Groovy Lab in a Box Subscription Box Review – January 2015
Groovy Lab in a Box is a monthly box overflowing with science experiments for you and your child to explore together. Recommended for ages 8+, this service encourages children to use their natural engineering skills to solve difficult problems and create solutions while having fun!
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
The Subscription: Groovy Lab in a Box
The Cost: $26.95 / month with free shipping, less for longer subscription options
COUPON: Save 20% on your first box with coupon code GROOVYNOW20
The Products: Every month, Groovy Lab in a Box sends a 20+ page lab notebook and everything required to complete the STEM-based experiments inside.
Ships to: US & Canada
Here’s a peek at the lab notebook. This month’s experiments are all about the states of matter!
These are all the raw materials that were included for use in the experiments. They are not split out into different experiments because several items were re-used in multiple experiments. Less waste – I definitely like that!
My 8-year-old son and I dove into this box together, and it took several weeks to get through all the experiments. There are loads of experiments included, plus a “Beyond the Box” section where you can go online and learn even more with additional activities! Some of the experiments, however, did not make for interesting photography (e.g. “melt an ice cube in a cup of warm water”), so I am only going through four of them in this review.
“Ice Fishing” was one of the experiments included this month. This is a picture of the experiment instructions. Groovy Lab promises that everything will be included, but for this experiment, we had to dig up a mini figure that would be small enough to freeze in a small cup of ice.
This is the page in the lab notebook where the child is to write down his or her observations and predictions. I think this is really true to lab notebooks that older students and professionals might keep, so I was impressed with that!
We froze our little dinosaur in a cup of water, and then we placed the end of our ‘fishing pole’ (a pen with a piece of string on it) on it and sprinkled it with an included salt packet.
It’s hard to tell from this picture, but this is a picture of my son pulling up on the fishing pole after 50 seconds. The ice is supposed to come up with it. It didn’t! I’m not sure what we did wrong, but this is our only experiment that failed. They included some chopsticks to make the top of the fishing pole, but those were in use with a different experiment, so we used a pen. I’m not sure why that might have mattered, but it seems worth mentioning.
It wasn’t a complete failure, though! I was able to show my son that very quickly, the side with salt had melted much more than the side without salt. I think that’s good to know!
This experiment showed that pressure is another factor in melting ice. (Sorry for the picture of the side of our craft table and the floor!) In this experiment, we froze three baloons full of water – two round and one cylindrical. Once they were frozen, we tied the two round baloons together with some copper wire. We took the balloon off the ice cylinder and built a little platform for it with the chopsticks and duct tape. We then hung the wire with the weighted ends over it.
This is what it looked like 20 minutes later. If you look closely, you can see that the wire is cutting through the ice. The pressure from the wire caused the ice to melt in that one little band!
This is the result of another experiment, once that shows the transitional nature of matter, moving from solid to liquid and back to solid very quickly. Groovy Lab included some color tabs that we dissolved in water to make these three chunks of ice different colors. We then froze three little molds of different colored ice. My son was not feeling very creative so the top two chunks are almost the same color. He then used a pipette to squeeze a little water on the top of two of the pieces of ice, and then he stacked the whole thing up, such that there was water between the three levels. After a moment, he was able to pick up the whole column by the top chunk of ice! It had frozen together, without using the freezer!
As an aside, the background of this picture is parchment paper. Groovy Lab thoughtfully included some parchment paper and instructions on how to use the box to create a little waterproof tray. I appreciated that!
This was our favorite experiment, although I don’t think it technically was an experiment so much as a fun craft. We made a candle holder out of ice! The ‘candle’ is a little electric tea light that Groovy Lab included. We filled a cup with water and then put a smaller cup inside, taped it all together, and froze it. It turned out really cool!
I like it even better inverted into an ice lantern! My son put a touch of purple color in the water before we froze it. It was beautiful and it lasted all day, indoors. I think if we ever have an event outdoors in the winter, we should make these and put them everywhere! So pretty!
Verdict: Groovy Lab in a Box is awesome! There are tons of experiments, most of which turned out really great and had important lessons, fully learned. It really does provide a lot of activities and literally hours of learning for a very reasonable price. I think it does an excellent job of preparing kids for STEM-based courses later in life, especially lab work. If anything, I would say that there was almost too much for us to do to get it all completed in one month’s time! Fortunately, Groovy Lab also has a bi-monthly option, so you can receive a box every two months and take your time if you wish. The 8+ age recommendation might also be a little ambitious. My son is almost 9, and he’s very smart, but there’s no way he could have completed everything without my help. I would say 9+ would be a better recommendation. He definitely learned a lot, and I’m really grateful for that!
I would also like to say that I very much approve of Groovy Lab’s re-use of materials. The box was turned into a tray upon which experiments were completed, and as I mentioned, many of the materials were used in multiple experiments. I appreciate that eco-consciousness.
What do you think of Groovy Lab in a Box?