Product Testing: GeoSafari® Jr. Critter Habitat
Name: Jo from Pickle & Poppet
Age of children: Reuben is 3 and Jessica is a baby
“Jo is a Parenting & Lifestyle blogger and enjoys writing about family life. This can be anything from toddler tantrums, children’s activities and days out to reviewing books and everything in between.”
What were your first thoughts when the toy arrived?
When I first saw the Critter Habitat I was impressed with how sturdy it felt. You could tell that it was well made and would survive the rough handling of my three year old! Reuben was interested in what it was for and what we could do with it.
How did you use it?
The first time it was used Reuben and Daddy caught a spider to look at. Reuben has been a bit nervous around spiders and this helped with him being able to look at them. We’ve also been outside collecting leaves, stones, and snails. We’ve put them inside the habitat and had a look through the magnifying lenses to see the detail and pattern on the leaves.
“We’re looking forward to taking it to Nanny’s house to see if we can catch a frog in her pond to have a look at”
What are the educational benefits?
As the habitat is a large clear plastic container you are able to use it to observe a wide variety of things from leaves to bugs. We talk with Reuben about what we have caught – simple things like how many legs he can see on a spider, but as he gets older we will also be able to use it to help with school projects. We can then talk more about what he can see and what the different parts of the creatures do.
What did you like/dislike about the toy?
I really liked that it is made of sturdy plastic and that it is strong enough to last when Reuben drops it, which he will do. I also like that it has four lenses that you can look through and that they are situated on different sides so you can look as the same time as your child and talk about what you see together.
“There is also a part that you can take out to put food into. If you have a live critter in there you can watch what happens when you feed them.”
There were a couple of the lenses that seemed to be blurry with the items that we had put in there. I’m not sure if maybe they were too small but that was a little disappointing.
What is the long term appeal?
I’m not sure if you would say it had a long term appeal. I think it will last a long time and that it will be something that is brought out of the cupboard when you go to the beach or to the park. It’s probably not something that would be ‘played with’ all the time. Certainly in Reuben’s instance it is one of those things that once you’ve looked at what you’ve caught the appeal has gone, but then he is more interested in searching for things to look at. I imagine this might change with age.
Is it unique?
I’ve seen a few different ‘viewing’ toys to encourage children to look at wildlife but not one that can house both wet and dry habitats, its normally one or the other.
Would you recommend it to a friend?
I would recommend it as it is a sturdy item and it is a great price. There are many ways to use it and it is something that will grow with your child. At the very least, it will encourage them to go outside and look for things to view.
The Final Score
Fun Factor: 3/5
Educational Benefits: 4/5
Ease of use: 5/5