Reviewed by Louise Totton
My eldest daughter is getting to an age where she’s getting harder and harder to buy for at Christmas. She thinks she’s getting too old for lots of toys, but isn’t quite at an age yet where she can get overly excited about clothes or cosmetics. Which can make it quite difficult! She always asks for lots of stationery items for Christmas, as well as crafting items but there’s only so many gel pens and writing pads that she can actually use, so I have been somewhat stuck.
She is in year 6 at school and has very much been enjoying studying history and geography at school of late. We have also just started the tours of our different high school options, and the first department she always asks to go to is the Geography one – her knowledge of countries, languages and oceans have both impressed and surprised me. When people say kids are like sponges, they’re right as she has clearly soaked up a lot more knowledge than I would ever have thought she had, especially as she is dyslexic so can sometimes struggle a bit with the written word!
Given as she clearly has a real interest in geography, and she does learn better from a more practical hands-on approach (and I loved educational presents!), I thought that one option for a present for her would be to get her a globe. I always wanted to own one when I was a child, but was never lucky enough, so I suppose a chunk of it was that I wanted a globe in the house too, but I had a good idea that she’d love it. We have previously been fortunate enough to try out lots of educational items from the fabulous Thames & Kosmos, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me that they have a number of globes in their range too. From a light up kids’ first globe to a standard student desk globe, and even a globe that illustrates how day and night work, there is lots of choice and something for everyone.
We wanted to keep it simple, so chose the classic Student Desk Globe, which is a large, clear globe on a tilted stand. It doesn’t feature a nightlight or any bells and whistles, it is the kind of globe you would expect to see in a school classroom, which is exactly what we were looking for. The globe came really securely packed in a lovely box, which got my daughter excited about its contents from the moment she saw it.
Contained in the box is the globe on a stand as well as a little information sheet which explains time zones, the grid system on the globe and the compass directions, as well as longitude, latitude and the equator. As I said before, the globe is a very good size, with a 10 inch diameter so it is perfect for smaller children as well as older ones – it is suitable for ages 5 and up. It is made from a durable acrylic plastic, so whilst it does feel quite lightweight, it is also super durable and should last kids of all ages for a long time.
We loved the clear and classic style of this globe and we all (including my 7-year-old) had great fun looking at it, discussing where we had been on holiday and I think it truly helped them to appreciate just how vast the world is! We looked at and discussed how long we spent on the plane to Cyprus when we went on holiday, and compared that amount of time to what a small portion of the world we had travelled! I actually found looking at the globe as interesting as the kids did, and I am ashamed to admit that I never realised that Japan was pretty much due north from Australia, just how vast the Pacific Ocean really is or even where Hawaii actually is!
I used the globe on the desk with a desk lamp to show the kids in a very simple way how day and night actually work, and the little plastic disk on the top of the globe allows you to not only demonstrate time zones, but to also work out what time it is in different parts of the world at any given point.
My daughter has loved this globe, and I honestly think that it has kept her as busy and entertained as an expensive toy or gadget might have done. She has learned an awful lot from it, and I have noticed that she reaches for it an awful lot. We have the news on in our house every day, and I have noticed that if she hears about somewhere in the world on the news, she will take it upon herself to go and get her globe to locate whereabouts the place in question is, improving her knowledge of not only geography but also current affairs and the world around her.
I think it is very reasonably priced, with an RRP of £30 and I know that she will get an awful lot of use from it over the years. For kids of that awkward age, where you’re just not sure what to get for them, I think this makes a wonderful Christmas gift, and I would imagine it’s something that most kids won’t already have!