Disclaimer: Publishers and product manufacturers provide Raising Nerd books and products for free in return for our writers’ honest product review and Nerd ratings. We are not compensated in any way for our positive or negative reviews. All thoughts and opinions expressed in our reviews of books, toys, and other products are our own and not influenced by the companies that provide them and/or their affiliates, in any way.
Raising Nerd will always disclose, upfront, that we have received the product/book for free in exchange for our honest review.
Raising Nerd Review Criteria
The Raising Nerd rating system goes from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) Nerds. Though not terribly hardcore or scientific, we try to base our reviews and ratings on what Nerd and their parents will like/love about the product. Some common-sense criteria we use as guidelines for our Nerd reviews include (but are not limited to):
- Input from our kids (assuming the product/book is age-appropriate for our kids) – How do the kids relate to the product before, during, and after using it. If the product is beyond their skill level, we may mention this in our review, but only if relevant (i.e., if it’s rated for kids 10+ and is too complex for our 4th grader, we would use/play with the product ourselves to complete the review, as necessary).
- Quality of materials/durability – Are the materials durable, cheap, etc? If assembly required, once assembled, is the product sturdy or fragile? Does the product stand up to normal use/play. Also, if an art/craft product, will parents mind keeping it around to display or will it just add to household clutter?
- STEM/STEAM value – Are kids learning something while using the product – a skill, a STEM principal, a creative way to solve a problem – that will benefit them now or down the road? Does the product/book stretch their imaginations?
- Playability – Is the product/book engaging? Is it easy for kids to play right away or are their complex instructions/rules? Will they need help from parents to set up? Are kids having fun while learning? Will they return to play again and again or get bored easily? Can kids and parents enjoy together? Good for solo play? If a book, is it a page-turner that the kids won’t put down or will repeatedly request to read/have read to them?
- Cool, Nerdy qualities of the product (i.e., intangibles) – Is there any “wow factor?” Is the product innovative? Is it different/better than anything else out there? Is it a must-have for a Nerd?
- Does it deliver on its marketing promise (for toys, electronics, etc)? Does the product do what it’s supposed to do? Does the book leave kids wanting more? Are kids excited for the next chapter or book in the series?
Our Nerd Rating System
Promoting Review Posts
As with any other post on Raising Nerd, we promote our product/book reviews across several social media channels, including Twitter (@RaisingNerd and @SEBeller), Facebook (Raising Nerd page, several parenting/blogging groups, and our personal pages), and Instagram.
Typically, we will post to each social media outlet at least twice to promote the review. We also encourage those submitting books and products for review to share and promote our reviews through their own media and marketing channels and do so as often as they like.
Unfavorable Reviews (i.e., 1- or 2-Nerds)
Raising Nerd aims to find both the positive features and possible flaws in everything we review. In short, we want to focus on positives. If we think there are problems with a product, we will say so. Occasionally, we may have an overall unfavorable opinion of a product or book based on one, some, or all the review criteria outlined above. If that’s the case, we still will always try to provide:
- A clear explanation and context for our negative views of the product/book
- A recommendation for how we think the product or book could be improved in future versions, and
- At least one positive feature of the product.
Raising Nerd posts all reviews regardless of their Nerd rating.
A Word About Our Gift Guides/Buyer Guides/Wish Lists
Occasionally, Raising Nerd publishes gift-buying guides (particularly around the holidays) to assist busy Nerd parents who may be looking for cool, engaging STEM/STEAM toys and other products for their kids, but don’t have time to shop around. These guides are compiled entirely by Raising Nerd staff based on our own preferences, experiences, and shopping searches, on- and offline.
As is the case with our product/book reviews, we are not compensated for including any particular product in our guides (e.g., toy, book, electronic device, etc). However, we may include a previously reviewed product or products on a gift/buying guide, especially if we gave it a positive, 4- or 5-Nerd review.
How To Submit Products and Books for Review
Raising Nerd is happy to accept proposals for STEM/STEAM-related toys, electronics, and books for review from manufacturers and their marketing/PR representatives. We ask that all products/books be suitable for kids in the K-12 range. Please forward your brief review proposal by email to Imperfect Dad with the subject line “Nerd Product [or Book] Review Request” to: sbeller [dot] wordsmith [at] gmail [dot] com
We try to respond to all review proposals within a reasonable timeframe, but given the number of requests we receive, you may not hear back from us for up to two weeks.
Should your proposal be accepted, your product review may take up to 6 weeks to complete and post to our site from the date the product is received. Book reviews may take a little longer – up to 10 weeks – depending on length (e.g., board books vs. middle- or high school-level chapter books) and time of year (summer or winter holidays can be tough for us, especially when our kids are out of school!).
We will provide a shipping address upon acceptance, and request additional materials (images, links, etc.), as appropriate.
Although Raising Nerd does not allow submitters to read or provide direct input to our reviews prior to publication, we may contact you with any follow-up questions or to get clarification on product features, as necessary.
Raising Nerd periodically offers products as giveaways through online “sweepstakes” – i.e., random reader drawings with no purchase required for people to enter or win. If you would like to provide additional products for giveaway, please note this in your email proposal, and we will consider conducting a giveaway in conjunction with the product’s scheduled review.
What Do We Do With Products After We’ve Reviewed Them?
Unless our kids really love the product or book we’ve reviewed (and we have room in our home to keep it), Raising Nerd typically donates the books and products we review to local schools and/or other family-focused nonprofit organizations.