Saturday, November 3, 2012

Review of Science Experiments in a Bag

For the past month, my kids have had the pleasure of conducting Science Experiments in a Bag from Activity Bags.  The products we reviewed include the following:

Science Experiments in a Bag E-Book 1: This book provides examples of 25 simple science experiments in Biology, General Science, and Nature that you can do at home.  Science Experiments in a Bag E-Book 2: Like E-Book 1, this book provides examples of 25 more experiments, but this time in Chemistry, Human Body and Science, and General Science.  Science Experiments in a Bag E-Book 3: Focused all on Chemistry this time, there are 25 more great science experiments on-the-go in this collection.  The Science Experiments line is for Grades K-8, and each E-Book is $15.00.  A special bundle price of $39.00 is available for all three books.

Chances are that if you're familiar with Activity Bags at all, it is with Preschool Activity Bags.  Preschool Activity Bags were one of the very first things I ever bought when I started homeschooling years ago.  The concept is the same, but the variety is so much greater now! Activity Bags are premised on the concept that you can prepare everything you need for the activity in advance by putting the components in a gallon ziplock bag.  The bag can then be given to a child to do when the time comes.  You can prepare many bags in advance, or get together with other families to arrange a bag swap.  You can read much more about how to arrange a swap on Activity Bags' webpage.

My kids really loved these science experiments because they are so much fun.  I really loved them because they are so easy to pull together and they require almost nothing of me (Sorry - I know I should love science...I'm trying!).  It is a science-averse homeschooling mother's dream to find a product that lets her give her kids what she knows they should have without requiring her to have to put it all together or formally teach it.  Science Experiments in a Bag are proof positive that science does not always have to formal for kids to learn a ton.  In fact, when it is fun and easy like it is with Activity Bags, I think kids tend to learn more...because they really want to keep learning.

Each Science Experiment in a Bag is set up in the E-Book in the same way.  For example, the Floating Egg Experiment (a favorite in my house) is presented this way in the table of contents:

Floating Egg (Chemistry)
- Assembly Instructions …………………………………………………………………………… 32
- Experiment Log ………………………………………………………………………………….. 33-34
- Experiment Answers …………………………………………………………………………….. 35
- Experiment Bag Label Master

Every experiment is presented with the same headings.  It makes assembling them very easy because there is complete continuity.  You always know what to expect.  Further, see where it says "Experiment Log"? Each experiment gets its own specific log sheet with its own specific information.  For little kids, this makes teaching them how to fill out a lab report so much easier.  They don't get discouraged because they hardly have to write anything.  Generic lab forms are great for older kids, but for elementary school aged kids, an experiment specific form will not make them hate science solely because of having to report results.  I just love that about these experiments.

So far, my kids have done a few activities from each of the E-Books.  I have let them choose which ones they want to do and then had my eldest daughter put them together (she really wanted to be included, but I didn't want her higher knowledge to interfere with the other kids' learning experience).  I checked that she had assembled them correctly and then watched discreetly while the kids performed the experiment.  Most of the experiments have only taken around 30 minutes or less (sometimes the write-up runs over that time a bit).  Of course, if your kids really like what they're doing it might take longer.  When my kids made glue with vinegar, they made more glue.  And more.  When they were learning about how fire fighters put out fires, they used a lot more baking soda than the experiment called for.  Of course, the experiment wasn't meant to be done two dozen times.  That's the point of science that kids love, though, right? They want to do it again and again? That's another great point in favor of Activity Bags: your kids can do the experiments over and over and it really won't cost you more than if they do it once since the experiments use things you already have.

My kids also received Travel Activities in a Binder,  a collection of classic (and some new!) ways to divert kids on car trips.  As a slight departure from the typical "in a bag" format, all you have to is print off the activity pages, put them in plastic page protectors, avail yourself of dry erase markers, and go! This E-Book is $15.00 and is for Elementary ages.  To get a great idea of what is in this E-Book, check out the Travel Activities Sample.  We haven't gone on a road trip since we received this product, but that hasn't stopped my kids from doing some of these activities.  For example, there are mazes! There are drawing activities! Anything that doesn't actually require a car trip (and most of the activities do, which is, after all, the point!) has been done in my house.  My kids love this book.  They can't wait to play Road Sign Bingo.

I'm so glad that Activities in a Bag have grown with my children.  The concept is simple but elegant and kids love it.  There are many more Activities in a Bag than those discussed here, so be sure to read the Crew blog!


Disclaimer: I received these products free in exchange for my honest review.  I received no other compensation.

No comments:

Post a Comment