Disclosure: My cousin received the following for review. All opinions are her own.
My kids received a Magic School Bus kit from the Young Scientists Club. They offer a few different kits, but the one that we got is Growing Crazy Crystals. The science kit is designed for ages 5 and up, so it worked out perfectly for my (almost) 5 year old son and 8 year old daughter. They were excited about trying some of these experiments because it was raining all day Saturday and the kids were bored being stuck in the house with no plans or scheduled activities. The crystal kit came with most of the basic supplies needed. I had to supply a few household items, most of which I already had on hand, such as baking soda, food coloring, sugar, Epsom salt, etc.
We started off with ‘Arnold’s Experiment.’ I began working on the adult task of creating a solution with boiling water and baking soda, while the kids set up the rest. They bent a pipe cleaner into a star shape and suspended it over a jar using a popsicle stick and string. Then we added food coloring to the solution and left it to sit for a couple hours to wait for crystals to begin forming on the pipe cleaner. We reserved a portion of our baking soda solution to help with our next project, ‘Carlos’ experiment.’
For this next experiment, we had three separate petri dishes that we used to dye the solution different colors, creating paints. We then used the paint to ‘paint’ on a glass. When the ‘paint’ on the glasses had dried, the kids were able to observe tiny crystals made of baking soda growing on the sides of their glasses. The crystal kit comes with a small magnifying glass, which the kids were excited to use to get a closer look at their creation.
One of their favorite activities was ‘Keesha’s Experiment #2.’ Once again, I was in charge of the adult task which involved boiling water, this time to create a solution with the Epsom salt. The kids used the 3 petri dishes again to create three different colored ‘paints’ with food coloring. The kit comes with labels that the kids could stick on to the petri dish covers to use as labels. For this experiment, the kids were painting on black construction paper. Later, after the designs had completely dried, the kids were thrilled to see how their pictures had turned out and to examine the crystals growing on the black paper using their magnifying glass.
The kids were very engaged with the activities in this Magic School Bus kit. The kit came with an observation chart poster, so the kids could record their findings over the next several days. I think it is important to encourage a passion for science from a young age. I was very pleased with their enthusiasm; and I think I will definitely be ordering more science kits from the Young Scientists Club in the future. The instruction manual was very easy to follow. I felt that this kit allowed my kids to explore their curiosity about nature in a fun way, where they didn’t even realize they were learning something.