Review: Anko Microscope from Kmart
Awesome Introductory Microscope for Kids
Microscopes are great for STEM learning, and for creating curious kids. Whilst this microscope isn't the best quality, we think it represents amazing value and it's a great first step to see if you child has an interest in this field before spending 10 times more on an expensive one.
In this review, we take a close look at the kids Kmart Microscope by Anko, and give you our honest opinion. We look at what is in the box and go through some of the benefits kids get from using a microscope.
If you are interested, we recently reviewed the microscope smartphone converter. You place over your phone and turns your camera into a microscope. Also from Kmart.
Whats in the Box?
Firstly, it has to be said, this box is really oversized. I am not sure if this has some marketing advantage by being so large, but I think I could fit 3 or 4 of these microscopes in one of the boxes. I guess it's not a big deal, but the wasted space was really obvious.
Once you unpack the Microscope box, this is what you are going to find:
Optical Microscope: Plastic constructed featuring 100x, 200x and 450x magnification.
Magnifying Glass: 3x plastic hand held magnifying glass.
Blank Slides: 7 Blank slides for you to create microscopic awesomeness.
Prepared Slide: A slide with something already on it to view.
Blank Labels: 12 labels for your created slides.
Slide Covers: 12 covers to place over your microscopic items on the slide.
Plastic Pipette: A small pipette tool.
Stirring Rod: A plastic stirring rod.
Tweezers: Just a pair of plastic tweezers that you probably wont use.
Instruction Manual: Make sure you read it first. Safety warnings included.
Content pictures above are directly from the product page on Kmarts website.
What We Loved
There is plenty to love about this microscope, here are a few of the thing we liked:
Price: This is first and foremost. You have to forgive a few of the downfalls of this microscope when it has a price tag of $15 AU. That is unbelievable! What you get for this price certainly represents good value.
Light or Mirror: This microscope features a swivel under the stage with a light on one side and a mirror on the other. When you turn the light down to use the mirror, the light turns off automatically. A great little feature. The mirror can be used to reflect alternate bright lights through the slides.
Great Magnification: There are 3 objectives on this microscope: 100x, 200x and 450x. Seeing something at 450 times is pretty amazing for kids.
Tools Included: It is great that this microscope comes with some extra tools to help you prepare slides. The only tool you probably wont use are the tweezers. The rest are very handy and the additional slides are a must.
What Could be Improved
Every single thing in the list below must be overlooked when you think about the price of this item. We are mentioning them to give our full review, but I can't stress enough, this microscope was built to a price point, and certainly gives you great value for money.
Here are a few of the things we didn't like so much about the Kmart microscope:
The Prepared Slide: We aren't exactly sure what the prepared slide is of, but we can tell you it is super boring. Please Anko, put something a bit more exciting in the prepared slide! This is the first thing kids see when using the microscope, lets hook them in with something with colour and excitement. The prepared slide we got was just grey and boring.
Battery Inserting: When we were trying to put the batteries in, one just kept popping out/jumping out. Not a big deal, because the cover holds them in place, but a bit difficult to manage. You need to hold the battery in place while you put the cover on. Once done though, you are good to go. The cover holds the batteries in place really well.
Wobbly Arm: See the curved bit of plastic that joint the base/stage to the top section/eye piece? Its just made of plastic and when you turn the focusing knob, it wobbles easily. Might seem like nothing, but when you are magnified 450x, the small wobbles are a big deal. Once you let go, it is fine, but makes focusing hard.
Microscopes & STEM Education
A microscope is a great way for kids to learn STEM. Largely focused on science, but certainly reaching out to other STEM disciplines. Using a microscope involves doing, seeing and thinking; not to mention questioning. These all tend to create curious kids which is a great trait and will help kids later in life.
Microscopes are great for studying all kinds of science, but lend themselves to biology and geology the best. Biology is awesome as you get to see cells that are living as well as dead. You can also see their physical structure. Very exciting. Geology under a microscope is also great, seeing the structures of sand and rocks under a microscope is exciting for kids.
Tech & Engineering
For some inquisitive kids, you might even want to look into how microscopes are made from a technology and engineering point of view. Given the low cost of this microscope, it would be a great one to take apart to learn when the excitement of looking through it has warn off, or when you upgrade to a better microscope.
This Kmart microscope is a great entry microscope to see if your kids are interested in this type of science. Using a microscope is very educational and creates curious kids. We think this one from Kmart represents great value and give it a 4.5 out of 5. Well done Kmart.
This microscope comes with a few safety warnings on the website and the instructions, so we will include them here.
Warning: Choking Hazard. Contains small parts. Follow usage instructions carefully.
Not Suitable For Children Under 36 Months Due to Small Parts. Choking hazard. This experiment kit includes sharp parts. Use with care and only under supervision of adults. Read the instructions before use, follow them and keep them for reference. Keep small children and animals away from experiments. Store the microscope set out of reach of small children.
This microscope set is appropriate for children over 8 years old. If not applied, supervision of adult is required as this set comprises of sharp dissecting needle, practical sharp edge on scalpel, spatula, and pointer tweezers.
Documents & Downloads
We test drive and review the smartphone microscope converter from Kmart. A great value piece of STEM equipment for kids to learn and explore with.