Here’s a cheap gadget that trades on an old practice for kids that adds some new tricks.

It’s the old bug in a jar thing. You know, out in the woods, running around with a jar and trying to find a creepy-crawly to put in it. Then when you caught something, you didn’t know what to do with it - what to feed it - or whether it would bite. Now, with this gadget the “jar” is a bell-dome that sits on a platform and has a 3x magnification. And - the “jar” is a sound chamber with headphones.

A powerful 3X magnifier enlarges your performing bugs so you can see every detail. Put on the headphones that come with the Panopticon and listen. A microphone under the special sound stage picks up and amplifies every move and noise your bug makes! I guess you could call it an electronic gadget because it does run on AA batteries.

Big Bad Boomin’ Bugs is an $18 science toy that lets you get up close and personal with your captured insect specimens.

This and other buggy projects and information are available at this one site called The bug things I saw ran from $4.99 to $24.99, which fit into my definition of cheap gadget. There are books about bugs too. Lots of cheap gadgets and toys to interest kids from 6 (to 60).

The design of the site along with being buggy, is quite colorful and fun. The site has a great use of Flash or Java to animate. Kids (and you) should enjoy it. Check out ONE CHEAP GADGET AT INSECT LORE.