Our first Magic School Bus science club kit came this week!! We were all very excited to delve in and see what it was all about. Our first kit was a Stars and Planets theme. It is not the same Secrets of Space kit that is sold on Amazon but seems to be very similar. The experiments seem to be pretty similar but there are some differences in execution or materials used. Our solar system mobile was made with bouncy balls whereas the amazon kit uses Styrofoam. Based on the picture, the amazon kit also comes with a box to make your constellation box…we had to provide our own shoebox. For the solar system poster, we cut our planets out of (provided) construction paper and the amazon kit comes with planet stickers to use. Those little things seem to be the main differences.
The kit comes with a great little manual….very colorful and appealing! And it’s printed on pretty strong paper that is holding up very well. There is a page for each experiment detailing the materials and method. Then there is space for your scientist to write results and conclusions (although this isn’t really applicable to a lot of the activities…I am thinking I might have A write her favorite part or something new she learned). There is extra info on all the pages with facts and details pertaining to that specific experiment or topic. Just extra tidbits for extra learning. The last 2 pages of the manual are a parent section with answers and more specific information about how activities should be turning out. Great for the parent that who doesn’t know which planet has rocks, unbreathable air, and clouds of sulfuric acid (its Venus!).
Our kit manual has 7 experiments. They are really more activities than true scientific experiments. The first one was to use the star and planet questions provided and make a little booklet. While not an experiment, this was a great one so that we have the questions and facts at our fingertips. A lot of this is new info for A so we’ve gone over the questions a few times already. There are also experiments that use nothing from the kit. There is one that has the kids use a cd to make rainbows with sunlight. The manual does have additional information and explanations to go with the experiment though. I do think this theme is probably a little more difficult than others for true experiments so maybe future kits will have more actual experiments.
A and I had a lot of fun with this, we did 2 activities the first day (the booklet and mobile above) and they took us about an hour. Today was the constellation box (technically 2 activities as they have the box and constellation cards as separate activities) and it took an hour, including time for the paint to dry. If we do 2 activities every other day, the kit will take us a week to complete all the activities. But the lessons on stars and planets will last much longer than that since most of these activities produce a tangible learning tool that we can keep using.
We couldn’t leave K out of the fun, even though she is definitely too young for anything in the actual kit!
A is 4.5 and I think this kit is perfect for her. She does need moms help but we planned on that anyway. A doesn’t read yet so obviously mom helps her read the instructions and information. She was able to do a fair amount if the activities herself. You do have to provide some materials…shoebox, flashlight, cd, etc. But they didn’t expect you to have anything outrageous on hand. I think this kit would be good for 4-7 years. If given the chance, an older child might be able to blow through the activities in a day or two but if its paired complementary curriculum, this kit could might a great addition to any space theme in your homeschool. Or if you have a science nerd like me, this could keep them busy and entertained during summer break! For the $10 we paid, this kit was definitely worth it to us.
We also found out what the kit themes will be for the rest of the year: acids & bases, air, bacteria & fungi, fossils, the human body, lights rainbows & mirrors, magnets, solids liquids & gases, water, volcanoes, and weather.
Here is the link to The Young Scientists site but this yearlong club frequently goes on sale so if you are interested, check groupon or Educents. The list price is $240 but I paid $120 and just saw it on sale for $108 so definitely don’t pay full price!