Science covers many different topics, and they are all full of learning opportunities. But getting children interested in them can be quite difficult – lots of children hear science and translate that to boring. The thing is, science can be extremely interesting, so we need to find fun ways to spark that interest in children and remove that “boring” tag – after all, it is a necessary part of the school curriculum.
Children generally have a natural curiosity so you think that science, learning how things work, how things are created and experimenting with different things would be appealing. It doesn’t seem so, therefore the best way to try and spark some sort of interest and, fingers crossed, help develop the scientists of the future is to do fun experiments with them at home. For some that might just be the science of baking a cake – the science of mixing different ingredients to get something else, but for most I can almost guarantee that creating overflowing toilets, stink bubbles, yellow snow and all things gross will definitely get them to put their phones and games consoles down and get involved in some engrossing chemistry experiments with the SmartLabs That’s Gross Science Lab!
The SmartLabs That’s Gross Science Lab is a 16 piece STEM / STEAM chemistry set for children aged 8 and upwards that makes science fun with a child-pleasing level of grossness. The kit can create 26 outrageous experiments, although you will need to supply some other household items to complete the experiments (food colourings, soap, butter etc. – click here for a list).
In the box:
- Motorised Toilet Bowl Mixer
- 2 Bubble Beakers with Slime Stand
- Biohazard Container
- Bubble Wand
- Garbage Can Shaker
- Freaky Funnel
- Maggot Mold
- Barf Mold
- Centipede Mold
- Worm Spoon
- 24-Page Illustrated Activity Book
The That’s Gross Science Lab activity book features 26 experiments: 20 main experiments and 6 Gross Bonus experiments. These are:
Overflowing Toilet Emergency (Creates a foaming chemical reaction) | Foaming Flush (Tiny organisms grow and give off gas) | Snot Slime (It’s slime that feels like snot) | Potty Putty (Bouncing slime) | Stink Bubbles (They float like butterflies but stink like skunks!) | Stink Balloons (Nice balloon! What’s that smell?) | Yummy Blood (Totally gross realistic-looking blood) | Soap Monster (Bloat soap into a mound of firm foam) | Totally Disgusting Barf (Fake barf that looks disgusting real) | Fido’s “Accident” (Looks read – tastes great) | Edible Grossness (What’s for dessert? Oh, gross!) | Gaggots (Don’t gag on these maggots) | Whirling Technicolor Moo Juice (Surface tension meets its match) | Vile Vial (Liquids stack up in layers) | Yellow Snow (A few crystals fill an entire bowl) | Cabbage Crud (Cabbage juice indicates acids and bases) | Electric Sludge (Stop slime in its tracks with electricity) | Popping Poo (Make beans bob up and down) | Naked Egg (It’s raw! It’s rubbery! It’s revolting!) | Goey Pooey (It’s liquid! It’s solid! It’s both!)
Gross Bonus Experiments
Child scientists will need a grown-up lab assistant to help out with the experiments (some of them will definitely need adult assistance). Luckily each experiment in the activity book will have a symbol for what ones require grown-up help, which ones you can’t eat (which will be most), which ones take a long time and which ones are messy. Make sure each experiment is read through thoroughly before attempting and seek the advice from your grown-up lab partner (they aren’t just there to observe and there are notes in the activity book for them to be aware of). Before starting, make sure that you have all the required “ingredients” as some will need to come out of your kitchen cupboards (coffee, egg, etc.) or even purchased (rubbing alcohol, white glue, etc.) – you don’t want to start and then find that you can’t complete an experiment!
There are 26 grossly fun experiments for children to carry out in the activity book. The activity book is very well laid out with each experiment listing all the ingredients required, tools required, step-by-step instructions and educational information relating to that experiment (chemical reactions, cell respiration, eating bugs etc.) as well as informative symbols telling you when adult help is needed, don’t eat, long time and messy.
Overall, the That’s Gross Science Lab is a fun chemistry set and really gets the kids involved with the experiments, as long as you have the extra ingredients available to complete the experiments. An excellent way to show children that the sciences can be hands-on fun as well as informative and educational.
All experiments require additional easy-to-find items/ingredients: applesauce, baking soda, borax, butter or margarine, cabbage, carbonated water or soda, chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, cooking spray, light corn syrup, cornstarch, dish soap, egg, unflavoured and flavoured gelatin, honey, among other items you probably already have.
It isn’t a kit to just leave children alone with. Some experiments are perfectly okay for them to carry out by themselves (although where’s the fun in that – join in and have some good quality family time) but other experiments will need adult help from their grown-up lab assistant (things need heating in a microwave for example). The activity book clearly shows what experiments need adult assistance.
You do need to read through each experiment properly before starting, firstly for any safety advice, and then to make such that you have all the required ingredients and have the time to do it. Some of the experiments are quick to complete, others require patience as they will need to left for 24 hours or so.
If you want to get your children interested in science in a fun and engaging engrossing way, then this is a great little kit to do that. It doesn’t go into too much detail about the experiments, and they are not completed to follow but it is a very good introduction to chemistry and how mixing different ingredients together can create a variety of reactions from slimes to smells.
The only negative is that you do need 36 extra ingredients to complete all of the experiments, but a majority of these you will already have in the kitchen or around the house (you will probably need to purchase rubbing alcohol and borax). Please check the ingredients list on the back of the activity book before purchasing as it can’t be used without these.
Because it cannot be used as a chemistry set straight out of the box and items will need to be found around the house or purchased before you can complete a single experiment, I would have to rate it as 3 out of 5. You get the hardware (including a battery operated toilet mixing bowl with batteries supplied) and activity book to carry out any experiments but do have to provide the ingredients yourself. With the ingredients available, it is a fun science kit that will educate and provide hours of joy.