By: The Wife
Being that I am the science nerd in our house, it is only fitting that I throw down a review of Steve Spangler’s Science Club kits. When I was a kid, I received, as gifts: a rock tumbler, a chemistry kit and a microscope (Yes, a real one, not one of those cheesy fake ones. And yes, I still have it). So it’s a good chance that if Steve Spangler and his Science Club was around when I was a young, blossoming scientist, I would have wanted them, as well. As an adult, I secretly wish that those little brown boxes, that arrive every month, were addressed to me.
Here’s the scoop on the Steve Spangler Science Club Kits:
This is a subscription kit. You can order one, three, six or twelve months’ worth of kits. They arrive around the middle of each month, addressed to your “Chief Scientist”. In our case, they were a Christmas gift for Mackenzie from Grandma and Grandpa (they are also pretty science nerdy). Each kit contains a themed set of experiments. The ones we have received include themes like “snow”, electricity, “sweet science” (this one had candy), plants, etc. The experiments cover all the disciplines of science. The kits include most everything you need to complete the experiments, plus there is a workbook for the child, with the directions, and a “secret” guidebook for the parent/adult. The kits come in a range of prices and experiments.
$9.99/month = 1 experiment
$19.99/month = 5 experiments
$24.99/month = 10 experiments
Mackenzie gets the 5 experiment package, so this review will be based on that.
I could probably go on and on about the awesomeness of these kits. Did I mention that I wish they came to me? Here are some of the best parts about these cool kits.
- This is real science, people. Yes, it’s disguised to look like fun, neat activities, but it’s REAL science. Each kit is designed to teach some sort of scientific principal, like electricity, levers, chemical reactions, botany, chromatography, weather, etc… Oh, and they come with REAL science equipment, too.
- It’s Plastic. Yes this can be a pro and a con, but, in my mind it is awesome that all of the equipment that is supplied is plastic. Plastic = kid friendly. We’ve had some spills, but we have yet to break a petri dish, a graduated cylinder, or a container.
- It’s Safe. For the most part, the activities are kid friendly and safe. Some do use chemicals that require some caution. The guidebooks do state that these experiments should always be done with an adult, so that increases the safety. Even better, if an experiment requires safety glasses or gloves, the kit comes with safety glasses or gloves.
- The Science is explained. I reviewed the Goldieblox Kits last year, and my biggest complaint was that there was no explanation for the science principals. This is not the case with the Steve Spangler kits. First, the adult “secret” guidebook has really great explanations of the science principals that are being shown in each experiment. If you aren’t an everyday scientist, you probably need help explaining why a reaction works, or what the parts of a plant are. The adult guide books do all of this. Then, the kid’s guidebook has really good instructions for each experiment, and acts as sort of a laboratory journal. You child is encouraged to write down observations, and there are even questions to get them thinking about the science. Very cool.
- More than one experiment. Each kit has 5 related experiments, so it can provide hours’ worth of science entertainment. It is also great that the experiments build off of each other, so kids can learn how different science principals work together.
- You can always buy more. If your child loves a particular experiment and want to do it again, the supplies for all of the experiments can be purchased from Steve Spangler’s website, individually. stevespangerscience.com
Yes, sadly, I have a few cons.
- Maybe too much science in one box. Yes, I said that. Here’s the deal, if your child is reeeaaalllly into science, the 5 and 10 experiment boxes might have just the right amount of science. But, if your child just thinks science is cool, but isn’t really that into science, the 1 experiment box might be a better option. I find that we can get through one or two experiments in each box, before Mackenzie loses her enthusiasm.
- Everything is plastic. I said this can be a pro and a con. While many of the supplies can be reused, most of the containers and disposable stuff in these kits are plastic. We recycle so it’s not a huge deal in our house, but in homes where recycling doesn’t happen, that’s a lot of plastic going in the trash and to the landfill. Good science, not great for the environment.
- Not everything you need is included. Each guidebook lists all of the supplies that you will need for the experiments. Both the stuff in the kit and the stuff you have to scrounge up at home. For the most part the experiments require “normal” household items, but if you don’t have lemons or a potato, or only have really big bowls and need really small bowls, your ability to complete the experiments may be hindered.
- Can you say, messy? This isn’t a problem for me. I love a good mess. But… for some people, this is a huge deal. These experiments can be messy. We had fake snow all over our kitchen, for days. If you aren’t into your kids making a mess or you aren’t going to help them clean up. This isn’t a good activity for your home.
Honestly, I rave about the Steve Spangler Science Club to just about every parent I encounter. While there are some downsides to the kits, I have a hard time saying bad things about a product that is fun and has real science and learning, too. If you have a science minded child who is looking for ways to learn practical science at home, in a fun way, these make the perfect gift. If you are looking for a way to connect with your child and spend some quality time together having fun and learning, I would highly recommend a subscription to Steve Spangler’s Science Club. https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/club/