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Kids Turn Toy News

New Science Kits Connect Kids to Real-World Topics!

Powerhouse

In 2009, BRIK-A-BLOK is launching a new category of toys on the market.

It’s a new year with a new outlook, and we at Thames & Kosmos, proud publisher of 57 award-winning science kits, are thrilled to announce eight new kits! The kits will be shown for the first time at this year’s American International Toy Fair, Booth #1663G, starting February 15th in New York City.

Key to our mission of connecting science education with relevant issues, we’ve had an Alternative Energy & Environmental Science line of kits for almost ten years — in other words, since before green became the new black. Four of our new kits are in this category: revised editions of our groundbreaking Fuel Cell and Power House kits, along with entirely new Hydropower and Global Warming kits. Our commitment to environmental issues extends beyond the kits themselves, as we donate one percent of sales of our Wind Power and Hydropower kits to environmentally focused non-profits. (Launched in 2008, Wind Power had a wildly successful year and was nominated for the Toy Industry Association's 2009 Specialty Toy of the Year Award.)

We’re also proud to announce two kits produced in partnership with the bestselling and award-winning children’s book The Dangerous Book for Boys: Classic Chemistry and Essential Electronics. With its dedication to re-cultivating age-old practical skills and the simple pleasures of inquiry, The Dangerous Book for Boys fits nicely with Thames & Kosmos’ commitment to teaching science through hands-on modeling of real-world devices and processes, making for a — dare we say — dangerous combination. These kits are part of our new Classic Science line dedicated to ‘retro-science’ — the kind of experiments your grandparents might remember, but that delight all generations.

Lastly, we’re announcing two new kits that help children envision science in real-world applications. Optical Science & Art bridges the divide between the scientific world and the art world using experiments on light, optics, and visual perception. Little Labs: Intro to Engineering furthers our goal of encouraging even our youngest users to apply their scientific knowledge in constructing models of machines and devices.

NEW EDITIONS OF OLD FAVORITES

As a follow-up to our bestselling Power House kit, this year we’re launching a new edition geared towards a younger audience: Power House Green Essentials Edition. Now children ages ten and up can learn about the timely issues of alternative energy and sustainable living, by conducting 30 experiments and building ten energy-related models: the power house itself, a greenhouse, a solar cell array, a passive solar collector, a solar oven, an air conditioner, a refrigerator, a hydrometer, a lemon battery, and a wind power generator. They can even sow seeds in the greenhouse! The kit comes with a 64-page, full-color experiment manual and retails for $89.95. Available now!

Fuel Cell Car On the eve of the tenth anniversary of our multi-award winning Fuel Cell Car & Experiment kit, we introduce Fuel Cell 10: 10th Anniversary Car & Experiment Kit. Targeted for ages ten and up, this edition enables a younger audience to experience one of the most significant technologies of the early 21st Century — especially appropriate in the midst of our auto industry crisis and global energy situation.

By constructing and operating a unique reversible hydrogen fuel cell, powered by water and sunlight, children build a model car that actually runs on water! And in so doing, they join auto manufacturers in experimenting with a technology that will power not only automobiles, but electronic devices such as laptops and cell phones. This new edition has a beautifully redesigned car body with a display stand and a rewritten 64-page, full-color experiment manual, and retails for $169.95. Available fall 2009.

Hydropower CUTTING-EDGE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

And now, we introduce the entirely new Alternative Energy & Environmental Science kits! First up is Hydropower, a kit dedicated to the science of water energy. Starting at age eight, children can explore the power of water with twelve experiments and building projects, which include: building a waterwheel, sawmill, and hammer mill that use water energy to do physical work; learning about water pressure with a water tower, communicating vessels, and a fountain; generating electricity with a hydroelectric power station; and discovering how electricity can be generated by harnessing power from ocean waves, tides, and rivers. Wet floors in the house are surely a small price to pay for learning about an old yet renewed and renewable form of energy. Hydropower is accompanied by a 48-page, fullcolor experiment manual and retails for $49.95. Available summer 2009.

Global Warming Second up is a kit dedicated to what might be considered the most pressing of environmental issues: Global Warming. This kit enables children ages ten and up to explore an issue of utmost criticality, both environmentally and politically, by helping them understand both the science of global warming and how to alleviate it. Children learn about the science of Earth’s climate system, weather, and atmosphere by conducting experiments that model the atmosphere, wind, and ocean currents.

They examine the role of humans in global warming by learning how human activity influences the climate with experiments involving carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect, investigating the potential consequences of global warming on humans, ecosystems, and the world’s economies, and learning what we can do to protect the climate. (And after trudging through the trenches of global warming, we shamelessly recommend ascending the enlightened path with the Power House, Fuel Cell Car, or any of our other sustainability-oriented kits.) The Global Warming kit comes with a 48-page, full-color experiment manual and retails for $34.95. Available summer 2009.

Dangerous Book for Boys

A BLAST FROM THE PAST

The Dangerous Book for Boys: Classic Chemistry presents chemistry every child should know through fun, engaging, and impressive experiments and activities. Children ages eight and up learn about atoms, elements, compounds, and bonding. They experiment with chemical reactions involving acids and bases, indicators, electrochemistry, and various metals, metalloids, and nonmetals. The kit’s 30 experiments also include making plastic, slime, a smoke bomb, and even a stink bomb (because, as may go without saying, stink bombs are essential chemistry learning for every child). Although updated for today’s kids and current safety standards, parents and grandparents will appreciate this nostalgic kit. It comes with a 32-page, full-color experiment manual and retails for $35.95. Available fall 2009.

Dangerous Book for Boys

A similar story, but for electronics, is The Dangerous Book for Boys: Essential Electronics. Designed for children ages eight and up, this kit uses 30 stimulating experiments and activities to teach classic electronics lessons.

Children learn about electricity, conductors, circuits, voltage, current, and power, and experiment with resistance, capacitors, diodes, LEDs, and logical circuits. They build an electromagnet, an electric motor, a voltaic pile, a joy buzzer, and a vibrating bug. True to our Classic Science line, this kit will fascinate kids, parents, and grandparents alike. Essential Electronics is accompanied by a 32-page, full-color experiment manual and has a retail price of $35.95. Available fall 2009.

Optical Science

SCIENCE IN THE REALMS OF ART AND ENGINEERING

Our new Optical Science & Art kit propels our Sophisticated Science category into new territory. Sophisticated indeed, this kit deals with the sciences of light, optics, and visual perception, which find applications in disciplines ranging from physics to psychology to painting. By witnessing optical illusions that involve shapes, color, depth, and scale, and learning how optical illusions relate to artists’ techniques, children aged eight and up can engage with the complexity of optical science and art in accessible and entertaining ways.

Among the 24 experiments in the kit, children experiment with light and the color spectrum by building a color wheel, a fiber optic peacock, and diffraction glasses. They also build a camera obscura and pinhole glasses to learn how the eye and a camera are similar and different, experiment with lens and light refraction, and use 3D glasses and an Ames room model to experiment with spatial vision and depth perception. This kit is accompanied by a 48-page, full-color experiment manual and retails for $34.95. Available late summer 2009.

Little Engineering And finally, we end with Little Labs: Intro to Engineering, the twelfth and latest kit in our popular Little Labs line. This line is intended to be the portal through which our youngest users, children ages five to seven, first begin to explore and appreciate science. It starts with Stepping into Science, a starter kit that covers five basic science topics, and also includes ten single-topics kits, such as Plants, Colors, and Time. We’re delighted to add Engineering to the mix, which introduces young children to the field of engineering with 25 experiments in five sections. Children learn engineering basics with experiments on levers, forces, and pulleys.

They explore engineering on land by building vehicles with wheels; engineering in the air with a helicopter, a parachute, and a glider; and engineering in the water with a diving bell, a sailboat, and a paddleboat. They even find engineering at home, with experiments modeling the telephone and television (without breaking them, of course).

This kit has a 48-page, full-color experiment manual, and a retail price of $34.95. Available summer 2009.

As with all our previous kits, these new kits put science in your hands for fun that is out of this world!


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Purchase and Contact
Look for these new science kits in stores this summer and fall. Thames & Kosmos kits can be found at specialty toy, hobby, gift, and museum stores, as well as through educational and home-school suppliers, toy and gift catalogs, and online stores. For a complete list of retailers, visit www.thamesandkosmos.com. All Thames & Kosmos kits comply with all U.S. standards for toy safety, including new regulations recently imposed by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Parents are encouraged to enjoy the products and overall experience alongside their children. For more information about any of the award-winning kits contact Stephanie Gerson at pr@thamesandkosmos.com.

About Thames & Kosmos
Thames & Kosmos, a privately held company headquartered in Portsmouth, RI, was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving informal science education by creating high-quality science and technology-related educational products for children. Thames & Kosmos places an emphasis on teaching science that is relevant to the important issues in the world today through hands-on experimentation. Topics covered in Thames & Kosmos’ line of over 50 kits include alternative energy, chemistry, biology, physics, electronics, natural history, and earth science. For more information, visit www.thamesandkosmos.com.