We are massive fans of the Usborne Flap Book series, to which this is the latest addition. They are robust (great for in classrooms, or for when your kids fight over them, as ours do), they are hugely informative, they are exciting to read, and they’re just lovely to look at.
In fact, I think there’s a lot to be said for flaps. They draw out curiosity (who wouldn’t want to know what is hidden behind a flap), they introduce drama to reading (what’s going to be revealed…?) and they keep hands busy (great if your reader isn’t one who likes to sit still), so See Inside Inventions was already looking like a winner, even before we started reading.
And when we did start reading, we loved the book even more: It’s always exciting to read a book and feel you’ve learned lots of interesting things.
To see if See Inside Inventions might be a book for you, why not take this mini quiz and see what you might learn?
Do you know your inventions?
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Both are definitely great books. See Inside Inventions has a slightly narrower focus than The Story of Inventions, the former looking mostly at 19th century western inventions. I can imagine that See Inside Inventions works better with a younger age range of kids than The Story of Inventions, primarily because the format (rather than the content) is more appealing to little hands and minds. Certainly J (3) loves the flap book, but hasn’t spent any time with The Story of Inventions, whilst M has really enjoyed both books.
And on Sunday you could find out for yourself about these two books, as I’ll be giving a way a mini-bundle of the two of them…
The section on the invention of the telephone in See Inside Inventions inspired us to make our own tin can telephone. It was with some trepidation that we set out to do this; I couldn’t believe it was really going to work. Yes, I’ve seen people talk about tin can telephones, yes, they are almost a staple of childhood lore, but do they, would they really work for us?
To make our tin can telephone I got two empty tins of Golden Syrup. These tins are ideal because they have reusable lids, and so when you remove the lid, you have an empty tin with no sharp edges.
I then stuck a piece of blu tack on the bottom of the tin, in the centre, and used a bradawl to make a very small hole. You want to make sure that the hole you make is barely bigger than the diameter of the string you are going to use to connect the two tins to each other. By placing blu tack (or modelling clay) underneath, it makes it easy to apply the pressure to create the hole, without damaging your table.
Once the holes were made we threaded kite string through and knotted it on the inside of each tin. And Lo! Our telephones were ready for testing.
To our utter delight, and almost disbelief, the telephones worked really well! The kids thought our voices sounded a little like aliens, but it really was perfectly possible to hold a conversation down the wire.
It was so successful we decided to up the length of wire in our telephones. In the picture below you can see M at the top of the hill listening to her dad (circled in blue) over 100 metres away.
I don’t know whether we just struck lucky in that we had great, safe tins and kite string to hand, or whether tin can telephones are always this successful, but I certainly urge you to give it a go (here are some possible tips on optimizing a tin can telephone). I think it would be a great project to do down a long street, or across a school playground.
Whilst making our telephones we listened to:
Other activities we could have tried having enjoyed See Inside Inventions include:
Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review remains my own and honest opinion.