Each year right about this time we begin to shelf the textbooks and settle into our summer schedule around here. As a homeschooling mom, I love this transition as much as the kids do.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to teach my kids, but when the month of June rolls in it feels like someone hit the release the valve on a pressure cooker. There is no race to make sure we are on task. I’m not managing distractions or trying to stay two steps ahead of these kids at all times. We just fill the schedule with swimming lessons, camping trips and picnics.
But, at the same time, I want my kids to keep learning. Whether you homeschool or not, you probably want the same. I love to use the summer months, not only to prevent the summer slide (you know, that mental abyss where kids forget everything they learned the last half of the school year and have to spend the first half of the next school year re-learning it?) but to make extra time for the things my kids love. In our house that looks like science experiments, crafts and reading aloud.
Each summer I try to be intentional about this and it comes out looking a little different every year. One year I partnered with a friend, who also has a handful of kids, and we bought craft kits by the dozen from Oriental Trading. It was a simple and inexpensive way to have craft kits readily available to my kids throughout the summer.
But this year, our favorite summer educational resource arrived right in my mailbox. My mom purchased a Steve Spangler Science Club Membership for my kids back in April.
And I promptly put it on a shelf in the school room.
We were knee deep in finishing up school projects, preparing for year end programs, recitals, etc. and I didn’t want to take the time to figure it out. And I promptly forgot about it.
It was weeks later on a slower paced day when I remembered the kit and cautiously asked the kids if they wanted to try it out. I say cautiously because, let’s be honest here, these things don’t always go as planned. Science experiments can feel like a craps shoot. Great plans to make a fun, educational memory with four kids…well, that can feel like a craps shoot as well.
So I proceeded cautiously. And I was amazed. Truly.
I don’t tout many products here on the blog, because that’s not really my gig. But when good friends come across something amazing, it’s only right to share that as well.
We have done these experiments over and over again. My kids love them, I love them and we can hardly wait for our next box to arrive. In fact, we’re now three boxes into our monthly membership and we are known to squeal when the mailman delivers us a red box each month.
That kind of smarty pants fun is worth sharing.
So what’s to love?
I’m a discerning mama. I’m not the type to throw money around unnecessarily on gizmos and gadget (purses maybe, but not gizmos and gadgets). So I thought I’d share precisely what I love about these kits.
It’s Real Science
Each Stem Lab kit comes with one focus. For example, Newton’s First Law of Motion and the properties of water molecules (cohesion, adhesion, surface tension, etc.) were our first two kits.
These scientific principles are presented with fun, simple, no-fail experiments (there are up to 5 different experiments in every kit!). After each experiment we learn the real science behind what just happened.
Everything you need is in the box! All of the mamas can cheer for that, right? For the most part these are everyday items you could collect on your own (balloons, hex nuts, polymer powder, etc.). But the questions is, would you?
Researching summer science experiments and collecting all of the necessary items is something I would love to do, but most likely never prioritize, so having it delivered to my door is winning.
The Quality is Excellent
This might be the part I was most impressed with. My expectations were rather low and the kits just blew me away.
The instructions are super clear. There are up to 5 different experiments in every box. They provide ample supplies so all four of my kids can try each experiment over and over again, with supplies to spare. They’ve done the experiments again when friends or grandparents come over and we are saving the extra supplies for the science presentations they will do in our Classical Conversations community next year.
My kids are currently 4, 6, 8 and 12 and they are all loving the Stem Lab Kits. The 4 year old doesn’t latch on to the science principles like the 12 year old does, but he’s still engaged and we’re laying a foundation of learning together. These are exactly the kind of memories I want to make this summer!
They are affordable
The price is right friends; these kits are cheaper than a family trip to the city pool. They have membership options from $10-$30 per month (We have a StemLab membership, so that is what is the above review is based upon) and you are free to cancel your membership at any time. My bright idea is to keep the membership through the summer, when we have extra time for this sort of thing, and we can help curb that summer slide at the same time.
Also, for the month of June if you use the code SPANGLERAF16 at checkout you can get your first StemDeluxe box 40% off when you purchase a 3 month membership.
This is been one fun and helpful resource our family is loving right now and I think your family will too. What about you? If you have ideas for promoting learning in the summer months, I’d love to hear them!
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