Amazon STEM Toy Club Review, Ages 5 to 7 – National Geographic Mega Crystal Growing Lab
This subscription looks like any other shipment from Amazon, with no exterior branding on the box or special insert.
There are 3 age range options:
- 3-4-year-olds (counting, building, and cause and effect)
- 5-7 year-olds (hands-on experiments and explorations of electricity, earth science, and simple math)
- 8-13-year-olds (more complex projects and experiments based on principals of physics, chemistry, and engineering)
This is a review of the 5 to 7-year-old age range Amazon STEM Club, $19.99/month.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About This Educational Subscription Box for Kids
The Subscription Box: Amazon STEM Toy Club
The Cost: $19.99 per month
The Products: Each month you will receive a different, age-appropriate STEM toy.
Ships to: U.S. (free shipping)
December’s Toy: National Geographic Mega Crystal Growing Lab
National Geographic Mega Crystal Grow Lab – Retail Value $39.99
This month our toy comes from National Geographic and is an awesome crystal growing kit with a few extras that really made it stand out! This is meant for ages 8+ but I think that since adult helpers will be doing the majority of the work, it is still a good kit for any age to enjoy.
We received several different information sheets and even a coupon for 15% off a geode kit from National Geographic.
They included a great learning guide and also provided a book filled with translations in several different languages.
The guide was filled with large, detailed photographs and information about what a crystal is and how it is formed. My kids enjoyed looking at the pictures in this book and it had enough tidbits of information that I could pick out for them to understand and appreciate even though they are quite young at two and four.
The book also provided several images of different types of crystals, which was very appealing to them, of course!
They even sent us five different gemstone specimens which we were able to identify easily from our book.
I actually had my son match the gemstones to their images in the book which he loved doing!
This kit included a light up display for us to use with our crystals once they are formed which I thought was something that really took it that extra mile to make this kit feel incredibly special.
I tested it out with the gemstones we received and it really made our crystals glow!
I appreciated that they kept our lab manual separate from our learning guide. Not only did it make it easy to access the necessary information, but I also didn’t have to take the learning guide away from the kids while I checked out the rest of the kit and then again later when we got to work on growing our crystals. This booklet is filled with a ton of safety information and helpful tips in addition to the step by step directions. It was very easy to follow.
The supplies included four silicone cups, four lab experiment containers, a mini magnifying glass, and a stirring stick. The silicone cups also had a fill line so that we could use them as a measuring cup if we really needed to.
We received this big box containing our crystal growing powder and the accompanying packets of seed rocks. The colors we received are red, purple, green, blue, yellow, orange, pink, and a glow-in-the-dark set. So cool! I love that they provided so many different crystal colors for us.
The larger packets contained our crystal growing powder.
The smaller packets contained our seed rocks.
We decided to start slow with two crystals and my son chose blue and I chose the glow-in-the-dark because, how could you not? I set up our area with two large bowls for mixing, our stirrer and packets, and a measuring cup, and then got some water boiling.
We added one cup of hot water to the bowl and then I slowly added the crystal growing powder as my husband stirred. The directions were to keep adding it and stirring until the powder was no longer able to dissolve in the water. We used close to the whole pack for each crystal.
We carefully supervised as my son stirred, but this was pretty much the only thing he could really help us with. This was why it was so essential that we had those extra gemstones and the learning guide to keep him occupied.
Then we poured the mixture into the silicone cup being careful to leave behind any bits that weren’t dissolved and then set it aside for 15 minutes.
We were looking for light, warmth, and stability so I opted for a high shelf in our dining room where the kids couldn’t get to it.
After 15 minutes, I added the seed rocks and used the stirrer to make sure they were in each cup with the flat side down.
One of the great tips in the book from avid crystal growers (I didn’t know this was a thing!) is to cover the cup for the first 24 hours because it can help your crystals grow even bigger. I decided to try it out and covered one while leaving the other open so that we could compare.
This photo is the next morning and I used my flash since I couldn’t get a good photo and it immediately started to glow! How fun! While we can see crystals forming already, it takes about 7-10 days to fully grow them. At that time, we simply remove our crystals from the water which will be made easy with the bendable silicone cup, and then we use a spoon to carefully take out the seed rock from the bottom. Doing this will create a nice hole in the center of our crystal meaning that when we add it to our light display, we will really be able to get a great glow!
UPDATE 1/9/2019: Well it has been 10 days and our crystals are done growing! I figured it would be nice to give you an update on how they turned out!
The first step after dumping out the liquid and removing our crystal (which was indeed, very easy due to the bendable cups), was to remove the seed rock from the bottom of it. I really thought it would just slip out easily with a spoon, but no! I had to really dig and in the process, I had to dig away some of the base of our crystal. I’m not sure it was actually the crystal or just a bit of excess stuff built up, but either way, it definitely took a good chunk out of the bottom with it. The glow in the dark (clear) crystal was easier than the blue one, but both were very delicate and I ended up accidentally breaking our blue one (which also stained my hands a little, by the way!).
Even though that part was tricky and our blue crystal broke, I still think they turned out pretty awesome and having that cool light display to put them on really set them over the top! The kids were definitely excited and loved the way they turned out! In the end, it was definitely worth it for just a little bit of mixing and waiting to be able to grow our very own crystals! I attempted to get a photo of the clear crystal glowing in the dark, but I just could not get it to turn out. You’ll just have to trust me that it looks pretty cool when it glows!
Verdict: This was such an awesome toy from Amazon’s STEM Toy Club this month. While the intended age is older than the age group for this box, I still think it was a decent one to send out because either way an adult would probably be doing the majority of the crystal growing and the kids will get enjoyment from the finished product as well as the included gemstones and guide. I thought it was great that they included enough materials for us to make eight different colored crystals and also included a fun display light to make it feel even more special once the child has their own home-grown crystals to show off. What is even more incredible is that this toy retails for $39.99 and we only paid $19.99, including free shipping, which is a fantastic value! Overall, I’m happy and I know the kids are super excited to see how their crystals turn out.
To Wrap Up:
Value Breakdown: The cost of the subscription was $19.99 and we received a toy valued at $39.99. That’s a savings of $20.00 on this toy.
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