To mark British Science Week, N (3) and I have been busy trying out some brilliant STEM products from one of our favourite brands – Learning Resources. She has been exploring with a toddler friendly first microscope, and trying out some of her very first experiments!
I’m always keen to give the children opportunities to learn at home, and expose them to new experiences so it was great to take the opportunity to get involved during British Science Week, as N hadn’t explored much Science until now and is at an ideal to get started with some simple activities.
Both of the science toys we were sent are suitable for age 3+ and I’m really impressed with how chunky and durable both toys are, making them truly accessible to children of this age group. We do have microscopes and science kits in the house for my older boys, but with many of them recommended for age 8+ and being a lot more fiddly, I would be reluctant to let a toddler lose on them whereas with the Learning Resources sets I felt so comfortable with her using and exploring everything as it’s made with this age group in mind and a perfect fit for her little hands to hold.
Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Set
The first product we tried out is the Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Set, which retails at £28.00.
In this set you get all the equipment you need to set up a variety of simple science experiments, along with 10 cards giving you instructions to get you started. Once you’ve completed those, you can easily use the equipment to continue with further experiments of your own too as it’s very versatile items like a magnifying glass, test tubes, beakers and droppers which you could use to take your science learning in any direction you like! You also get lab glasses to encourage the proper science safety from a young age.
I really liked that the experiment cards are included, as it gives you plenty of inspiration to get started straight away and the cards are so clear making it very easy to see exactly what you need to use for each activity, and the step by step how to carry it out with your child, along with the take away point for them to learn.
The activities cover a wide range of science topics, which include aspects of all three main sciences – biology, physics and chemistry. For some of the activities, you may need to buy a couple of bits from the supermarket if you don’t already have them in the kitchen (vinegar, food colouring, bicarbonate soda) so for our first experiment we tried one which didn’t require any extras at all – Sink and Float. This can be done with any objects you find from around your home.
This experiment was so quick and easy to set up, and N had a great time with it. Simple concepts like this are easy for little ones to grasp with hands on practice, and can be kept going for as long as you like if you can find plenty of objects around the house.
We also had lots of fun doing the colour mixing experiment, using the test tubes and dropper from the set along with some food colouring. This experiment encourages your little one to learn about primary and secondary colours – and we also discovered by the end of the experiment that when you mix all of the secondary colours together, then you can get brown!
Using the dropper to transfer the water is great for developing fine motor skills too, and the test tube holders keep the tubes really steady. All of the equipment has clearly been very well designed for the age group.
Another experiment we tried out was making a volcano, which is a classic – using water with bicarbonate soda, and vinegar with food colouring, you can make a fizzing bubbling volcano reaction which is always fun for kids of any age, and introduces them to the concept that different chemicals react together to product different results.
GeoSafari Jr My First Microscope
The next product we tried out is the GeoSafari Jr My First Microscope which retails at £20.00.
This microscope is so easy to use and very durable, making it ideal for the toddler and preschooler age group. It gives you an 8x magnification, and has a flat viewing stage which has space to place either flat or 3d objects. There is a button at the front which turns on a light to illuminate the viewing area, and gives you a much better look (You need to add 3x AAA batteries)
The knobs at the side help you to focus your view, and are easy for even young children to turn. I found N was easily able to get to grips with this microscope and we took a closer look at lots of items from around the home – toys, jewellery, rubbers, and so on. We found that if you put a picture book in it, sometimes you can even see the pixelation of how the images have been printed! Next, we need to go on a nature walk to find some more natural items to explore in our microscope like leaves, pinecones and acorns.
Check out the full range of Science toys from Learning Resources here.