Magic School Bus Science Club Subscription Review – August 2015
Magic School Bus Science Club is a subscription box for kids 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 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.
This month’s topic is AIR! OK!
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 nine-year-old son.
Here is a look inside the booklet at some of the experiments and their format. Much of the important information is included in comic book dialog format, which I think is perfect for kids this age (especially boys). As I’ve mentioned, I do wish they would stick to the scientific method, though!
These are all the raw materials that were sent to us this month. One thing that I have to say about Magic School Bus is that they do NOT send you everything you need. Fortunately this month was pretty light on materials needed from home. No extra trip to the grocery store was required.
One of the activities was making this twirly snake. It’s just a spiral cut of cardboard hanging from a string, but when held over a heat source, the warm air pushes upward and makes it twirl. Hot air rises = lesson complete!
Another activity was to shrink air. We crushed up some ice and put it in this water bottle, then shook the bottle for a moment. It’s a little hard to tell, but the bottle collapsed inward a bit. This taught us two things. First, the air inside shrunk because cooling causes substances to contract. Second, the air pressure on the outside of the bottle pressed down on the bottle to help it collapse.
The other activities this month weren’t very photographable. One was the trick where you put a piece of cardboard over a full glass of water, invert it, and the cardboard holds, demonstrating surface tension (I think?). We also burned two votive candles, one under a tall glass and one under a short one. This demonstrated that the flame uses air (oxygen) to burn. So when there was less oxygen, in the shorter glass, the flame died more quickly.
Verdict: I didn’t have high hopes for this month’s topic, to be honest. Air just seems so boring! But I was actually impressed with all the good, easy activities that Magic School Bus came up with to teach important science lessons around air. MSB can be very inexpensive if you find a good coupon, and for that reason, I think this can be a very good value. The lessons, of course, are invaluable, but the activities in MBS tend to be quite like the ones kids this age do at school, whereas more expensive subscriptions provide materials and projects that children don’t usually have an opportunity to try at school. Overall, I think Magic School bus is a quality subscription to reinforce science lessons at a very reasonable price point.
What do you think of Magic School Bus Science Club?