Pocket Microscope in hand it was hard to get everyone to come back indoors at the end of the day!
The Pocket Microscope comes with two pre-prepared slides, so you can immediately start using the microscope to take a closer look at the world. The grasshopper slide includes antenna, leg, abdomen and wing and the textile slide includes nylon, cotton, silk and wool. The Pocket Microscope magnifies up to 30 times the actual size of a sample. We found that it was easier to use on a flat surface, like a table, with the sample laid on the table and the Pocket Microscope placed on top of the sample. There is a dial on the Pocket Microscope to focus and this is tricky to operate and took some practise but with perseverance we all got the hang of it.
Once I had shown The Wild One how to use the Pocket Microscope he was off! The garden was the obvious place to start and we found leaves, feathers, sycamore seeds, seedlings, bark and all sorts to take a look at.
We discovered that a leaf looks like a giraffe’s fur under the microscope. I love this description! The magnified leaf structure looks like lots of irregular boxes and I had never made the connection with the patterns on a giraffe before. When you start playing with toys like this you have no idea where it will take you.
The sample pots, extra slides and tweezers add to the experience. There are even little labels and a whole afternoon was spent gathering, labelling, sorting, studying and discovering.
There is a booklet in the set, which has suggestions for other ways to get the most out of your Pocket Microscope. As it is small and portable you can take it anywhere with you but it did work best when you had a flat surface to view the sample. The booklet has a guide to making your own sample slides and suggestions for other things to investigate. When we eventually came indoors we started looking at salt and sugar, although these didn’t work as well so we will try dissolving them in water next time.
The Pocket Microscope comes with a textile slide so you can look at your own clothing and decide if it is nylon, wool, silk or cotton and imagine you are a crime scene investigator.
The Pocket Microscope is a fantastic first microscope, lightweight and easy to take out and about. Now that interest has been fully ignited we might look to invest in something with even higher magnification so that we can take an even closer look at things like salt, ice and pond samples.
If you are looking for a first microscope to spark the imagination then the My Living World Pocket Microscope is a great start at a fantastic price.
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We were sent the Pocket Microscope in order to complete the review. Images, words and opinions are all my own.