Wednesday 23 November 2011

Kitchen Science kit review

As I mentioned when I reviewed the Paint Your Own Russian Dolls kit (here), Find-me-a-gift have sent me through a couple of the products on their Christmas Top Ten lists to put them through their paces. As soon as I laid eyes on the Kitchen Science kit, I knew I had to choose this. Sophie is in total awe of Madhouse Grandad who frequently recounts his tales as a naughty little boy in his mum's kitchen making bicarbonate of soda and vinegar volcanoes and putting his friend's hand through the mangle ! She has been begging him to do the Mentos in a bottle of coke trick for months now ... and he doesn't take much encouraging !

Well as soon as I saw that the Kitchen Science kit included the volcano as one of the experiments, I knew it would get a great reception from the pair of them. I have to admit, when you empty out the contents, it doesn't look particularly impressive, but the magic works in discovering how such banal items can be used in (hopefully) impressive scientific play.

As the back of the box shows, the kit is designed to allow you to carry out six experiments :

- generate electricity by using a fork and lemon and light up a bulb
- launch a rocket fuelled by baking soda and vinegar
- build a table top volcano which erupts with bubbly "lava"
- make a rock candy factory and eat your creation
- take fingerprints
- create and use invisible ink.

You do need to provide various household objects, most of which you will probably have around the house :  vinegar, baking soda, red food colouring, washing up liquid, measuring cup, sugar, cloth pegs, teaspoon, forks, corn starch, blackcurrant/grape juice concentrate, lemon.

That's a very long list so you'd be justified in asking what the kit actually contains. The complete contents are : 1 vinegar rocket, 1 launcher pad, 1 small spoon, 1 volcano, 1 brush, 2 skewers, 1 wire, 2 zinc plates, 1 watch movement, 8 finger print record sheets, 8 secret message sheets, 1 kitchen spy finger print development pad, 1 adhesive tape.

The finger print record sheets and secret message sheets can be photocopied so they're just normal paper, so when you actually analyse the contents, it does work out as pretty poor value. My dad used to do most of these experiments in his kitchen at home without a special kit. The only thing that is really important in the kit is the instruction booklet, which explains not only how to carry out the experiment but also how/why it works.

I know that Sophie (not to mention her grandad!) will have a fabulous time "being naughty" in the kitchen and learning how some of those "unexplainable" things like fingerprints actually work. It's a great fun but educational kit but, for the price, I would have liked to have seen them add some of the extra ingredients, such as sachets of baking powder, blister packs of washing up liquid and red food colouring, pegs and a measuring cup.

star rating : 3.5/5

RRP : £10.99

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