Groovy Lab in a Box Subscription Box Review – March 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
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
Check out all of our Groovy Lab in a Box reviews!
This is the lab notebook, which includes instructions for all the activities, along with questions and places to note your observations. This month’s theme was “Water Works”! It’s all about growing plants using different hydroponic systems! My nine-year-old and I have been working in our garden together, and this actually ties in really nicely!
This is the table of contents for the lab notebook, so this should give you some idea of how many different projects and activities are possible every month. This doesn’t even include the online content!
This is a look at some of the instructions for one of the projects. There are plenty of graphics to ensure that we can follow along successfully, and there are notes to make sure we don’t make some of the common mistakes. These things are really helpful because the instructions can get a little intense.
These are all the raw materials that were included for use in the experiments. They were not split out into different experiments because items are typically re-used in multiple experiments. I am a big fan of re-using materials, especially the box itself. All we had to supply was a pair of scissors this time!
This is the first hydroponic system my son and I built. It’s just a pitri dish, half filled with water, with wheat grass seeds sprinkled in. This picture was taken five days after we set this up, and some of the grass has already sprouted. Cool!
This was our second hydroponic system, which should look familiar to many of you. We put a very wet paper towel and some beans in a test tube and have been keeping it wet. After five days, you can see that the beans are finally (just barely) beginning to sprout. If we can keep them going until they have leaves, then we will transplant them in the garden and see what happens.
This was our third hydroponic growing system. We made a tent out of wet sponges and toothpicks, then sprinkled alfalfa seeds all over it. We also made a tent out of straws, rubber bands, and clear plastic to keep in the moisture while allowing light to enter. After five days, we have alfalfa sprouts!
Here is a look at the alfalfa sprouts without the tent. I have a feeling these will end up on my husband’s salad very soon!
This was our fourth, and by far most complicated, hydroponic growing system. This is a hanging planter, and when hung, the cups go from right to left, top, middle, and bottom. The top (right) cup is filled with water crystals that we fully hydrated and then sprinkled with radish seeds. The middle cup we filled with water marbles that we again fully hydrated, then sprinkled with onion seeds. The bottom (left) cup is empty. It’s almost impossible to see from the photo, but there is a string that goes from the bottom of the top cup to the middle cup, and from the middle cup to the bottom cup. What was supposed to happen is that excess water from the top would drip from the top to the middle cup, and from the middle to the bottom cup, and we could take the bottom cup out and use it to re-water the top cup. In reality, that never really happened; we only got a couple of drops of water in the bottom cup. I’m not sure if we never gave it too much water, or if we made the holes for the drip cords too small. In any case, the radishes have not yet sprouted, but you can see that after five days the onions were already starting to get tiny leaves!
Verdict: Groovy Lab in a Box is absolutely PACKED with activities to do with your child. It literally takes weeks to get through all the activities! The value is definitely there. This month was particularly interesting to both my son and I, and I learned about 100 times more about hydroponics than I ever knew before!
I have said before that I think this particular subscription might be better suited to older kids, and this month really proved my point. There is a lot of material, and it’s pretty intense, BUT, if you have a child who’s particularly interested in science, and you’re willing to help him or her out, it can still be a great fit. It is always true that I have to help my son out with certain steps that require better fine motor skills than he has yet developed. I don’t mind doing that, and as I’ve said many times, I enjoy doing all these projects with my children. This month, there was a step that involved pushing toothpicks through sponges to anchor them together. It was really hard, so I did it for my son. At one point, I was pushing and the toothpick broke. It wasn’t a big deal, because I am an adult, but I got some splinters in my fingers and one finger bled quite a lot. If this had happened to my son, I would have been pretty unhappy.
I am not rescinding my recommendation of Groovy Lab in a Box at all; I still think it’s a highly educational box and possibly the best STEM-related box out there. I just can’t recommend it for children under age 11 or 12 without careful parental supervision. Just something to think about if you are considering educational subscriptions for your little ones!
What do you think of Groovy Lab in a Box?