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Little Passports: Science Expeditions “Buoyancy” Review

Becca Peterson
ByBecca PetersonNov 5, 2022 | 0 comments

Little Passports: Science Expeditions
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Little Passports is a subscription box that helps kids explore the world through fun and educational activities and is one of the best subscription boxes for kids as voted by MSA readers. They offer a range of subscription options for ages 3-8+, as well as "Individual Activity Kits" that can be ordered along with any subscription at the time of purchase.

This review is of the Little Passports: Science Expeditions (recommended ages 8+) for $27.95. This box includes science experiments, plus a comic book related to the monthly theme.

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This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)

Science Expeditions: "Buoyancy"

With a bachelor's degree in Laboratory Science, you can bet that science is kind of my jam. Not only do I love the information gained from reading about science but find hands on activities an absolute must for some of these concepts. When I became acquainted with Little Passports: Science Expeditions, I was so intrigued to see how effective learning could be when paired with something fun, and I have to be honest: my kids love it! Complete with a comic book, supplies, and educational background, this monthly box is packed with knowledge not only for kids, but adults too! We couldn't wait to discover just what kind of experiments a theme like "Buoyancy" could include. Read below to find out what we discovered.

Buoyancy Comic and Activity Book

 

Every month, Little Passports sends our monthly activity along with a really fun comic and activity book pertaining to the monthly theme. For our "Buoyancy" theme, we read an exciting comic, and discovered that the density of an object affects its buoyancy through an extra experiment about floating fruit. This booklet is not only informative, but really teaches specific content using colorful and engaging story lines and activities. 

 

Hank has suddenly become very interested in graphic novels, so this comic has been extra entertaining.

Buoyancy Instruction Guide

 

After learning all about density, buoyancy, ballasts, surface tension, and volume in the comic book, Hank and Charlie couldn't wait to dive into this month's projects. There were 3 experiments listed, and my kids didn't know where to start off first! The projects have easy-to-follow instructions, so the boys were able to follow along pretty easily, until it came to the paper marbling project, which we will talk about later. I also want to note that this month's projects require quite a few materials from home, so you probably want to read through the instructions before starting.

We have discovered that it is always a good idea to read through the instructions first to make sure we have all of our material accounted for and know what is expected for each step.

Project 1: "Float Your Boat"

 

The first experiment this month utilized mechanical engineering, nautical architecture, and physics. The only material included was 9 aluminum square sheets. Needed from home were coins, water, paper bowels, and a basin. In this experiment you will build three boats of different shapes and see how many coins each boat will float.

 

Hank was pretty excited when he read the instructions for this experiment, because they actually did something similar in his 3rd grade science class last year. With ideas already brewing, he tried a variety of boats, and tested them out in the water basin. While the instructions suggested using coins as weight, Charlie wanted to wash off his polished agates, so they decided to see how many agates each boat could hold instead of coins. For such a simple experiment, the boys really enjoyed this process, and made a "replica" of the R.M.S. Titanic with additional aluminum foil, discovering that because of its wide bottom it could carry the heaviest load!

Project 2: "Wave Maker"

Our second experiment used fluid dynamics and chemistry to create an ocean in a bottle with waves of blue water. Included was a water bottle with a screw cap. Needed from home was water, food coloring, paper towels, and oil.

 

With only 4 steps, this experiment didn't take long to make, but seemed to be a slight flop. Hank easily followed the instructions, but because we didn't have a clear oil, our waves turned a bit green and were hard to see. We also may have gone a little heavy with the food coloring, so while it makes for a cool sensory bottle, it didn't make waves as clearly as we had hoped.

Project 3: "Paper Marbling"

 

For our last experiment of the month, we received sticks, paper, a sponge, powdered methylcellulose, powdered alum, pipettes, and acrylic paint. This project focuses on the area of chemistry and requires quite a few items from home. These include water, tablespoon and teaspoon measuring tools, a shallow tray, small cups, clean disposable container with a lid, dry rack or rags, bin, tray or sink, and strips of newspaper. Be aware, this project is messy and takes over an hour for prep and 30-40 minutes to create.

 

For our last project, there were a lot of very specific steps, and like I mentioned above, it was messy. It needed a lot of supplies from home, and I was a little overwhelmed with the process—and we were met with a few bumps along the way, but did eventually make it. To start, we had to make the liquid base called "size." This was produced by mixing hot water and 2 tablespoons of methylcellulose in a disposable container with a lid. I struggled to find something to put this in, so used an ice cream bucket. Bad choice...the mixture caused the bucket top to expand and launch off—thankfully outside as I noticed the expansion and ran through the door. Whoops! Once the "size" was created, we set it aside to cool, and made our alum-soaked paper, the pattern rake, and the thinned-out paint. After our "size" cooled, we set it into a cookie sheet and were ready to rock and roll.

 

Once the "size" was placed in the pan, we added drops of color and swirled them around creating fun marbled patterns. Once you have your desired effect, you can dip your paper in, pick it up, and submerge it into water to rinse off the excess "size." After they were created, we laid them on a drying rack to dry, and plan on sending them out as postcards!

Buoyancy Badge

 

After we completed our activities, we were awarded the Buoyancy Badge as a tribute to our hard work and play!

Verdict

This month's Science Expeditions Little Passports kit was packed with three experiments that helped us learn about buoyancy all through play. It's geared specifically for kids 8+, and the boat and wave maker activity were easy for my 7- and 9-year-old to complete—but they needed guidance with the paper marbling. This particular theme was fun and took a fair amount of time, which, depending on who you ask, could be a good or bad thing. When it comes to activities, we enjoyed all three, but do wish the kit contained more of the items needed. I feel the $27.95 price point is a little high based on the physical supplies you receive and would have been more impressed had they thrown in more paint colors, or at least the oil and food coloring. Overall, we had an enjoyable time learning about these science concepts and are excited to send out our marbled postcards! What did you think about this box?

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To Wrap Up

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? You'll start with the Forensic Science box in the first month, followed by a different themed box each month thereafter. 

What do you think of this month's box

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Recommended for ages 9+, the Science Expeditions subscription will "help Sam and Sofia solve real-life scientific mysteries every month through experiments, hands-on activities and more!" Your first kit includes a science case and lab notebook that can be used with future boxes. "Our subscription... read more.

Becca Peterson
Becca Peterson

I am a wild and crazy mom of 2 boys and work in the public education system. I love all things outdoors, beauty, crafts, and food. And absolutely adore my high school sweetheart! 


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