Magic School Bus Science Club Subscription Review – Jan 2015
Magic School Bus Science Club is a subscription box for kids that is based on the books and television show “The Magic School Bus” and teaches children about science topics through hands-on activities. The subscription is part of The Young Scientists Club and was developed by a team of Harvard graduates, scientists, and educators!
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
The Subscription Box: Magic School Bus Science Club
The Cost: Regular monthly subscription is $19.99
Ships To: US only (free)
COUPON: There is no current coupon, but I wanted to mention that interested families on a budget can find the annual version of this subscription very frequently on Groupon, LivingSocial, or Amazon Local for 50-75% off!
The Products: Every month, Magic School Bus Science Club sends an activity booklet with seven “experiments” and most of the materials to complete them. Each month is built around a science topic.
Check out all of our Magic School Bus Science Club reviews!
This month’s topic is states of matter! This is the activity booklet. This is one of my favorite science topics, and I was happy to share this topic with my son this month.
Just as a note, if you are hesitating on this subscription because of some shortcomings you might have in science yourself, there is an answer key in the back of the booklet with some notes for parents. They also have a fairly robust set of online resources for you to read up on.
For the purposes of this review, I will only highlight a few of the experiments – enough that you get a good idea of what this subscription is all about. Magic School Bus Science Club is appropriate for ages 5-12 (per their website), and I go through these activities with my eight-year-old son.
These are all the raw materials that were sent to us this month. A few of them were used in multiple experiments, and it always makes me happy to have less waste!
This month’s experiments were all about different states of matter, so there was a lot of goo, slime, and other things that little boys love! Unfortunately, a lot of it didn’t make for impressive photos. For example:
This is the result of an experiment in which we mixed vinegar and milk – can you guess what happened? Of course! The milk curdled! While there are many potential science lessons to be taught (as well as an important cooking tip) from this simple experiment, the point to this was to show that sometimes you can mix two liquids and get a solid. That’s a really good lesson that is not always evident in daily life!
This is one of my favorite experiments of all times. We mixed cornstarch and water, which makes the ultimate crazy chemistry outcome, a substance that changes from liquid to solid with *pressure*. You can actually drum (kind of rapidly and firmly) your fingers on the surface of the goo and they won’t get wet! It will feel like you’re drumming your fingers on the counter top! As you can see from the conclusions, my son learned the lesson well. In addition to the directions they give here, we poured a little of the goo out on the counter and hit it with a hammer. It actually shatters into solid shapes, then immediately turns back into a gooey mess!
The last experiment we tried was making a bouncy ball out of slime (a glue and food coloring solution), borax and water. As we added liquid to the slime, it became more and more solid, which is kind of mind-blowing to an eight-year-old! I made a bouncy ball with the same ingredients with my six-year-old a month or so ago, and it was oatmeal colored and didn’t bounce, so I think we learned something about technique with this experiment also. This ball was a great color and bounced really high!
Verdict: I mentioned last month that I have mixed feelings about this subscription. I wish that they included more of the materials that are needed; for example, this month we had to go buy some cornstarch and some baking soda. I don’t think it would have pained them much in terms of cost to include a couple of tablespoons of each. I also have a pretty strong academic objection to naming these activities “Experiments” and soliciting “Conclusions” when there is no hypothesis stated. However, if you can get past those points, this is a really fun subscription that does a great job teaching beginner STEM concepts. Their experiments are not as original as some other services, and in fact, they are pretty basic. However, they definitely get the point across for a very low price point (especially if you can find a deal on a coupon site). My son learned, among other things, that liquids can make solids simply by mixing, pressure can change a substance’s state, and that working liquid into a soft solid can make it more solid. That’s a lot of important learning for an eight-year-old, so I’m happy.
What do you think of Magic School Bus Science Club?