Category Archives: Cool Products

Larry's Lab Polymer Science Kit – 12 Days of Wonder

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

We have reached Day #6, our halfway point in our 12 Days of Wonder. Today’s spotlight science toy is Larry’s Lab Polymer Science Kit.

Steve Spangler Science is celebrating the 12 Days of Wonder and highlighting our top 12 science toys and kits that are perfect to put under the tree. As blog editor, social media coordinator and mom of two budding scientists, I will share my review of each product. Steve Spangler Science also found 12 respected, popular mom bloggers to each test and review one of our 12 science gifts. I will include a link to their blogs and their honest reviews of each gift idea at the bottom of this post. Today, Liz from The Kitchen Pantry Scientist shares her review. The kit is also the Deal of the Day. So check our blog every day for the next few weeks to learn all about our 12 Days of Wonder.

Day 6 of the 12 Days of Wonder features the Larry’s Lab Polymer Science Kit.

Today only, this kit is our DEAL of the Day for $26.99. Regular price is $44.99.

 

My Review: 

Water absorbing polymers are some of the most fun and engaging science tools in our catalog. They are ooey, gooey, fun to touch and just plain amazing. I have never met a child or adult that could resist touching and playing with them.

Polymers are long chains of molecules. Some polymers can also absorb a great deal of water. They are called superabsorbent polymers.

Larry’s Kit comes with my favorite water absorbing marbles and large orbs. The large orbs are colored, but the Jelly Marbles are clear and can be colored using food coloring or Fizzy Tablets. They are fun to touch and play with or you can use them for a few lessons in light refraction and magnification. I’ve used Jelly Marbles as ghost eggs and eyeballs at Halloween, a flower vase accent in the spring and frozen them as candle holders at Christmas-time.

Tis the season for Instant Snow. This kit also includes a jar of the original fake snow. You can make snow in seconds by adding water to this dry powder. Kids will beg you to make snow in their hands over and over.

Gravi-goo is a slippery, snot-like goo that will slip and slide when poured between two cups. Add a few Jelly Marbles to the mixture and you really have gooey glop. Gravi-goo will also pull itself out of the cup.

The  final jar in the kit is Water Gel. This polymer will turn from a powder into a doughy solid. This polymer is fun to put into a cup without anyone seeing you do it. Then pour some water in the cup and ask for volunteers to stand bravely under the cup while you turn it upside down over their head.  The polymer will absorb the water so when the cup is held upside down the water won’t come out. Place a playing card over the cup to catch the solid polymer.

Don’t forget to also add Larry to a tub of water and watch him grow.

Larry, the Jelly Marbles and Giant Orbs will all need at least overnight if not several days to fully absorb the water and grow to full size.

Here’s what you get in this kit:

Water Gel - When you add water to this superabsorbent polymer, it instantly turns from a liquid to a slushy solid.
Jelly Marbles - Tiny 3 mm spheres that, when soaked in water, grow into 20 mm water-filled marbles.
Gravi-Goo - Fascinating goo that finds a way to flow uphill. Sound impossible? Think again!
Giant Orbs - Gooey bouncing balls turn into massive, colorful spheres after soaking in water.
Insta-Snow - Just add water to the powder and before your eyes you’ll have an eruption of fluffy snow.
Larry the Lizard  - Your own Larry, a polymer and a scientist all wrapped up in one small lizard. Place Larry in a bowl of water and watch him grow. Larry has also put together many different activities to help you learn all about polymers with this kit.

I want to mention what a great deal Larry’s Lab is as a kit. If you were to purchase all five jars of polymers plus Larry individually, the total would be over $55. If you catch Larry’s Lab today on the Deal of the Day, you receive considerable savings on all polymers.

Blogger Review: 

Read the Review from Liz at the The Kitchen Pantry Scientist >

Many thanks to Liz at The Kitchen Pantry Scientist for testing our Larry’s Lab Polymer Science Kit. Visit The Kitchen Pantry Scientist and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Magna-Tiles – 12 Days of Wonder

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

We have reached Day #5 in our 12 Days of Wonder in our quick ascent towards the holidays. Today’s spotlight science toy is Magna-Tiles.

Steve Spangler Science is celebrating the 12 Days of Wonder and highlighting our top 12 science toys and kits that are perfect to put under the tree. As blog editor, social media coordinator and mom of two budding scientists, I will share my review of each product. Steve Spangler Science also found 12 respected, popular mom bloggers to each test and review one of our 12 science gifts. I will include a link to their blogs and their honest reviews of each gift idea at the bottom of this post. Today, Jen from Projects for Preschoolers shares her review. The kit is also the Deal of the Day. So check our blog every day for the next few weeks to learn all about our 12 Days of Wonder.

Day 5 of the 12 Days of Wonder features the Magna-Tiles.

Today only, this kit is our DEAL of the Day for $39.99. Regular price is $49.99.

 

My Review: 

My girls and I have loved Magna-Tiles since we first started carrying them at Steve Spangler Science several years ago. It is the one and only “toy” that we store in our family room.  These aren’t your ordinary building blocks.

There really isn’t a point in putting our box of Magna-Tiles away, because it is pulled out so frequently. Our first set was the colored Magna-Tiles and since then we have added on a few of the Clear Magna-Tiles sets. I had to at least double what we started out with, as my daughters were constantly fighting over who got what to complete their creation.

Even with a few sets, they still argue, but they have more than enough to build super structures if they combine their efforts.

Magna-Tiles are tiles about 1/3 inch thick with magnets around the edges. Stick two edges together and build different shapes. The box also comes with a picture-guide showing how to build three dimensional soccer balls, dogs, cats and geometric shapes. You can build 3-D structures or lay them flat and build 2-D.

Imagination is endless and my kids like to come up with new ways to get the pieces to stick together and hold. Not all designs work. But that’s the nice part. In one mighty crash, the Magna-Tiles come down and you can start over quickly. This can be frustrating for some children, but they quickly learn everything is temporary in the land of Magna-Tiles.

Magna-Tiles also teaches geometric shapes and kids learn which triangles go together to form squares and rectangles. The directions also show you how to build a 3-D soccer ball out of triangles – a round shape made from 3-sided shapes.

When we had cousins visiting this summer, the Magna-Tiles formed a small city around our family room that was modified every day. They took the tiles out every chance they got. I know exactly what I am getting the cousins for Christmas this year. Even our neighbor, who is in middle school, comes over and builds with the Magna-Tiles.

The solid colors are great and add a rainbow to your structure. The clear tiles are also a lot of fun. My girls like to add battery operated tea lights inside for a special effect. They also like to use their Littlest Pet Shop creatures with their Magna-Tile houses because LPS also contains magnets.

One set comes with 32 colorful magnetic tiles that include:

  • 2 large squares
  • 14 small squares
  • 4 right isosceles triangles
  • 8 equilateral triangles
  • 4 acute isosceles triangles
One set is enough to build and have fun with but if you have a serious architect, I recommend more than one set. These are pricey, so take advantage of the discounted price available only today.
I can’t recommend these enough.

Blogger Review: 

 

 

Read the Review from Jen at Projects for Preschoolers >

Many thanks to Jen at Projects for Preschoolers for testing our Magna-Tiles. Visit Projects for Preschoolers. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Join Us at the Tattered Cover Book Store for a Fire Bubbles & Exploding Toothpaste Book Signing

For Steve’s Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes book signing, we shot off Mentos and Diet Coke Geysers in the parking lot and had a liquid Nitrogen parade at the Tattered Cover Book Store in Highlands Ranch. We have more experiments and surprises for the Fire Bubbles and Exploding Toothpaste book signing this week. Who knows what we will do.

The Tattered Cover is used to authors coming in, reading an excerpt from their book and signing a few books. With Steve Spangler book signings, they must check the smoke detectors, warn the fire department and declare a “wet” and “dry” zone (no soda geysers or other science eruptions near the book shelves).

Come to the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch this Wednesday, December 7th at 6 p.m. and see what Steve Spangler and crew will do this time. This will be a kid-friendly book signing like no other. We will have special hands-on activities that are sure to keep the kids engaged and you smiling.

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Strobotop Light Animator – 12 Days of Wonder

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

We have reached Day #4 in our 12 Days of Wonder in our quick ascent towards the holidays. Today’s spotlight science toy is Strobe Light Animator.

Steve Spangler Science is celebrating the 12 Days of Wonder and highlighting our top 12 science toys and kits that are perfect to put under the tree. As blog editor, social media coordinator and mom of two budding scientists, I will share my review of each product. Steve Spangler Science also found 12 respected, popular mom bloggers to each test and review one of our 12 science gifts. I will include a link to their blogs and their honest reviews of each gift idea at the bottom of this post. Today, Jacqui from Single Parent Retreat shares her review. The kit is also the Deal of the Day. So check our blog every day for the next few weeks to learn all about our 12 Days of Wonder.

Day 4 of the 12 Days of Wonder features the Strobe Light Animator.

Today only, this kit is our DEAL of the Day for $18.74. Regular price is $24.99.

 

My Review: 

I have to admit I was not excited about reviewing this product. It looked like a top and a light. Big deal. But I brought it home and took it out for my girls.

First, we spun the wheel like a top and waited for something to happen. It was not exciting. Then, we turned on the strobe light and began changing the pulsing light speeds. My attitude turned around. This was cool.

We started with the pigs. Give the disk a spin, turn on the strobe and point it at the disk. The pictures on the disk begin animating – the pigs were running around. It reminded me of the old time flip books with a picture at the bottom that changes and animates as you flip the pages quickly.

This isn’t simply a flip book animation. Change the pulsing or strobing light speed on the handheld strobe and the pigs run faster. Speed it up and they look like they are running backward. Keep speeding up and they run forward again. My kids began wildly shuffling through the disks and changing them out. There are horses, cats, ants, a man tipping his hat, geometric shapes and more. There are also two cards that are set up for you to make your own animated movie.

Each card is a different type of animation. You can experiment with each one with strobe speeds and how they change the animation. My girls’ favorites were the geometric patterns. One has gears that turn and move as the disk spins. My favorite is the ants who madly march around in different patterns depending on the light flashes.

My girls continued to play with the Strobe Light and disks while I made dinner. They sat in a darkened room and took turns testing each disk. The Strobe Light Animator will not work well in a lightened room. It must be at least somewhat dark for the light to work. They met their dad at the door when he came home and dragged him in to see the animations they were creating. He was also mesmerized by the disks and began playing with them too.

This is a fun demonstration with light and animations. I will say it doesn’t contain additional activities to go beyond what comes in the box outside of encouraging you to make your own animations.

WARNING: Individuals who are extremely sensitive to flashing lights and rapidly changing colors or patterns should exercise caution when playing with this toy.

Blogger Review: 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the Review from Jacqui at Single Parent Retreat >

Many thanks to Jacqui at Single Parent Retreat for testing our Strobe Light Animator. Visit Single Parent Retreat. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Reviews are In – Fire Bubbles and Exploding Toothpaste is a Science Hit

If you thought Steve Spangler’s book Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes pushed the limits of your inner mad scientist, Fire Bubbles and Exploding Toothpaste, the second volume of 25 new, extraordinary home experiments is guaranteed to knock your socks off! Seriously… your socks are going to fly across the room. The materials are easy to find and the directions are simple to follow, but the end result is guaranteed to produce lots of ooohs & ahhhs.

This book has over 200 beautiful color photographs that accompany step-by-step instructions for science experiments to do at home and in the classroom. It also has a special teachers-only section full of science demonstrations for the classroom.

Steve has performed some of the experiments in the book with Ellen DeGeneres on her television show. She is proud to be a part of this science experiment book.

Here is a sample of the experiments included in the book…

  • Floating Bowling Balls
  • Pop Bottle Music
  • Bouncing Smoke Bubbles
  • Walking on Eggshells
  • Balancing Nails
  • Fireproof Balloon
  • Skateboard Rocket Car
For all science fans in the Denver metro area – Steve is holding a book signing at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch on Wednesday, December 7th from 6-8p.m.
Here is what people are saying about the book:
Boulder Moms from Boulder Moms Connect   –  November 30, 2011
For [a] week while [my son and I] waited for the book to arrive he hounded me. When is the book going to come, I want to “do” something. He’s been interested in experiments, astrology, and making things go for over a year now. Finally after what seemed like an eternity to him the book arrived.

The first thing he had me do was read the introduction to each activity in the entire book. We sat on the couch and read, and read and read. We talked about which experiments we would try, which ones we need to work our way up to, and started a shopping list. The one that intrigued him the most was “standing on eggs.” There are a few tricks to do this right. I’m not going to spoil the experiment by telling you how, but no, they are not hard boiled.

Later that week it was his turn for show and tell at school. Guess what he did? He stood proudly on eggs as his entire class, including his teacher watched in amazement. I’m excited to see all that comes of this book with our children.

Check out Boulder Moms entire review at the blog Boulder Moms Connect.

Lori from Lori’s Lolz   –  November 30, 2011
[It] was a huge hit in our home! It’s chock-full of experiments that make learning a journey full of discovery. The colorful pictures that go along with each experiment give a great step-by-step visual. Making science fun is just as important to me as making science easy to understand and this book does just that. I love how the experiments all have a “What’s Going On Here?” section which expounds on your understanding of what just happened.

I just love everything about this book. From the very first chapter, Air-Mazing, which looks A-Mazing to the very last chapter, The Super-Secret Teachers-Only Section and everything in-between, this is a must have experiment book that will surely make science come alive for you!

Check out Lori’s review (complete with pictures and video) at her blog, Lori’s Lolz.

Sharon    –  November 30, 2011 
If I thought Steve Spangler hit a home run with “Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes,” then I must say this work is a Grand Slam! It is a marvelous companion volume to his other book, but it is also a wonderful edition on its own. The text is easy to understand, and children can follow the directions with minimal supervision. It gives them a great sense of accomplishment to be able to say they did it themselves. The pictures are vivid and entertaining, and the actual experiments are lots of fun in addition to being invaluable teaching moments. I have this paperbound tome, and I am eagerly anticipating the iTunes version as well. I would highly recommend this book to teachers, parents, those interested in easy science demonstrations, and the fine folks who are still children at heart – it’s fun for everyone!

Ultimate Science Book
Sara from Reading All Year Long   –  November 30, 2011
I saw Steve Spangler on tv and had to pick up his book for my son. We got it from the library and it was a hit. Fire Bubbles and Exploding Toothpaste is the ultimate science book for kids who like science messy. So far, our favorite – the skewer through the balloon. Definitely one for the birthday party.

Read Sara’s entire review at her blogReading All Year Long.

 

Adam from Guy’s Read   –  November 30, 2011
 …the title is so intriguing. Fire bubbles? Exploding toothpaste? Those sound perfect for guys. I had to check it out. Man, am I glad I did. This book is chock full of awesome. Low budget, low quality? No way. This is a great book. Fire Bubbles is a compendium and how-to guide for a ton of great science experiments. Most of them seem like a very high reward-to-work/cost ratio. Steve Spangler even references the old, “Don’t try this at home” spiel. He knows, just as you and I know, that saying that just makes us want to do it more. His instructions, “Let’s try it!” And it’s not a suggestion. It’s an order.

Read the rest of Adam’s review on the blog Guy’s Read.

Jenny    –  November 30, 2011
 Great pictures and easy, step-by-step instructions make this set of science experiments a great resource for any science teacher. I’ve taught science for over 10 years and saw some experiments listed here that I’d never seen before. Also some instructions on showmanship that should not be ignored. Buy it, you won’t be sorry!
Cheryl – December 14, 2011
If my dad wrote a book, this would be it ! He was always regaling us with tales of getting up to mischief in the kitchen when he was a kid (which, these days, would be called taking a proactive interest in scientific discovery !), making volcanoes out of baking soda and vinegar and goodness what else that he could find in his mum’s cupboards.
Read the rest of Cheryl’s review on her blog, Madhouse Family Reviews