Nancy B’s Nature Keeper and Tree Diary – Review

Nancy B’s Nature Keeper & Tree Diary from Learning Resources is a great way for children to learn about nature, and document their findings in a journal packed full of activities and guidance on things to look out for.  Also included in the set are a flower press, tweezers and a leaf press cutter.

nancybThe set includes a 28 page Nature Keeper & Tree Diary booklet, which is very informative and full of information for children to learn about trees and leaves.  Every page has activities to follow, things to observe and note down and spaces to stick samples of leaves. There is a lot to learn but written in a simple, easy to understand way, with plenty of illustrations and colour pictures to help maintain interest. Recommended for 8+, I think this was perfect for Miss M who’s a few months away from being 8, to engage her interest in nature and she was eager to collect samples.

nancyb 2As well as the nature journal is a flower press.  This proved very popular with Miss M and she collected a whole bag of samples for us to use inside.  The press is very easy to open and close with velcro fastenings and inside has layers of card and paper with which you place the samples within.  We had a selection of small flowers and a few leaves which we carefully laid on the sheets and then closed the press tight to let them dry out.

nancyb 3nancyb 4We left the flower press for 3 or 4 days before opening it to ensure the samples had plenty of time to dry out but couldn’t wait to see the results.  The items we had  placed inside had become incredibly thin and flat, and importantly retained their colour.  Miss M was fascinated as she hasn’t seen anything like this before so I explained that they were very delicate, hence why the tweezers were included to enable us to pick them up.

nancyb 5The dried leaves and flowers can then be used for art projects, pictures etc.  Miss M is currently making a birthday card for her Nanny at the end of the month using these, which I think will look very beautiful once finished.  What a great way to incorporate nature into crafts and this Nancy B nature kit is a lovely introduction into nature, trees and flowers with a mixture of facts and activities to keep children engaged but learning at the same time.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the nature set in order to write the review.

Nancy B’s Scientific Microscope and Activity Journal – Review

Nancy B is a former science teacher and science enthusiast who always longed for a microscope as a child.  She has now invented her own range of science tools to help children engage in the world of science and enable them to investigate and experiment themselves.  Each tool comes with a colour page activity journal with lots of ideas of things to do and it’s a place to record and document your findings.  The range is aimed at children 8+ and includes a Microscope, Moonscope, Aquascope, Binoculars and a Crime Solver Scope.

We were sent the Nancy B Microscope from Learning Resources to try out which comes with an activity journal and an impressive array of accessories.

Nancy B microscope 1The set includes:

  • Microscope
  • Activity journal
  • Tweezers
  • Scapel
  • Spatula
  • Stirring rod
  • Test tube
  • Pipette
  • Specimen vial
  • Petri dish
  • 7 cover slips and slide labels
  • 4 prepared slides and 7 blank slides

The Nancy B Microscope is a great piece of equipment.  It does require 3 AAA batteries in order for the light to work but the detail you can see through it is incredible.  It comes with three different magnification levels, 30x, 100x and 400x.

Nancy B microscope 2It has two lights, a top light to see 3D views and a bottom viewing light to see through things.  There is a focusing knob that easily turns either way, a rubberised eyepiece for comfort when viewing and a specimen holder with clips and a adjustable stopper to hold items in place.

Miss M who is getting ever closer to 7yrs old was keen to start observing.  As she is at the younger age for this range, I carefully showed her how to operate the Nancy B Microscope and assisted her in finding specimens to view.  We started with the pre prepared slides which I think are a fantastic idea to be included with this set.  On these we had items such as a peacock feather, a goldfish scale and some wool.  It was amazing how miniscual these samples were and showed that you don’t need much of a sample in order to see fantastic detail on the objects.

Nancy B microscope 3She was eager to be hands on and put items on the slides herself, using the included tools.  She also took the sample pots in the garden with her to collect small items to look at.  We used the activity book for ideas which I have to say is also fantastic.  It really does guide a child through using the microscope and starts with really basic objects before moving on to more interesting ideas. Everything is detailed in step by step stages, it has been really thought through and written for a child to follow and understand.  They are also spaces for the child to write their observations down, becoming a journal to look back on.

Nancy B microscope 4Some of the simplest ideas start from drawing some pen lines on a piece of paper, using a pen, pencil, crayon etc and then seeing what the difference is between them close up.  We then looked at the skin on our face by putting a piece of sticky tape on our cheek and peeling it off to look at the results. You can also look at cells from inside your cheek, different foods and of course anything from outside although I did have to remind Miss M as she dashed off to find some bugs, that the journal does say to only use dead bugs and don’t kill them to view them.  We did manage to find a dead fly on the windowsill and hope to find some other things over the summer.  Flower petals and leaves were interesting, in fact your possibilities are endless, keep trying different things, you may be surprised at the results.

Our most exciting sample was a drop of water from a pond,  Although the pond was covered in algae, the drop we took using the pipette looked clear, but in fact under the microscope, there were two micororganisms dashing about across the drop of water.  Miss M found this very exciting and we all jumped up to take a look.  Even Mister B showed his interest and wanted to take a look although we did hold the microscope carefully while he did this.

Nancy B microscope 5

I think the Nancy B Microscope is excellent.  It really helps children to engage in science and gains them many new skills through using this.  Miss M has learnt how to carefully collect samples using different tools, how to prepare the slides and how to operate the microscope.  She did require a little assistance focusing sometimes as depending on the object, different levels of magnitude were better but she did get the hang of the focusing knob and learnt how to move it away from the light so as not to crush the specimens!

I think the included accessories are excellent, I wasn’t expecting such a range but there really is a tool or pot suitable for every sample.  I think the design and quality of the Nancy B Microscope is great too and see it as a lasting piece of equipment that will be used time and time again.  I’m sure it will come in handy for many school projects and homework too, so definitely see this as a valuable piece of equipment that your child can enjoy over many years.

Why not take a look at Nancy B’s science range yourself, whether your child loves nature, water, the stars and sky, there is a piece of equipment to suit everyone!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and the microscope was sent to us in order to write the review.