Customer Reviews: SmartLab Toys Squishy Human Body
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on April 5, 2011
This is a fantastic tool for a homeschool unit on the human body. I use it with my 6 and 4 year olds, but it is probably intended for 8-10 year olds. (I'm a physician trying to homeschool, and so my unit on the human body is probably far from typical!)

If you don't homeschool, this is still worth having. Use it with your kids to review what they are covering in their lessons. (I believe that's technically called 'afterschooling'!) I don't think it would work well in a classroom, though. Way too small; it needs to be used with maybe 2-3 kids max at a time.

I get it out for every lesson of our human body study. We look at the system we are studying, and it is a tremendous visual aid to understand the physiology.

For example: Today we talked about respiration. The diaphragm can be tricky to explain, so I used this model. With the forceps I pushed the diaphragm piece up and down while making exaggerated sound effects. "What happens to the lungs when I push this up? What about if it pulls down? Where does the air go?" and they were able to see clearly how the diaphragm pulls air in and pushes it out. Never would've gotten that from a textbook.

I also use this model for a Charlotte Mason style of narration. I can take all of the pieces out, and as I put them back in place ask "Hand me the stomach. Which piece is it? What does it do?" The youngest child gets the first shot, and then the older can add what he knows. For review I can hand my son the forceps and ask him to "tell me what happens to food." He can trace the path of an apple through the model and explain what happens in each spot.

Visual aids are a huge asset when learning anything, but especially something that can be hard for a child to visualize, such as the inside of a body. Illustrations in a book are helpful, but this goes several steps beyond. A line sketch of "my digestive system" is good, but too abstract for a young child to really make any meaningful connection with the actual human body. This model is that connecting piece between books and the physical world.

Just a warning: this is fairly delicate. Keep away from the littles. It needs to be kept put away and gotten out for school. Let it get mixed in with other toys and kiss your kidneys goodbye!

If you are doing a human body unit, I also really like How Your Body Works, Grades 1-3 and First Encyclopedia of the Human Body (First Encyclopedias). Good luck!
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on April 13, 2012
I wanted to love this, but I just couldn't because of the poor construction. The book is a great tool for introducing kids to the human body and it does so in a fun and conversational tone. The diagram of the organs was a big hit with my kids and they spent quite a bit of time matching them up to the poster. The organs themselves fascinate the kids with the squishy, not quite slimy feel. My biggest complaint is with the skull and clear plastic exterior. The skull on our body never clicked when closed, so it would constantly fall off after we attached the exterior pieces. And don't even get me started on trying to close the case around the body. Ours just never seemed to line up right. All of the bones, muscles, and hard plastic pieces are attached with these little (very bendable and breakable) plastic knobs that fit into holes. The bones and muscles don't always fit right and we have a hard time manuvering them. If we move them around too much all of the other various pieces start falling off. I know that you are supposed to "operate" on the body with it laying down, but as soon as we stand the body up the intestines start falling out. I'm careful about not bringing the toy down until I can supervise, but I'm constantly finding organs all over the place, as they easily fall out when it's standing or when we are carrying it. It's such a great idea and a fantastic resource for studying the human body, I just wish the company had spent a little more time and money making the toy durable.
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on December 26, 2008
We bought this toy for our 4 1/2 year old grandson who is always asking questions about how his body works. The smile on his face when he opened this gift was priceless! There are many small parts included, but with adult assistance, he enjoyed taking the body parts out and examining them. The pieces are made of a very soft plastic that almost feels slimy, but isn't. The "touch" added to the mystery of the organs and generated many more questions...a very good learning toy! A chart is included, labeling the body parts for easy identification. The molded outer body is made of two pieces of see-through hard plastic that snaps together easily. (Lay the backside of the body on the table while you replace the body parts and then snap the frontside in place to hold everything together.) A fun, fact-filled book is also included - full of great pictures and facts that are fun to read. This toy was perfect for our inquisitive grandson who is able to safely play with small parts. TOY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
SmartLab You Explore It Human Body Model
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on March 7, 2012
I'm surprised by how much my 8 year old likes this educational toy. He even brought it with him to a "show and tell" at one of our home school groups. All the kids seemed to love getting their hands on the squishy organs.

This kit comes with a clear plastic body into which a skeleton snaps into place. The skeleton is probably the most delicate part of the model. It is held in place by little protruding pieces of plastic that snap into holes in the clear "skin". I would suggest you take the hard pieces in and out a few times to loosen things up before the kids do that part on their own. One of the little nubs broke off of ours right away, but luckily it wasn't the only one on that piece so it still stays in place.

The organs are made up of a similar material to these Sticky Hands, so expect them to be squishy and to pick up dirt easily. However, they do wash up well with soap and water. The squeezablity of the organs seems to be the biggest draw to the toy among the kids. It really gets them interested and asking questions about the human body.

The book that is included with the kit takes the kids step by step through the "dissection" process. Using the kit's forceps and tweezers the kids are expected to take apart the body and place the organs on the enclosed chart. The book shows a snapshot of each step and then goes on to describe the function of each part. The book is written for the kids to read themselves. It has brightly colored pictures and lots of labels that relate to things kids know about. A phonetic pronunciation follows the more complex terms such as alveoli (al-VEE-o-lie). It also includes a few "gross alerts" about scabs and zits.

The end of the book has instructions (with illustrations) for putting the body back together. If I were to do it over again, I would save the piece of plastic film that originally held the organs in place so that I could put it back on in the end. The model comes with a stand to display the body, but in the upright position the organs do have a tendency to start oozing out of the open abdominal area. For now we tucked a piece of plastic wrap over the body before we snapped the front part of the "skin" back in place.
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on October 21, 2009
This is a model of the human body that can be taken apart and re-assembled. The internal organs are soft to feel more real. It comes with a chart identifying each organ and instructions (mainly for older kids and parents) which show how to put it back together. Paired with a children's anatomy book it's a great lab companion. It's geared to older children (8 and up) but my 4 year old niece loves to take it apart and have Mom & Dad help her put it back together. She is demonstrating an amazing understanding of basic anatomy. Both her parents tell me they now know more about anatomy than ever before. It has turned out to be quite educational for the whole family.
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on December 17, 2013
The organs and bones snap in to hold them in place, problem is it doesn't stay. its such a tight fit, one part snaps in causing a chain reaction of other parts popping out. With these distractions the teaching focus is lost and quickly becomes more a puzzle project than a teaching opportunity; net-net, not a good teaching tool. Its also much smaller than I thought it would be. We returned it.
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on September 29, 2015
First, I'll say that the organs are fantastic. The kids love them because they're disgustingly realistic and squishy, and they're made well. However, the clear plastic body shell is horribly, cheaply made. It is sorely misaligned and will barely snap together without all the bones, muscles and organs inside it...and with them inside it, it will not snap completely closed at all. If you can manage to line up some of the tabs, some of the other ones will pop out of place. We spent an entire evening painstakingly trying to get it to actually go together, with no luck.

We contacted Amazon, and were promptly sent a replacement (love Amazon!). I reserved reviewing it until we tried out the replacement.

The replacement clear plastic body shell is almost as bad as the first one was. It will almost snap completely together, but there is always one particular section that is misaligned. And, it came with one of the tabs broken off (that doesn't help things). I'm not sure we'll bother exchanging it and trying a second replacement. I think we will just be asking for a refund. This is a huge disappointment for my 8 yr old, who had asked for this thing for months (he finally got it for his birthday a couple of weeks ago). Imagine it's your 8th birthday and being so excited to get something you'd been wanting for a while, and it doesn't go together properly and has to be sent back. And then the replacement comes, but it isn't much better and the plastic body shell won't fit together properly to hold in all the parts.

Edited to add: We ended up returning the 2nd one and getting a 3rd one (thanks, Amazon!) because my son really had his heart set on this thing working. I'm happy to say that the THIRD one was the charm! This one was actually packaged differently than the other two were; the box was wider with a slightly different presentation and it seems like it was produced slightly differently. Most importantly, this one's shell actually fits together and stays together once all the part are inside it, so we are finally satisfied and my son is thrilled! I don't think I'll up the rating, though, since it took 3 tries to get a product that wasn't a hot mess, and I want people who are considering this product to be aware that there may be issues with the one they receive.
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on August 7, 2009
I ordered this to teach my children about anatomy. Two days after it arrived, I found my daughters and a friend of theirs playing with it. They actually played with it for a good hour, and then they played with it again the next day for a couple of hours. It is one of their favorite toys now. They don't even realize that it was meant to educate!
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on July 23, 2013
Great instructional book and human body model. It is smaller than I thought. Other reviews warn that the parts of the body will get scattered about the house if you let young child play unsupervised. Well, my science savvy 4 year old grandson and 6 year old granddaughter started out exploring the parts and were able to put the body back together themselves. However, after a while, they created some other games and now, about half the parts are unaccounted for--I think their dog ate some. So parents, this is great for older children, it is a great tool to learn about the body, and great for younger ones with supervision. Has anyone seen a spleen?
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on September 5, 2013
I just bought this for my 6 year old daughter and we took the thing apart together. We both had a great time exploring the body together. It comes with a nice book that takes you from chewing pizza at the beginning of digestion to turning the pizza into energy for muscle. Each organ that is taken out gets put on a plastic organizer sheet. Then when all the organs, muscles, and bones are removed the book tells you how to put them all back again. My daughter liked how the organ are squishy so she understood which ones go in the body compared to the muscle or skeleton. I thought it was a great way to explore the body at a basic level with 9 removable squishy vital organs 12 plastic bones and one leg and one arm are muscle. I was extra pleased with the removable brain. Yes the skull doesn't snap to the skull cap very well but not a big deal. Also, the intestines do pop out after you stand it back up. I solved this problem with a custom cut zip-lock bag placed over the body cavity before snapping the clear plastic skin back onto the body. For the money and my daughters age I thought it kept her interest and she asked more questions.
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