Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Big Bag of Science

Big Bag of Science

Fall 2010 Toys
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Be Amazing!
Price: $39.99

The Big Bag of Science is an extensive kit containing the supplies for over seventy science activities in a wide range of interest areas. From basic color mixing and the classic vinegar-and-baking-soda volcano to green slime, artificial snow, and exploding Mentos and diet soda, the kit runs the gamut of projects every kid wants to try. Most projects can be performed independent of adult supervision.

The science is seldom deep, and many of the activities are far from being experimental, being instead simple fun activities. For those interested in learning more science, background explanations are provided in the instruction book. Our testers enjoyed learning about polymers and superabsorbents, amazing materials not usually covered in at home science kits. Other standout activities involved ultraviolet sensitive beads and procedures for testing sunscreen.

The extensive kit was not perfect. Parents should be warned that the picture-less instruction book is filled with typos and confusing errors. A notable nomenclature mistake involves something called "non-newtonian powder", as named on the list of contents. In the instructions it's called quicksand powder, and on the package it's described as cornstarch. Another disappointment was the inconsistent quality of the activities provided. The last seventeen are just filler; they mostly involve putting or storing things like flowers and travel shampoo in the nice screw-top test tubes. Finally, we wished for more examples of practical uses of the science explored.

The kit often relies on products you would be unlikely to find in a standard chemistry lab (such as the aforementioned artificial snow and green slime), but it includes all of the unusual items, and asks only for household items one is likely to have on hand. The kit never fails to be fun, and our tester pulled the bag out nearly every day for weeks and continues to turn to it on rainy (and not-so-rainy) days. Even after many hours of fun, our testers were nowhere near exhausting the list of projects.

Emily Crawford   ©2010 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Look for this product at:
Be Amazing!
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers
Fat Brain Toys

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