STEM products are huge at the moment, for those who aren't sure what I'm going on about STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a term used to encompass these educational subjects. We've been testing out Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab (RRP £25.00 available from leading retailers), I knew that Alfie would love it anything that involves water, mess and general experimental and he is one happy boy.
One rainy Sunday a couple of weeks ago was THE perfect opportunity to open it and have some fun experimenting and messing around with the Beaker Creatures. There are several experiments that you can do and within the box is most of the kit required to have lots of fun and learning while doing so, there are few household items that are needed to do some of the experiments such as food colouring, shaving gel and oil but if you don't have these to hand you can still release the beaker creatures and experiment with mixing the coloured waters.
Included within the 15 piece set are:
- 2 x beaker creature reactor pods
- 2 x classification pods
- 2 x mini posters featuring science facts and images
- 2 x hydroplungers
- 2 x beakers
- A set of tongs and stirring rod
- Instruction guide for 5 experiments
- Full size poster to display
The super lab is fairly simple to put together but does need a little bit of adult assistance to clip the hydroplungers in to place but that is about it, less than 5 minutes to set it up and have it ready to play. Now I would definitely advise using this somewhere you don't mind getting a little bit wet and also using something that you don't mind getting a little bit discoloured as the coloured eggs do seem to release a fair amount of dye!
To find out what collectible beaker creature was inside the reactor pods you simply pick one up with the tongs provided and add to the beaker. Fill each plunger with water and clip each plunger into the super lab base, then plunge the water into the chamber.......you may need to help your children with this as we found the hydroplungers quite stiff to suck the water up and plunge it.
Once the water has started to enter the chamber the excitement starts happening, the water will change colour and depending on the pod the water might fizz and foam and spill over the edge! All very scientific and exciting!
Once the water has fizzed and foamed the beaker creature will start to emerge and you can fish it out using the tongs provided. There are several to collect and some rare editions to find. 2 reactor pods come with the set but more can be purchased individually which is good.
The children just loved it, they just love water and mess kids don't they! It was a really great introduction to science and learning about different reactions and why one reactor pod fizzed and foamed and the other didn't. It was very exciting for them seeing the beaker creatures emerge and matching it u against to poster, they are very eager to get some more reactor pods to find some more!
As I mentioned above there are other experiments that you can try....some more messy than the others! We opted to try 'deep blue sea', this one is all about showing the resistant properties of water and oil and how they do not mix, as oil is less dense (takes up less space) it will float to the top creating 2 distinct layers.
For this experiment to work (pictures further down the post) you need water, blue food colouring and a few spoons of baby oil. Water goes in one beaker and the oil into the other, you then fill one plunger with the coloured water and the other with baby oil, you then plunge the blue water into the chamber then the baby oil. You can see the layers develop and you can see little bubbles of oil appear. We liked this experiment alot, the kids spent quite a bit of time plunging the different liquids together and observing what happened to the liquids when plunged both slowly and quickly, very interesting!
After we'd finished with the deep blue sea we cleared out the oil and added more water and blue food colouring, we still had the orange water left so the kids were then free to mix the colours together and have fun making muddy colours! We then encouraged then to plunge through the water really fast and then really slow to see the difference.
This is such a wonderful way to get children interested and enthusiastic about science and encouraging them to ask questions. My husband is a physicist and he thought it was a great introduction to chemistry and asking why things happen and he felt it was great that it was so interactive. I liked the set, I wished their was a couple more of the reactor pods included for the price (£29.99) but as long as you are inventive and have some of the recommended household extras there are experiments that you can carry out. It's not a set I would advise they go it alone, adult supervision is definitely recommended else it could get very, very messy!
What did we love?
- A fantastic introduction to STEM learning, specifically science
- Clear instructions which are easy to follow
- The super lab is simple to set up, takes a couple of minutes and packs away nicely back into the box
- Can be reused with several other experiments
- Great fun and interactive. Aimed at age 5+ but my almost 4 year old got stuck in and loved plunging the water and watching the water change colour
Anything we weren't so keen on?
- As mentioned above there are only 2 beaker creatures included in the pack, for £29.99 in cost I think another coupe should be included as once you've used these all that really is needed as extra is water, food colouring, oil and shaving foam
- It can get messy! Be prepared for it water goes everywhere and the colouring from both the food colouring and reactor pods can stain
- The hydroplungers are stiff to use, my 2 found them very tricky to use and had to use quite some force, this didn't stop them enjoying it but did mean that we had to help out
I will leave you with a few pictures so you get an idea of all the fizzy, foamy and wet fun that the kids had while experimenting! If you like the look of what you see or have a child that is very much into the STEM toys then I am offering one lucky reader the chance to win one Beaker Creature Super Lab set! Entry is via the rafflecopter below so please do read on and enter.
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