Let’s all think back to chemistry class in high school. Maybe you got lucky, had a fun teacher, and had a blast and a half doing your homework, but chances are, you would’ve had a way better time if it was anything like the Discovery Extreme Chemistry Lab, from Horizon Group USA.
This kit is aimed at kids ages 12 and up, with more than 20 fun experiments and chemical reactions for tweens to explore, including making worms, foam, and litmus tests, to name a few.
The lab comes with an eight-piece chemistry station that includes six test tubes, glitter paint, a pipette, mixing sticks, and packets of different materials needed for some of the experiments, such as baking soda, litmus powder, calcium chloride, and more.
The set is small enough that it won’t take up a lot of space on a desk or kitchen counter, making it easy to do experiments without turning the house upside down. The test tubes are pretty small as well so participants will be making compact experiments rather than elaborate creations. The station has slots to hold the test tubes in so that kids can stand them up hands-free while they’re playing mad scientist.
It’s chemistry meets crafting with some of the more creative experiments, such as the make-your-own-worms project, which involves mixing the included blue glitter paint with sodium alginate and calcium chloride. It involves some additional steps, such as drawing up one mixture into a pipette then streaming it into a different mixture to create the slimy strands that look like worms. There are some helpful tips like the suggestion to wait an hour after mixing to get a better effect, and to dispose of in the garbage so the sink doesn’t get clogged.
Some experiments are much easier and quicker than others, such as “foam it up!,” in which kids combine baking soda, tartaric acid, and water in a test tube to create a foaming reaction. Or “feel the warmth,” in which kids mix calcium chloride and water in a bag to feel the mixture get warmer.
The experiments are not difficult to do, but parents should note that some of them really do live up to the name “extreme chemistry,” and will require adult supervision, such as “the eternal flame.” This one involves mixing baking soda and tartaric acid, then inserting a burning match into the test tube to watch the weight of the carbon dioxide extinguish the fire. The extreme experiments such as these are what makes it fun for teens, too!
A number of the experiments also make use of household ingredients that are not included in the box, such as the litmus experiments that require a mixture of the included litmus powder and various liquids such as orange juice or vinegar (both not included) to cause the solutions to change colors. This gives kids the freedom to get creative and lets them use their brains to make any concoctions they dream of.
The lab set is very hands-on, so that kids will absorb lessons in real science while playing, which proves what kids have been saying for years—playing with toys does indeed makes you smarter (told ya’, Mom!).