Category Archives: Cool Products

The Perfect Gift for Budding Scientists – Do It Yourself or All in One Science Kits

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

Do you have a pint-sized scientist in your life? Do they want to set up a mad scientist laboratory in your kitchen?

We meet so many parents, grandparents and other influential adults who know a child who is obsessed with science. These supportive adults are constantly looking for new ways to inspire their budding scientist, even if they themselves, are either scientists themselves or completely clueless in the world of science.

One question we are asked a lot is – what do I give the kid who loves science to keep that love alive?

Here are a few suggestions to think outside the box and away from plastic toys and video games.

We sell several different types of all-in-one science kits for kids of all ages, interests and price ranges. Here are the kits, as a mom, I recommend as the best science gifts.

1. Splash of Color Kit  $7.99

Perfect for ages 2 and up. No science experience needed! How fast can you mix 24 different colors using only red, yellow and blue water? Combine art and science as students experiment by adding droplets of primary colors to the 24 tiny mixing cups and create an amazing splash of rainbow colors! Discover how to mix a rainbow of colors, and learn how scientists keep track of portions when they experiment with different colors and materials. Once the mixing is done, don’t throw your masterpiece down the drain! Pull out a bag of Water Jelly Crystals and drop a pebble-size crystal into each of the compartments. In just a few minutes, you will end up with 24 jiggly, jelly-like crystals in all the colors you made! This kit will need adult supervision – it contains tiny pieces. Older kids will also have a ton of fun mixing colors and making jelly crystals.

2. Six Test Tubes in a Rack $19.99

Perfect for new or inexperienced scientists ages 4 to 12 (and beyond). Seasoned scientists will also enjoy the activities. Each unbreakable test tube in this kit holds materials for one experiment that can be done over and over.  Experiment with a growing alligator, ooey gooey jelly crystals, bubbling potions, magic sand that stays dry under water, color-changing beads, polymer plants, a test tube rainbow and erupting snow! Each test tube is a stand alone experiment with easy to understand instructions and simple science explanations. This kit does contain small pieces.

3. Big Bag of Science $39.99

Perfect for seasoned scientists ages 5 and up. Also good for scientists that like a lot of different activities. If you’ve ever wanted to make your own laboratory, look no further than this bag of science secrets.  This kit contains over 60 different experiments in a reusable bag.  Blast off with a soda explosion from a Geyser Tube‚ learn about the science of polymers including giant spheres, growing crystals, and Insta-Snow, learn about acids and bases, or even make your own slime… over 70 activities in all!  The Big Bag of Science uses materials covering multiple fields of science to help develop specific skills.  You’ll use physical science, chemistry, life science, and biology to learn about observation techniques, measurements, experimentation, and classifcation.

4. Chemistry Kit $62.99
Perfect for seasoned scientists ages 10 and up with adult supervision. (This kit contains chemicals.) The CHEM C1000 may just be the best way for young scientists to dive into the captivating world of science and chemistry. In this fascinating kit, Professor Probenius will guide you through 125 awe-inspiring experiments. Learn how to build a mini fire extinguisher, make water flow uphill, float a soap-powered boat and entertain your friends and family with amazing chemistry “magic” tricks. Discover how to identify the elements in different chemical substances with brilliant flame tests, and then use chemical reactions to make an American flag mysteriously appear.
5. Do It Yourself Kit  $Unlimited
The best part about this kit? You set the spend, you choose the science supplies and experiments and you tailor make it for the scientist in your life. Many items can be found in stores or online or at SteveSpanglerScience.com.
Here are some ideas to include in your science kit:
Check out all of the amazing science kits at Steve Spangler Science. You are sure to find the perfect gift for the mad scientist in your life. Don’t forget Test Tube stocking stuffers and for more ideas, visit our Top 12 Smart Toys gift list.

 

12 Days of Smart Toys Starts Today

Today, we celebrate the march toward the holidays with our 12 Days of Smart Toys.Each weekday, we will offer one of our 12 Educational Toys as the Deal of the Day.

We can’t tell you which item will be offered each day or the amount of the discount ahead of time. Deals start each morning at 12:00 a.m. and are in limited quantities.

To be the early bird who gets the science toy, sign up to receive the Deal of the Day emails.They are sent early each morning with all the details of the day’s sale with a link to the Deal of the Day.

And don’t forget…December 17th is the last guaranteed day you can place an order and get it there by Christmas and pay ground shipping.

 

 

Give the Gift of Learning this Holiday Season – Top 12 Educational Toys

Tis the season for turkey and trimmings, cornucopias and pumpkin pie and gift guides, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

To celebrate the season of giving, Steve Spangler Science has compiled our list of the top 12 educational toys to give this season.

Do you hate spending hours after the gifts are unwrapped undoing a million twist ties, rubber bands and tape to liberate treasures from their packaging? Do your kids really need another toy that flashes lights and plays “music” at a deafening level at all times of the day and night?

Do you have a young scientist in your life? Encourage their zest for science with these unique, smart and educational gifts that will bring learning to life. They may not even realize they are learning.

Don’t forget to also sign up for our Experiment of the Week and Deal of the Day emails. A little insider info for our blog readers – we just may be sharing a few deals around turkey time. Get the email so you won’t miss getting the best deal on this season’s smartest toys.

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It's Slime Time – Green, Clear, Colored, Glow in the Dark and Creepy Mix-Ins to Spice Up Your Slime Recipe This Halloween

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

Halloween is less than 30 days away and we are getting fired up at the Spangler Labs. One of our most popular Halloween science recipes is for slime. We began years ago with Borax and Elmer’s Glue Slime, then added Cool SlimeGreen Slime, Shaker Slime, Glacier GAKClear Slime and Atomic Slime to our free Experiment Library. This year we’ve outdone ourselves and created an entire Slime Factory and incredibly cool color-changing Vampire Slime.

Green Slime

Slime is the perfect sensory activity or Halloween party activity but it is also a lesson in polymers. Many natural and synthetic polymers behave in a similar manner. Polymers are made out of long strands of molecules like spaghetti. If the long molecules slide past each other easily, then the substance acts like a liquid because the molecules flow. If the molecules stick together at a few places along the strand, then the substance behaves like a rubbery solid called an elastomer. Borax is the compound that is responsible for hooking the glue’s molecules together to form the putty-like material.

Glacier GAK Slime with Borax

Glacier GAK is made the traditional, kitchen science, do it yourself formula. Mix glue, Borax, food coloring and water to get a putty-like consistency. For the complete step-by-step directions, visit our Glacier GAK experiment. We added blue food coloring and mixed it with white glue putty for the effect in the picture above. You can mix up any combination of colors to make a rainbow of slime. This type of slime is more putty-like – highly recommended and fun to last an afternoon.There are several different methods for making this putty-like material. Some recipes call for liquid starch instead of Borax soap. Either way, when you make this homemade Silly Putty you are learning about some of the properties of polymers.

Colored Jelly Marbles Mix-Ins for Slime Factory

If you are looking more for the ooey, gooey boogery slime, we suggest you try using the clear Elmer’s Glue with the Borax or a Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) mixture to create the perfect slime. Don’t forget the mix-ins to create your special and unique concoctions like Bug Soup Slime with rubber bugs Fairy Slime with glitter, Lumpy Slime with Water Jelly Marbles or Water Jelly Crystals, or Slime Beads with styrofoam balls. Or go free and clear and make Snot Slime.  AH-CHOO!

Fairy Slime with Glitter

Our brand new Slime Factory – is 128 oz of slime along with all kinds of mix-ins and mixtures.It’s like visiting the frozen yogurt shop but with slime. What would make you happier as a kid than having an entire Slime Factory at your fingertips. The possibilities would have been endless with the limitless imagination of young slime-ologists. This is also perfect for a Halloween or Mad Scientist Birthday Party. Just line the kids up, give them a few pumps and then let them go crazy with the mix-ins.

Vampire Slime is also brand new to our product line this year. Vampire Slime looks green as its mixed up and then turns red in the light. This special mixture was created by Steve Spangler himself and is only available through SteveSpanglerScience.com. You will want to get your hands on this for Halloween.

Don’t forget to take time to learn the science behind slime. Scientists call substances like Vampire Slime non-Newtonian fluids. A non-Newtonian fluid behaves like both a solid and a liquid at the same time. When you apply pressure, it turns into a solid (so to speak) and breaks apart. You are breaking the polymer chains apart. When you let slime flow like a liquid, it stretches with no problem as the polymer chains are allowed to uncoil. And, in addition to all that fun chemistry, you get some amazing light science in the special dyes!

We’ve also created a collection of our favorite slime recipes found on Pinterest. There are some very creative bloggers who have come up with their own slime recipes and creations. A recipe for Rainbow Slime from Tot Treasures is a very popular Pin and we can see why. Visit the site for step-by-step instructions to make this very colorful slime.

Rainbow Slime from Tot Treasures

What is your favorite type of slime? Have you blogged or shared it in some way? We’d love to see what you are doing at Halloween or anytime to create the best slime mixture. Leave us a comment below.

The Ultimate Harry Potter Science Activities for Halloween or Birthday Parties Part 2

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

Last Friday, I shared my 7-year-old daughter’s Ultimate Harry Potter party and how we created some unique and creative decorations out of science supplies. This was a birthday party, but it can easily be tweaked for a Halloween Harry Potter party or plain old Mad Scientist party.

For the party, I set up different classes and activities to go along with the lessons and teachers in the series. As the kids arrived, I sorted them into houses, by having each one sit on a stool under our Sorting Hat poster. When they sat on the stool, they reached into a bag and picked a ring with a house crest. Several websites sell Sorting Hats or share ideas on how to make your own. This wasn’t a huge focus in our party, so I went with the printable.

After all of the kids were sorted into Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw houses, they sat down at the tables in the Great Hall, ready for their first lesson.

MAGIC CLASS

The first Hogwarts class was Magic. I set it up so that each class had at least two lessons – one as a demonstration and the other as hands-on. The hands-on lessons had take homes for the kids. I built their goodie bag throughout the party.

For Magic, I began with the Magic Coloring Book. I have had my coloring book for a long time and unfortunately it is no longer available. The book helps the kids magically draw, then color pictures as you flip through the pages.

Next, I did the three-cup Monty using Water Gel. Water Gel is a polymer powder that is similar to what is found in a baby’s diaper. The polymer absorbs water. To do this demonstration, ask for a volunteer. Start with three solid cups. Fill one 1/2 way with water. Ask your volunteer to tell you which cup holds the water. Set the cup with the water down with the two empty cups. Mix up the cups and then ask your volunteer to point out the water cup. When they identify it correctly, pick up the cup and pour the water into the next cup and mix the cups again. Ask your volunteer to find the water. When they again identify the correct cup, pour the water into the 3rd cup and mix up the cups again. This time when your volunteer points at the cup full of water, try to pour the water into the 1st cup again. The water doesn’t pour, and your volunteer and audience will be confused. What happened to the water? The 3rd cup contained a scoop of Water Gel powder in the bottom. When the water was poured into the cup, the powder absorbed the water and became solid.

My final lesson was mixing a liquid and making it siphon itself out of the cup. I used Gravigoo for this activity. Gravigoo is another polymer that when mixed with water will make water appear to flow uphill. I let the kids play with the Water Gel and Gravigoo and take a little home in a bag when we were done.

CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES

For this class, we held a scavenger hunt. At the craft store, I found rubber spiders, bugs, snakes, rats and frogs. The kids were sorted back into their Hogwarts houses for teams and given a type of animal family (frogs, spiders, snakes, etc) to find. The first group back with all of their creepy crawly creatures won a small prize. This was perfect, because it got the kids up and running around before coming back to sit down for our next class.

 

 DIVINATIONS

As Professor Trelawny, this was my favorite subject. For this class, we turned off the lights and glowed in the dark as we tried to see into the future. First, I made my own large Crystal Ball and told my class what I saw. I saw them becoming true wizards and witches after the party. To make this amazing Crystal Ball with dry ice and a little soap, visit SteveSpanglerScience.com for complete instructions.

I then gave each child yet another polymer…a large Jelly Marble. They could look into their crystal ball and tell me the future. The kids took turns sharing what they saw in their crystal ball. This was so fun and gave each child a time to shine. The giant Jelly Marbles are no longer available, unfortunately, but you can get creative by using smaller Jelly Marbles, water balls, touchable Boo Bubbles, clear marbles, Polymer Cubes (for a twist on the round crystal ball), etc.

To wrap it all up, the kids made Future Telling Wands. I gave each child a Baby Soda Bottle Test Tube. I also had the racks that come with the test tubes to keep everything stable while the kids made their wands. The kids had the choice of making a bubbling lava lamp where we filled the test tube 3/4 full with water and then filled the last 1/4 with vegetable oil. Drop a few drops of food coloring (which can stain) or Color Fizzer Tablets (do not stain). I also added a few drops of Pearl Swirl to make the liquid bubble, swish and swirl inside the wand. For complete instructions and other cool ideas for wands and activities using Baby Soda Bottle Test Tubes, visit our experiments website.

CHARMS

For Charms class, we made Firefly test tubes. The night before I hydrated a large bowl of Water Jelly Crystals. The crystals are polymers that grow in water. After they were hydrated, I put the Jelly Crystals in a plastic bag with Glow Powder. The powder coats the crystals a lot like shake and bake. The Glow Powder glows in the dark. During the party, the kids took handfuls of Glow Powder covered Jelly Crystals and filled their wands. When the lights went off, they had firefly wands to light up the night sky or the Forbidden Forest.

POTIONS

Potions was the perfect party ender and prepped the kids for cake and treats. I began by mixing my own Professor Snape potion, the Purple Paradox. This potion starts as a clear liquid and turns purple before your eyes. Wait a few moments and the potion will turn back to clear. This magic potion is perfect to ward off Death Eaters, but is not for drinking.

After following my careful instructions, my students mixed their own potions. We had different colored sodas available, from Sprite to Orange to Sun Drop. Light-colored sodas work the best. Drop in a tablet or two of Instant Flavor Drink Tablets and watch the color change. The flavor changes too! These drink tablets don’t taste fabulous in plain old water, but mix them into soda and POOF! you have your own potion. Now, dare your friends to drink it.

The kids had a blast making up their own potions and trying them out. They bubbled and changed colors before their eyes. No drink was the same.
OTHER IDEAS: 
Here are some additional activities you can incorporate into your Halloween, Harry Potter or Mad Scientist Party:

 

New from Steve Spangler Science:

If you are throwing a Halloween party, classroom party, Harry Potter or Mad Scientist party, you MUST include these amazing new products. Brand new this week. It’s too late for my party, but not for yours. This product line is exclusive and only available only from Steve Spangler Science. Steve Spangler himself worked to create the perfect mixture.

 

Slime Factory
Get ready to line them up and run them through the slime factory. Giant pump filled with slime goo comes with mix-ins like Jelly Crystals, styrofoam beads, plastic bugs, glitter and more. Make your own slime potion and take it home in a shaker cup.

Vampire Slime and Vampire Veins
Green goo that turns red in the light. Spooky, cool and extra awesome. Kids will go crazy for these in potion jars or as an activity.

 

Heat Sensitive Color-Changing Insta-Worms
These worms change color depending on the temperature. Place them in the freezer or ice water or hot water and watch the color go from white to pink or blue.

For more decorating and activity ideas, here is a fun blog post from Alison’s Wonder Scraporium that has some great ideas and printables. I used her Hogwarts Express ticket invitations. So cute and I received a lot of complements.

Activity Village also has a lot of great printables and activity ideas for a Harry Potter party or in the classroom.

Mrs. Happy Homemaker has a fun way to make magic potions using ice cubes and Kool-Aid.