Engrossing Science Toys for All Ages

Gadgets and toys bringing science closer to everyday experience are popular right now. The museum shop at the Science Museum in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward is stocked full of goods that will engross big and little kids alike.

Some of the most popular products at the shop include a solar motorcar kit (1,470 yen) created by Denjiro Yonemura, a popular science producer and writer who puts on science shows. The motorcar is solar-powered and powerful enough to race around the room. Another popular item is a remote-controlled car made from a milk carton (1,260 yen), which teaches how electricity works and, being made from an empty milk carton, is eco-friendly at the same time. The kit for observing magnetic flows (1,260 yen), where liquids assume strange shapes when a magnet is brought near, teaches about the properties of magnetism. And for those who would like to sample the food that astronauts actually eat, there’s Space Bread (630 yen), which makes a perfect souvenir of a visit to the museum. Maybe having a bite of this bread will bring the feeling of space travel closer.

At the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), Paro, a robot created to look like a harp seal soft toy, incorporates cutting-edge robotic technology and was registered in the Guinness World Records as the world’s first “animal” therapy robot in 2002. Paro is on view here and available for cuddling as well as for purchase. Developed by a government research organization in Japan, Paro is a mental commit robot that can respond to the sound of the human voice or touch, and move its face and flippers independently and respond seemingly naturally to those stimuli. Paro is already in use in health and educational facilities worldwide and is also used as an aid in children’s therapy. Simply petting cute Paro is sure to warm your heart.