A few decades ago I majored in Engineering. I took Physics and Honors Chemistry and discovered that… I’m lucky to have met a Chemistry major who thought I was cute. With his help, I scraped by and changed my major. It was then I knew that I was, for lack of a better term, “unsciencey.”
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Last year we spent time working through a science textbook that we found a little dry and, as a result, our love of science was waning. This year we decided to forgo the traditional science curricula and spend more time focusing on child-led interests. So, I paid close attention to what the kids were finding interesting to find avenues to pursue these areas in depth. This required a lot more focus on my part, as I didn’t have a book or lesson plan to follow. I had to adjust my plans as the interests changed. Here’s what I discovered and what I used to help us fall in love with science again.
My kids love science experiments. I mean they really love doing experiments. I, however, do not like all the planning involved in doing experiments – not to mention I’m not all that “sciencey.” But, as luck would have it, I married a “sciencey” person. When the science gets over my head, I call on him.
One of the ways I’ve found to alleviate some of the extra planning was to purchase kits that already had the supplies and the plan that I needed. Below are some of the kits we used this year and what we liked and didn’t like.
Tinker and Kiwi Science Crates
- We LOVE Tinker/Kiwi Crate! These crates come with everything you need to build the projects. Inside a crate, you will find a blueprint for your project and a book that explains the project and provides extra projects.
- The girls love putting them together and the best part is that they don’t need supervision from Mom! This gives them independence and they feel great about their accomplishments.
- They come in age level subscriptions. My youngest, 8, uses the Kiwi Crate, while her older sister, 10, uses the Tinker Crate. We have purchased the Koala Crate for our younger cousins.
- They are relatively inexpensive at $17 per crate for a one-year subscription.
Steve Spangler Science Kits
- These are fantastic STEM boxes loaded with everything you need to pull off some great experiments. Each box comes with a parent guide, a kid guide and lots of cool stuff.
- These kits require help from an adult. The experiments are more detailed and need a little explaining (this is where the “sciencey” husband comes in).
- Each kit has enough materials to provide for 1-4 children, so you generally only need one for a homeschool family.
- These kits only have one age level and are recommended for children 7 and up.
The Magic School Bus Science Club
- These kits are based on the popular Magic School Bus books and TV series.
- Each kit contains a detailed, large 12-page colorful manual that is full of experiments and topic information
- These kits also require help from an adult. The manual contains a section for “non-sciencey” adults (though I’ve had to call in Mr. Sciencey on occasion).
- The kits contain most of the materials you will need. Occasionally, you will need some common household items like tape, paper or bowls.
- An Online Clubhouse and monthly emails help parents to coordinate Magic School Bus books and videos with the monthly kit.
- These kits are for students aged 5-12, though my oldest found them a little young.
- Each kit can accommodate multiple children.
- Educents usually runs a sale on these kits. Watch for 50% OFF a year’s subscription… and FREE shipping in the Continental United States. Ships to Canada for $2/month. This is a great deal at just $10 per month.
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