The Celestron FlipView microscope is a great gadget allowing kids to study bugs on the go.
It’s really simple to operate – in fact it’s much like a basic camcorder. You flip out the rotatable LCD screen, point the lense over the subject matter, and can easily adjust the focus using a rotating dial. The FlipView can be used to take high definition photos or video (SD card not included).
It also comes with a mini tripod to observe things from a little distance away and keeps things steady. The 120x magnification is just the right level for you to see the finer details, without getting in so close you’re not sure what you’re looking at (indeed, typical scientific microscopes which zoom in several hundred times are pretty useless at looking at bugs).
It feels pretty durable and made with kids in mind. Its light and can be taken out ‘in the field’. Battery life seems to last several hours – it’s unlikely you’ll get caught short.
The world the microscope opens up is nothing short of spectacular, giving you a completely different perspective on bugs. It’s fun to catch live insects around the house and take a look at them.
But of course, they’re not named creepy crawlies for nothing, and it takes patience to get the perfect shot given that they’re scampering everywhere. You can of course find plenty of dead bugs to study, which makes things slightly easier. We found a wasp that had been caught in a spider’s web – up close you could see each strain of web encasing its body.
At £129, this gadget falls into the category of ‘top’ birthday or Christmas present. But we’ve got great use out of it, and as the seasons go by there’ll be different bugs to view.