Science and stem education has been at the forefront of a lot of marketing initiatives lately. Companies are trying to push children into careers in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. With that move to stem education, many toy companies have launched science kits. When looking at these kits, it might leave you wondering if they are worth the investment. Let’s tackle the question, Are Science kits worth it?
Should I buy a science kit?
Disclaimer – The science kit pictured was gifted to us by National Geographic. All opinions shared are my own and were not requested when these kits were gifted to us.
Not all science kits are created equal!
When looking at science kits it is important to spend some time researching the source. While there are many companies out to make money on the idea of a science kit, not all are created equally. It’s important to take some time to look a little closer at the products you are buying. Some of these can be lesser supplies or lesser experiments. It’s important to ask yourself some of the following questions.
- What brand is creating the kit? – When looking at a science kit ask yourself if the brand seems reputable when it comes to educational content. Some toy companies will partner with scientists to create a quality product. Others will not. Try to find one with a reputable brand connection.
- Does the brand produce quality? – When looking at your kit, look at the quality of products produced by the brand. Do their other products have good reviews? Do their products seem to be quality?
- Check reviews. – Sites like Amazon have reviews. While some are obviously skewed, many will give you a fair look at the product and whether it is worth the money. Try to avoid kits with low star ratings.
Check the contents
Not all kits will give you everything you need for the projects listed in them. It is important to take some time to read descriptions and find out which kits actually contain all the needed supplies. Having the items needed can save frustration when sitting down to do a science kit. It is also important to confirm the quantity if you plan to use these kits with more than one child.
- Does the kit require you to mail something in? – Some kits will require you to mail in a certificate to redeem certain supplies before you can use them. It’s important to know this in advance to avoid disappointment if your kids wanted to do it when it arrives.
- Do you need to go somewhere for additional supplies? – Kits with living things such as a caterpillar habitat or a grow a frog kit might require redeeming a certificate at a shop nearby for the living things or for food/supplies.
- Is there something that isn’t included? – Some kits will expect you to have certain items such as baking soda, paper towels, straws, or other supplies on hand to use with them. It is important to check on what is included to avoid frustration later on.
Are science kits worth the money?
Some of the science kits on the market can reach a much higher price point. It can leave parents wondering if it’s really worth the added spending. Whether you are supplementing a homeschool curriculum or looking for an educational supplement you might consider many of these kits. Asking yourself if it is worth the extra expense is smart. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for science kits.
Could you buy the supplies for less? – Science kits that offer an abundance of supplies might save you money in the long run because you don’t have to piece together your own supplies for the experiments detailed in the kit. Here’s an example of that:
Completely Gross Science Kit -$25-$35 depending on purchase date
Includes: Mushroom mold, experiment bowl, safety goggles, tall cup, short cup, test tube, brain mold, small scoop, big scoop, medium scoop, beaker, vial, small pipette, stir stick, Psyllium husk powder, calcium chloride, red sodium alginate, white sodium alginate, agar agar powder, baking soda, citric acid, zinc sulfide, green coloring, and phenol red.
I just spent some time researching the cost for all of these products independently and found it would cost roughly $120! That’s a big saving by buying a pre-built kit with all supplies ready to go.
What are the benefits of science kits?
Science kits are often sold as a great way to get kids involved in stem. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons people purchase them. While some kits are less beneficial, many do have some fantastic benefits to kids. Not only do they foster learning, but they also reinforce concepts taught in lessons. Here are a few of the benefits of science kits.
- Great supplement to other learning. – Do you have a tactile learner? It is one thing to tell a child that chemicals react in a certain way. It’s another thing to let them watch colors change when adding a different chemical to a solution. Science kits are a perfect addition to a science education in school or homeschooling.
- Introduction to science – When learning about science from books, many kids can quickly tune out. Seeing chemical reactions, gross experiments, and crazy results can peak an interest in science for kids who might normally not be interested.
- Teaching children how to look for answers – Most children grow up asking “Why” about everything. Science gives them the ability to answer the question. Using these science kits you can answer why and how questions.
Which science kit should I buy?
I am very careful about which science kits we use. Not all of them are created equally. As a mom who works full time, if I’m going to sit down and invest a day into science experiment fun with the kids, I want quality! I want to know the experiments were well researched and the products have well-done explanations. I don’t just want a science kit for no reason. I want something that will provide value to the kids and will be easy for me! Because I am so picky, I try to stick with what I know works!
National Geographic has a large selection of science kits that cover a variety of concepts. Each kit comes with guides that explain the science and walk you through each step. My eleven and fourteen year old were both able to do all of the work in these kits independently. For my family, National Geographic science kits are my go-to because I know I will get all the supplies I need in an easy to use kit!