The girls and I have made a pledge to have used every single kit in the house by the end of the summer. We are far too guilty of hoarding nice things to do rather than actually doing them. I’m also desperate to get some stuff out of our house; the planned conservatory is unlikely to actually get built any time soon but the room which currently holds junk will soon have to become a little boys bedroom so we really need a good clear out. Doing some kits will definitely aid that process!
This week Josie got round to making a bouncy ball kit that a friend gave her for her birthday. We’ve done polymer experiments in the past with good, home made, success but this was a chance to try it out with some other ingredients.
I’ve no idea where the kit was from, so I can’t possibly link to it, but it produced a very nice and usable ball. Josie was delighted with it. She really enjoyed seeing the mixture change states, being able to produce the swirls with it and feeling it become less sticky as it set. The mould worked very well I think and the texture showed very clearly how the mixture actually set and solidified.
Next up was a kit from Miniland Educational, a range we will shortly have for sale on PlayMerrily. This is a simple crystal making kit, something we should do more of probably as it makes for good and very visual kitchen science.
The kit itself is nicely put together; one of the things that appealed to me when I was considering selling these was that everything you need is in the box, including comedy but very well made safety goggles, stirring stick and tweezers for the extension activity. Possibly the best thing is that an after effect of the kit is that you have a really nice metal tin, ideal for storing bits and bobs.
The instructions were simple to follow, though I laughed at the ‘slightly translated from Spanish’ feel to them and the only thing we found was that we needed more water than suggested to get all the solid to dissolve. Still, that lead to discussion on saturated solutions and how and why crystals form so although it might mean it takes longer before they form, we thought it was probably okay to add more water. We’ve got a second crystal growing branded box we are going to try this week too, just for comparison.
Maddy tested out one of the skeleton kits from the same range. Again, these are intended as a fairly simple representation of the figure but she really liked it and has ‘jumped on’ by having it to hand, to looking at anatomy in books and websites. I often find this is the way with science kits that can be bought at this price range. It’s not always the doing of what is provided that produces all the learning, it’s engaging and exploring beyond them with their interest piqued that really develops their knowledge.
Last up actually wasn’t a kit and started as art and craft. One day when Josie and I were home alone (well, with Ben but he was asleep!) she wanted to make some coloured rocks. She gathered them and stuck tissue and glitter glue over them and then said she wanted to put them under Freddie’s tree. This led to some conversation about water proofing and how we can make things resist water to preserve them and why we would make things from different materials or use different products to cover them. We tested out PVA glue on these as a way of making them weather proof, which was by and large successful.