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Real Bugs Discovery Kit Review by Audrey Tolle

Lakeshore Learning Company
1 (800) 428-4418
2695 E. Dominguez Street
Carson, CA 90895
http://lakeshorelearning.com

This review is on the Real Bugs Discovery Kit by Lakeshore Learning Company. This kit includes 12 different bugs including a spider, leaf beetle, scorpion, stinkbug, and yellow-jacket. There is a great variety of bugs from spiders to beetles and from common to more rare. The bugs are displayed through indestructible plastic cubes that are removable and can be examined closer with the included magnifying glass. The kit also contains a little booklet that helps users identify the bugs and learn other relevant information.

This bug kit is geared towards children 3-8 years old, or preschool through 3rd grade.  It retails for $24.99.  This could be used by any homeschooling family who desires to do a unit on bugs or to those who just want a fun way to discover and observe them without having to handle them in nature.

My children are budding outdoor enthusiasts, so this bug kit was right up their alley. My son thought it was neat that you could see the bug from all angles, including underneath. Being able to see bugs up close that are not common in our area, like the scorpion was a real treat for them. However, viewing bugs that are relatively common here like the yellow jacket, was also delightful for them because they wouldn’t want to go near one in nature, out of fear of being stung. They have proudly shown off these bugs to all of their friends at our local homeschool co-op and at all their playdates. Needless to say, these are a huge hit in our home. I was fully impressed with the quality of the specimens that were collected for this Bug Identification Kit.  The bugs were beautifully captured and preserved.

One thing I noticed about the kit is that there is no way to match up the correct bug with the name in the tray without first identifying it in the Discovery booklet. At first, I thought this was a flaw in the design, as it seemed that the cube should have the name of the bug on it so it can be matched to the correct spot in the tray.  But after watching my kids search the booklet for information so that they could identify the bug, I could see that this was part of the plan so that the students can truly identify the bug and then be able to correctly put it in the spot on the holding tray.

I think the price-point of $24.99 is a great price for this kit. It will last you through all your students and then can be passed on after that for other families to enjoy. The only modification I would recommend is a way to attach the Bug Identifying booklet to the tray somehow. Otherwise, it could easily get separated and/or lost from the rest of the kit and then it would be very challenging to be able to learn about and identify the bugs without the booklet.  Our family had the booklet laminated so it will hopefully last as long as the well preserved bug cubes will. 

I highly recommend the Real Bugs Discovery Kit to homeschool parents who want to be able to look at bugs, but to whom the thought of catching them and identifying them in the traditional way is less than appealing or to parents who just need a fun way to present bugs. 

-Product review by Audrey Tolle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2016

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