As featured in Parentdish

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Review of 'My first chemistry kit'

From what I gather, James Galt  has a good name as a toy manufacturer so when I was asked to review their ‘My First Chemistry Kit’ I was more than happy to oblige. While I could probably explain the basics to my children, and I did do Higher biology, anything beyond basic chemistry and physics is beyond me. In a few years time when they hit secondary school, they are going to have to rely on natural ability because I don’t think I am going to be much help.

The kit comes with a booklet of eight activities to work on with the children and I was pleased to see that you get a bit more than I expected for your money. Some of the experiments involve putting mixtures aside for two weeks and we currently have a container of a gelatine mixture sitting in the kitchen.

The box states that the set is for age five and above so I opted for letting my eight year old, six year old, and nearly five year old join me as we gathered round the kitchen table.

Having a four and a half year old there really wasn’t a problem, although I wouldn’t advise letting children younger than that get involved.

The first activity was entitled, “The case of the disappearing powders’ and memories of first year science came flooding back. Although in a good way. We discussed the differences between solids and liquids before moving on to dissolve various liquids in water.

Moving on, we used pH paper to find out whether something was acid, base or neutral and made a potion with the gelatine, which is still sitting in the kitchen (to be left for two weeks). We used the magnifier to examine granules of salt and dissolved it before leaving it to dry out to see if the salt returns.

At this point I meant to tell you what else we did – the experiments with the test tubes, the fun with the microscope, how we made a rainbow disc, but I must be honest and say that by this point my head cold has got so bad that I went to bed.

Obviously me having a head cold is not good but what is good is that this kit is more than one afternoon’s work. Our kids have received a fair number of toys in the past nine years and often the box may look large but the amount of time spent on the toy isn’t. At this point in time we are only on activity four so half way there.

The kit contains enough tools and powders to keep families busy – test tubes, several pH papers, gelatine, bicarbonate of soda. The booklet is easy to follow, giving instructions as well as providing ideas for further ‘experiments’.

The only negative thing was the microscope. It may look the part but it requires a very strong light in order for it to be used.

But to be honest I think for the price (£10.99) I think it is well worth the money. I liked the concepts it introduces to children and the fact that it demonstrates that science is not something foreign, to be kept to a school science lab. Suggestions are made for how household products can be used for scientific experiments.

The most impressive aspect was that for your money you get more than an afternoon’s entertainment. So with regards value for money, it gets the thumbs up from me.

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