Recognize any of these guys?
I didn’t either.
And in fact, when the company contacted me I initially wrinkled up my nose. Why in the world would anyone want those? I wondered. But several days later, a conversation with my science-loving daughter made realize that perhaps she would be interested, and so I wrote back and agreed to review their products.
But let’s back up.
What are GIANTmicrobes?
Directly from the company’s website:
GIANTmicrobes® are stuffed animals that look like tiny microbes — only a million times actual size! They’re humorous, educational, and fun!
Each of our GIANTmicrobes® comes with an image and information about the real microbe it represents. They make great learning tools, as well as amusing gifts for anyone with a sense of humor.
I can see some possibilities here. Especially in doctor’s offices. Or for chronically sick children. Gee, if I only I knew one of those…
I will tell you right off the bat that I much prefer the vinyl. I’m not exactly a germaphobe, but when we’re talking about toys to teach you about illness, I think they should be easily cleaned, and plush just aren’t. Especially for doctor’s office usage, vinyl is the clear choice.
Vinyl is also more fun.
Although I sort of thought he resembled a sword swallower (and maybe that just adds to the fun?), the girls got quite a kick out of the swab in the throat. They liked reading about the germs and this encouraged them to do even more reasearch on the where it comes from and the whys and the healing process. And interestingly enough, when Catie had to have her throat swabbed a few weeks later, she sat perfectly still for the process and didn’t even utter a complaint. A first for us, since my kids all despise the throat swab.
From that one instance alone I could say that GIANTmicrobes worked for us!
But with so many different varieties available, I can see many others that would be useful as well. For example, we’re trying to diagnose Catie’s chronic stomach pain right now. Perhaps a vinyl Bellie (aka shigella – stomach ache) would be nice for her to take to the various hospitals and specialists with her. He could keep her company while being tested, and doctors could use him to explain the testing to her.
Or how about the kid with chronic ear infections? He might benefit from the plush ‘ear ache’ (aka streptococcus pneumoniae), as he could squeeze it tightly when the pain comes, and doctors could use it to explain to him why it hurts, or how getting tubes in his ears will help.
Pretty much whatever the ailment, they have a bug to go with it.
And as an end result of this review, I’m sold. It’s an unusual concept that I admit I thought was pretty weird, but after having them in our house I can definitely see the uses. For my chronically ill Catiebug, GIANTmicrobes are a concrete tool to help her understand what is happening and why. And as any mother of a sick kid will tell you, we’re willing to try a lot of weird things to help our babies.
***Full disclosure – I was approached by GIANTmicrobes and asked to review their products. I received two free products to facilitate this review. I was not financially compensated, and the opinions contained in this post are my own, not purchased with plush germs.***