Backyard Safari Bug Vacuum - Review of a Great Educational Toy

by SusanVillasLewis

Bugs can't hide from your young explorer

Ah, kids and their fascination with the world around them. Everything is new and they've discovered it. Including the bugs, although they're often too small and too fast for a kid to catch and look at. (Sometimes that's a blessing!)

Foster your child's sense of wonder while teaching them about nature with the Summit Backyard Safari Bug Vacuum With Lazer Light. This thing is just the coolest toy ever! Part of the Backyard Safari collection, it allows your child to suck up any bugs - dead or alive - for identification and study. Well, and let's face it - just because it's fun.

A great way to get your child out in the backyard this summer while subtly giving them a science lesson at the same time. Pair it with a bug identification book and a habitat for an endlessly fascinating gift.

Two Birds With One Toy!

Get them outside and learning new things with a bug vacuum

Backyard Safari Bug Vacuum

Sadly, kids need to be encouraged to spend time outside these days. (Says the woman who also spends too much time inside at a desk!)

One of the easiest ways to get them to enjoy their backyard time is to give them something specific to do, an adventure, a quest.

The Backyard Safari Bug Vacuum can be a part of that, along with the rest of the Backyard Safari line of toys. (Teach them about the weather, birding and more with these toys.) I also love the idea of a bug vacuum when it's time for that ubiquitous bug project every elementary school child seems to have to do. Ugh! Still, a safe and easy way for them to collect those critters.

I recommend this particular bug vacuum because it has three power settings so you can tailor the amount of suction to the kind of insect, and it comes with a field guide to help in identifying your capture. (Check out a more detailed insect book to supplement if you live in a place with a lot of insect variety.) There are two capture sections so you can hold more than one insect at a time and a built-in magnifying glass so you can get a closer look at that critter!

Your child will be occupied for hours trying to find bugs to suck up and release. Best of all, kids learn more about the insect world and how to identify potentially dangerous ones while having the time of their lives.

More Cool Backyard Safari Items

Outfit your young explorer for backyard fun
Backyard Safari Field Scope

With this easy-to-carry, take-it-with-you anywhere microscope, you can get six times the magnification of your favorite bugs. Simply trap the bug under the scope for a close-up ...

$12.99  $9.98

View on Amazon

Backyard Safari Field Tools

Pick, Brush, Grab, Or Probe. Whether Gathering Samples Or Excavating That Dig Site, Up Close Or In Hard To Reach Spaces, These Sturdy Tools Will Handle Hundreds Of Field TasksPr...

$14.99  $9.00

View on Amazon

Backyard Safari Binocs

The Backyard Safari™ Field Binoculars Are Standard Issue For Every Outdoor Enthusiast. The 5X30 Power Crystal Clear Optics Bring Nature Up Close In Crisp Detail. Adjustable, Rug...

$14.99  $9.92

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Backyard Safari Adventurer Kit

Adventure in high gear. Gear up for adventure with this value pack of field essentials. Includes water tight case, retractable caribiner clip, rugged mini lantern, and Pop-up Es...

Only $14.99

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Backyard Safari Cargo Vest

The Essential Cargo VestIt’S Your Most Essential Piece Of Field Gear. It’S Rugged, And Tough Enough For All Your Outdoor Adventures. Plenty Of Cargo Pockets Means Lots Of Space ...

$19.99  $13.49

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Insect Lore Creature Peeper

This over and under insect wonder lets kids study their catches from 2 views! Above and below 3x viewing allows all sides of an insect to be seen up close.

Only $9.99

View on Amazon

Where To Keep Your Bugs Once You Catch Them

After all, you do want them as pets, right?

Backyard Safari Bug Podz HabitatSo, you've been sucking up bugs of all kinds from all over with your Backyard Safari bug vacuum. What to do with the cool ones you'd really like to keep? (With mom's permission, of course!) A bucket or jar will work just fine for a few insects. But to build your own insect city, check out the Backyard Safari Bug Podz Habitat.

You can construct the habitat however you like, creating your own bug city. Each podz serves as a mini-habitat for the bugs with the tubes connecting them so they can travel from habitat to habitat. Add dirt, grass, leaves - whatever will help your insects make a home they will love. There's more than 50 pieces (that's a lot of bugs!) so you can create quite the bug city with this one. (I'll leave it up to you to decide just which insects should be habitating with which!)

Note that some people said the podz habitat didn't connect together very well, but the pieces are quite snug and your child probably won't be able to get them tight on their own. So make sure you double-check them before moving the habitat around or you might end up with more habitat than you wanted!

If you want to provide a bug home for just a few insects or for a fairly short time, check out the options below. Definitely the kind to have for more of a catch and release program.

More Backyard Safari Bug Keepers

For short or long-term storage
Insect Lore Creature Peeper

This over and under insect wonder lets kids study their catches from 2 views! Above and below 3x viewing allows all sides of an insect to be seen up close.

Only $9.99

View on Amazon


Keep your critters on your wrist so anytime is bug time with Watch-a-Bug! Just find a friendly bug, pop it in the mesh chamber and attach Watch-a-Bug to your wrist. Features an ...

$5.99  $3.00

View on Amazon

Insect Lore Big Bug Magnifying Jar

A powerful 3X magnifier on the lid of this jar makes viewing them easy! This jar features a shatterproof lens, carry handle, and the chamber is made of shatter resistant plastic...

Only $12.99

View on Amazon

Summit Backyard Safari Deluxe Wet And Dry Habitat

Create your very own natural history museum. Bugs, frogs, turtles, lizards or snakes-this habitat can be home sweet home to a menagerie of exotic creatures. A built-in pool for ...

$24.99  $14.99

View on Amazon

How Does the Toysmith Bug Vacuum Compare?

A reasonable alternative if price is a factor

Toysmith Bug VacuumAs I was looking at bug vacuums, I wondered if the Backyard Safari bug vacuum really was the best one. It's not the cheapest (or the most expensive), but is it the best value?

So I took a look at the Toysmith Bug Vacuum Set because it was half the price and had the same average star rating, although more of its stars were lower than the Backyard Safari vacuum.

My first thought was that the Toysmith vacuum just doesn't look as cool. That's totally a personal preference of course, and your child might not care about the looks as much as being able to suck up bugs. The Toysmith has just two power settings, and many reviewers complained about the sucking power, saying low was worthless and they didn't think high was strong enough. However, their kids were still able to capture insects with no problems. (To be fair, the suction power on any of these isn't going to be near what you think of when you think vacuum. This isn't a replacement for your Dust Buster.)

The Toysmith vacuum also comes with an observation tube with a magnifying lid and a pair of tweezers for bug observation. Overall, if price is a concern, a young child will probably enjoy this one just as much as the Backyard Safari option. Older kids might need the Backyard Safari vacuum with its higher power and sturdier construction.

More Bug Vacuums to Consider

Hog Wild Bug Sucking Mosquito - Super Sucking Bug Vacuum

It's the ultimate bug-sucking vacuum. Just grab the Mosquito's mid-section and aim nose nozzle at bug. Pull the tail plunger "out" to activate the vacuum force, which sucks up t...

Only $9.95

View on Amazon

Toysmith Battat Grab-a-Bug #68045

An Insect Catch and Release -- Bring this fun tool along on your next nature walk to maximize your bug catching capabilities. The Grab-a-Bug is a bug vacuum, which gently sucks ...

$14.99  $9.95

View on Amazon

Updated: 08/10/2012, SusanVillasLewis
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