Toy Fair 2009: Alternative Energy Science Kit

If Bowl Of Noses had a summer camp, one of the electives would be Mad Science 101.  Definitely, we'd have lots of stuff that explodes and makes stinky smells, but hey, it'd be educational too (we've got another 20 fun things to do on the list too, so best sign up for the whole fantasy summer!).

Dave at The Paris Bar tipped us to the Cool Hunter tip on these neato kits.  If our dreams were real, we'd more than enough for everyone to play with each twice.  Here's what Cool Hunter had to say:

Although the Rhode Island-based Thames & Kosmos has only been around since 2001, the science kit manufacturer has a roster of more than 57 award-winning kits. This prolific output has been possible, no doubt, through partnership with the respected German publisher Kosmos, which has been producing experimental sets since 1922. (Its chemistry set won a gold medal at the 1937 World's Fair.)

Thames & Kosmos has been publishing eco-driven science kits since its inception. In fact, the first product to be introduced to the States under the label was the Fuel Cell kit. At last week's NYC Toy Fair, the company introduced four new kits in its Alternative Energy and Environmental Science line-up, one of which was a revised and sportier (see above) version of the Fuel Cell Car and Experiment kit. Available this fall for $169, we're guessing this kit might be a popular holiday gift for automotive executives.

Another revised edition is the new Power House Green Essentials Edition. A follow-up to the best selling Power House Kit, the new edition is geared towards kids ten and up, and features 30 experiments over 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.

Entirely new for 2009, the Hydropower kit is geared towards kids ages eight and up. It focuses on teaching the power of water through twelve experiments and building projects. Kids learn age-old hydropower schemes through building a water wheel, sawmill and hammer mill, while gaining insight into water pressure through a water tower, communicating vessels and a fountain. And for those budding ecopreneurs out there, the kit elaborates on how electricity can be generated by harnessing the power of ocean waves, tidal flows and rivers. Hydropower will be available this summer and sell for $50.

Lastly, and just in time to prepare today's youth for tomorrow's raging climate crisis, is the Global Warming kit. This one features experiments that teach about the Earth's delicate climate system and the role we humans play in shaping it through experiments that model the atmosphere, wind and ocean currents. Global warming scenarios are developed with experiments involving carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect. Although this kit is geared primarily for children ages 10 and up, we can't help but think it might be a helpful learning device for the lingering group of global warming naysayers out there. Available this summer, the kit will sell for $35.

Neat-o Toys: All Season Sled

Now that winter is fleeing, we are thinking back to all the good sledding days we didn't take full advantage of.  How come there aren't more night sledding runs in New York City anyway?

We haven't solved the problem of needing to sled in darkness, but at least someone else had solved the problem of sledding in the summer. The Slicer by Ice Meister is definitely something to live in our bowl of tricks.  If we could start that summer camp, we'd put six on the shelf and have weekly races down Wipe-out Lane!  Winner gets to jump in the mud pool.

Here's what the inventors had to say:
For snow sledding, the SLICER works like any normal sled that is placed on a slope that is covered with snow or ice. But to slide down grass covered slopes, just the opposite is done: instead of putting the SLICERTM on the snow or ice, ice is put on the bottom of the SLICERTM!

Inside the SLICER's hollow, double-walled construction are two patent pending (in USA, Canada, and Europe) Icers that can be removed (from within the inside of the sled) and then used to freeze and form thin ice blocks that can then be easily attached to the bottom of the SLICER. When outdoor temperatures are above freezing, the melting ice provides for a very slippery surface, providing winter sledding fun in the summer!

The SLICER does not take a back seat to other sleds, either, when used in the winter on snow. Its smooth contoured shape and low profile runners enable it to work well on packed snow as well as deep powder. Owing to its double-walled, unibody design, the SLICER is able to absorb bumps while cushioning riders weighing up to 200 lbs. And its rugged polyethylene plastic design makes it less than the cost of many snow-only sleds.

Thanks Cool Hunting!

For The Love of Yo-Yo's

When I was around ten I learned to "Walk The Dog", "Rock The Baby", and "Round The World".  I was IT.  Why?  Because I had a YO-YO, and, boy, could I do some mean tricks!  I think it was a "Satellite" which was a butterfly shaped yo-yo that lit up when you made it "sleep".  At that time, it was pretty much the definition of cool.

What's so cool about a YO-YO?  Well, you won't ever really know unless you see a master (and then try it yourself, and practicepracticepractice).  This Saturday, if you are in NYC, will be your chance.  Come to South Street Seaport around 11A for the International Yo Yo Open.  A Japanese Action Punk band in funny costumes will perform at the end around 430P.  Read about the fun here.  If you need a Yo-Yo in a hurry, you can go here.
It's hard to recognize what's really amazing about this master unless you have really played with a Yo-Yo.  He's pretty incredible.