Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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Review: Toy Forensics Kit by Action Toys

Detective Jake always get his man monkey! This rascally monkey stole this men's watch. How did the Detective Jake figure out the monkey was the culprit? . . . By finding and analyzing clues with the help of a toy forensics kit from the Action Toys Curiosity Kits line.

When the box arrived, my 5yr old wanted to open it right away, but I told him that he had to wait until his brother's and sister's naptime because they were to young to play with this toy. You can imagine how torturous that was for him.



This Deluxe Investigation Set includes the following:

  • Fingerprinting Kit

  • Secret Powder for Dusting for Clues

  • Binoculars

  • Handcuffs

  • Black Light

  • Flashlight

  • Tweezers

  • Evidence Bags

  • Numbered Evidence Cards

  • Suspect Cards

  • ID Badge that says JBI (Junior Bureau of Investigations)

  • Crime Scene Tape


You do need to provide your own writing utensil, a photo for the JBI identification badge, and 2 AA batteries for the flashlight. You also need to bring along your imagination.


After my dear husband helped our son explore each part of the kit, Jake decided his favorite parts of the kit were the handcuffs and the binoculars.


Although the other aspects of the kit did have a neatness factor, I think that they were a little beyond Jake's realm of reality. Usually, he is able to play with toys that have a slightly higher recommended age range. The recommended age for this kit is 7. At 5 years old, he is not watching forensics shows on television yet. He knows that you use binoculars to look for things and he understands that the bad guys get put in handcuffs, so that is why those two things are the parts he enjoyed the most. Even though my husband showed Jake the purpose of each component, he still kept going back to the cuffs and the binoculars.


My thoughts about this toy forensics set from Action Toys:


1) The idea behind the kit is a promising one.

2) Perhaps it would be a good idea to make a smaller kit for younger detectives in addition to the complete kit for the older ones? Some of the items will be wasted on a younger child.

3) Some of the components of the kit did not work well. The black light seemed like it barely had enough energy to work and the button on the flashlight got stuck repeatedly so that my son could not turn it on without an adult's assistance.

4) I like that, even though the handcuffs came with keys, they have a button release and do not require keys to unlock them. Keys get lost and it is nice to know that the play will not end should that ever happen.

5) The finger printing kit works well, but the ink is a little hard to wash off your hands.


Overall, I think this kit would be good for a child age 7 or 8 years . . . maybe even 9. A child younger than that cannot appreciate the science behind forensics. A child older than that will want the kit to perform better than this one does. A child of 7 or 8 will bring lots of imagination to the table, will be able to understand the logic behind each component of the kit, and their imagination will fill in the gaps where the kit falls short. If you are considering purchasing this kit, you need to remember that it is a toy and you cannot expect it to work as well as a real life forensics kit.