Outdoor Fun with Uncle Milton Toys

By Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock Publisher August 15, 2012
We recently received several National Geographic Outdoor Explorer Toys from Uncle Milton to review, and my boys were practically drooling from the moment they saw the packages. My older son joined Boy Scouts last year and my younger son is joining this year, so they get very excited about new toys that will take outdoor exploring to a whole new level!

We started with the All Terrain Nature Collector (pictured above), a super cool “grabbing” instrument with a clear, plastic collection dome to allow for safe capturing and viewing of insects and very small animals. Air holes allow the creature to breathe while being observed. So far, they haven't actually caught anything (but it sure was fun watching them chase after the fly in our house) so we are going to use it to study rocks and wood chips as well. The toy is solidly made, and the recommended age is 5 and up.

The next toy we tried was Earth Tag, a kid-friendly slingshot that uses foam balls (included). The Explorer Adventure Guide, which is tucked into the cardboard backing of the packaging, offers some fun suggestions for using in an outdoor environment. Mostly, my boys just wanted to shoot them at my husband though, which they did. Fortunately for him, the balls are made of foam and our sons aren't great shots yet. We are going to encourage NOT shooting them at people. The recommended age is 8 and up.

Kids will certainly feel like a "real" adventurer and explorer with the 4-in-1 Explorer Navigation Tool! With a compass, signal mirror, thermometer, and whistle, this gadget is first on our packing list for our upcoming camping trip. I still haven't figured out how to use the compass, but my husband has promised to teach me. The thermometer seems to be fairly accurate (registering 76˚ inside our house; our digital thermostat claimed it was 74˚), and the whistle will certainly scare off any bears or mountain lions (and most adults within earshot, but my boys can manage that even without a whistle!). This gadget is recommended for 5 and up.

Best of all, my kids were interested in nature and excited about exploring. I'm thrilled that they are playing with toys that can connect them with the outdoors and require imagination. We are all eager to take these on our camping trips into the "real" outdoors and see what we can discover about the world around us!

Uncle Milton provided these toys for our review. The opinions expressed are my own.