It's quite rare to find a range of toys that is both educational and fun and that appeals just as much to parents as children, but Project Mc2 certainly fits the bill. If you're unaware of Project Mc2 and the top secret NOV8 (pronounced Innovate) gang, have a look at the video below which presents the Netflix series.
They're smart, they're sassy and they show impressionable tweens that STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) are not just incredibly cool but also just as relevant to girls as boys. The original series followed four friends McKeyla McAlister aka Mc2, a keen writer and eco-warrior, culinary chemist Adrienne Attoms (A2), Bryden Bandweth (B2, a #digitaldarling who loves social media and all things techie) and Camryn Coyle (C2, a highly intelligent skater girl). The latest series saw the arrival of two new characters, Devon D’Marco and Ember Evergreen.
We received new recruit Devon's doll and were instantly won over by her fashionable but fresh-faced look. She's as beautiful as she is smart in the series, but she doesn't promote excessive makeup, improbable body shapes or ultra-short skirts, unlike some fashion dolls. Her customised boots, funkily patterned trousers, leather vest, monochrome top and blue highlights in her hair are all head-turning and bang on trend, but she's more than just a pretty face.
She has the most amazing violet eyes with extremely long, "real" eyelashes. The blue streaks in her hair look great but Juliette did point out that they don't really look like her hair in the series because the actress has more of a blue fringe. She also a bit wobbly in some of her joints so she doesn't always stay in pose, but these are minor niggles.
The Mc2 dolls are available with or without experiments and in Devon's case, you get to try your hand at making puffy paint - this was a real blast-from-the-past for me because that was all the rage when I was a kid back in the eighties. I never had any idea what went into the ready-made stuff that I bought in the shops though, so it was fascinating to see that it required just common ingredients that you will probably already have in the kitchen cupboards. You don't just get to try out the cool experiment though - you also get to understand the science behind it because it is all explained on the box. "Each ingredient in the puffy paint plays a special role. The flour makes the paint thicker so it doesn’t leak out of the tube. The salt forms crystals when the paint dries making it appear sparkly, and the drink mix and food coloring provide the color. After we apply the paint, a process called evaporation removes the water, leaving a lot of flour and salt behind, making it appear puffy."
Even as an adult, I didn't know how it worked so I had just as much fun as the kids ! The puffy paint didn't puff up as much as those I remember from the 1980's, but I'm sure they were packed with nasty chemicals so this is a much safer version, for the kids and the planet. I would think the "powdered drink mix" refers to KoolAid, which isn't readily available in Europe, but it's just for colour so a few drops of food colouring work just as well. One word of advice is to go easy on the water and add it bit by bit so your paint doesn't end up too runny. It's quite hard to get the texture just right - runny enough to come out of the nozzle but not too watery so it takes too long to dry and won't go on thick enough to puff up. The kids still had fun though, even if it didn't work 100%.
We've reviewed a few of the other Mc2 Dolls with Experiments already - check out our reviews for McKeyla's Light Bulb, McKeyla's Lava Light and Bryden's Bracelet, as well as the H2O Car. I always like to link up the videos of the Mc2 actresses, dressed up in the outfits of their dolls, carrying out the experiments to show you how it's done, but Devon D'Marco's experiment tutorial isn't online yet, as it's one of the newer dolls. Keep an eye on the Mc2 Project website and I'll sure it will be added soon.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £24.99
Watch Project Mc2 on Netflix – with exclusive content on AwesomenessTV and Dreamworks TV
Play games and find out all the information at www.projectmc2.com
Download the Project Mc2 Case Files App at the App Store
Follow on Facebook (Project Mc2 UK), twitter (@ProjectMc2UK) and Instagram (Project_Mc2UK)
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.