Whether you are a hobbyist, are a homeschooler or have kids with an insatiable curiosity for the world around them, you may find that microscopes make amazing holiday gifts. Microscopes are one of the most versatile presents, providing entertainment and learning opportunities for both kids and adults, and they can be enjoyed for many years.
Now that the school year is in full swing and the holidays are closing in at an alarming rate, it may be time to start considering gifts for those hard-to-shop-for family members. Here are five reasons why you should consider purchasing a microscope around the holiday season.
1. They Are Educational
To a child, a brand new shiny kid's microscope kit all wrapped up in a bow looks like a fancy, high-tech toy. And it's true that a high-quality microscope can provide hours of thrilling entertainment as it reveals previously hidden worlds to your child. Unlike this year's latest gaming system or character-inspired toys, microscopes lay a foundation for future learning.
It's fun for kids to put a leaf on a slide and see the internal structure, and it’s even more captivating for them to discover how chloroplasts move from cell to cell. Microscopes take entertainment to the next level and show kids that learning can be inherently fun.
2. They Encourage STEM Learning
Any time a child reads or makes a discovery about themselves, he or she develops new pathways in their brains and learn something. Microscopes promote all kinds of learning, from problem-solving to critical thinking skills.
They also are a fantastic way for kids to be introduced to STEM subjects. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education helps kids understand how the world around them works and should be introduced to them at a young age. Schools strive to continue STEM education throughout their curriculum in the hopes that students will pursue higher education in the science and tech fields. Doctors, researchers, engineers and coders were all once students who developed an interest in STEM early on.
3. They Replace Screen Time with Family Time
A kid's microscope kit makes a great holiday gift for the whole family. Getting kids away from the television or their tablets can seem like a herculean task. Numerous studies have shown that too much screen time has adverse effects on child development. Not only does it directly hinder cognitive development and shorten kids' attention spans, but the screen exposure can also lead to childhood obesity and sleep disorders, two conditions that set the stage for many other health concerns.
Replacing screen time with real-life learning not only prevents or reverses the problems associated with screen time but can also be used to increase the amount of time families spend on projects together. Children have less anxiety and higher confidence levels when they engage in more activities with their families.
4. They Connect Learning to the "Real World"
Microscopes also have a first-rate ability to help children of all ages connect textbook lessons about microorganisms or cell structures to the world around them. Even the best textbook illustrations and microscope photography pale in comparison to collecting a sample of water from a nearby pond to examine first-hand. Seeing single-cell organisms swimming around on a slide makes lessons on protozoa seem real, rather than just photos found in chapters about abstract worlds they'll never be a part of.
5. There Are Great Specials Around Holidays
High-quality microscopes can be expensive. That's why the holidays are often the best times to purchase microscopes and their accessories—there are many great deals on all types of products. Even affordable student microscopes can be hard to come by, but holiday specials will often help you find the best bang for your buck.
Like a lot of technical or scientific equipment, microscopes are generally priced corresponding to quality and, in the end, a cheap microscope won't last very long. Luckily, even microscope manufacturers are well-attuned to the gift-giving seasons and offer lots of specials to remain competitive with other markets.
Microscopes are great presents all year round, which makes them a perfect holiday gift idea. They are one of the best gifts for young and old alike, as they last for many years, and their usefulness can grow the more their operator learns. From a child's first backyard slide to a deep-dive into the world of microbiology, the addition of lenses and even cameras can transform your microscope into an up-to-date device year after year. This is one gift every family should consider.
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