Sunday, April 28, 2019

We spent our Easter Break in a technology free zone playing lots of games, experiments and activities. We were sent to review two great kits from Thames & Kosmos who produce science kits to keep you busy and to help explore STEM activities. We home school our youngest too, so these were a great activity to begin to explore chemistry and other sciences.

Amazing Minerals – excavate minerals like a real geologist! There are five different gemstones to hidden in the soft plaster material, with factual information on each in the colourful instructions.
Bouncing Planets – space fans will love making their own bouncy-ball planets in various colours. Create a coloured mixture, pour it into a spherical mould and dip it in water to solidify, and voila! A new awesome bouncing planet is formed.
Crystal Geode – this kit includes all the ingredients and instructions needed to grow your own crystals in a self-cast plaster mould, and transforms them into beautiful shiny crystal geode forms, creating a unique and mysterious spherical rock formation.
Crystal Growing – from white crystal salt and water, this pack shows children how easy it is to create their own fascinating crystals. Enclosed dye adds colour to each creation and there’s also a fun booklet to explain what crystals actually are and how their various forms develop.
Prehistoric Sea Dogs – an unusual ‘pet’ for Easter, this experiment kit lets kids breed their own prehistoric crustacean. Place prehistoric eggs into salty water and watch the larvae hatch.  Using the food included, keep them well fed, and watch the hatchlings grow into shrimps.
Molecule Beads – As if by magic, turn liquids into slimy giant molecules! Whether it’s balls, snakes or jellyfish, this kit lets children form and study all kinds of slimy giant molecules. A must for any budding slime scientist!
Monster Putty – make playful monsters or funky aliens with this amazing ‘Intelligent putty’.  The kit includes plastic parts to help with effects, but watch in amazement as the putty changes within a few minutes due to its special characteristics.
Magic Tricks – a slight side-step from science, this ‘bag’ of tricks will teach children how to perform magic in no time. Each pack includes a collection of magic ingredients and colourful step-by-step instructions, to enable children to put on their own performance.

We were sent two boxes from the STEM Labz range by Thames & Kosmos – the Crystal Geode and Sea Dogs box. All the STEM LABZ boxes are priced at £8.99 each and range from minerals to putty’s to planets and crystals. There’s really a box to explore for every interest.

The Prehistoric Sea Dogs – Slightly different from the dogs we have in our household normally this kit allowed the boys to breed their own prehistoric crustacean. You place the eggs which the kit provides into salty water and watch as the larvae hatch. Then using the food included its easy to keep them well fed and watch the larvae grow in to shrimps.

Everything you need to produce your own Geode

The Crystal Growing entertained the boys a little more I have to say and they really enjoyed this experiment. You do need a couple of extra things which aren’t included in the box such as a jam jar and yogurt pot but otherwise you’re pretty much good to go. The first step is heating up the water to produce salt nuggets which with a little help grow in the crystals on a plaster of Paris mould which you also make – the plaster not the mould- that’s included. Them with the red dye included the grows grow and you end up growing your own crystal geode.

The eldest adored all the "proper" chemical names on the ingredients! 

Each kit comes with clear instructions to follow and while the crystal growing need adult help the rest could be done with only a little assistance. They rather enjoyed being able to do a fair amount on their own and it gave them a great deal of satisfaction and I think strengthen their interest in the projects. These are great stand-alone kits and with the bank holiday weekends coming up are a great way to spend an afternoon!

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