I recently saw a blog post about taking pocket microscopes along during nature hikes. I was skeptical about how well these would work, but curious enough to order six of them from Amazon ($2.59 each and free shipping). After using them for a week, we're crazy about them! Not only has it cultivated curiosity in my girls (ages 8, 5, and 3), but you can even take PICTURES with the microscope using your smartphone. We've observed and photographed leaves, flowers, aphids, bark, skin, hair...you get the picture.