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Science Kits by Mail

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Sorry about the dearth of blog posts recently. Our schedule right now is completely packed. The good thing is that brains are being fed, kids are being exercised, and the house is (marginally) clean.

I still want to do more science with my kids. That’s been on my mind ever since we went to the Pacific Science Center a couple of weeks ago. I just don’t have time to plan anything.

Yesterday, I saw that Homeschool Buyers Co-op has a deal going on with the Young Scientist Club.  I’m not familiar with this particular kit, but we have used a lot of the other products that the YSC also carries, like the one pictured up top and The Magic School Bus kits. Those kits have been fun, educational, and engaging, but not perfect. Every single one we’ve tried had at least one thing about it that I wished was different.

But… The idea of science experiments arriving at our door every single month without me having to do anything is really appealing. Even expecting imperfection, I’m intrigued. My eight-year-old son Bruce is thrilled with the prospect.

So I went ahead and placed an order for a 12 month subscription. The grand total was $157.92. That comes out to $13.16 a month, which isn’t too bad.

On November 25th Homeschool Buyers Co-op starts a similar deal with for The Magic School Bus kits. I’ll probably sign up for that plan too, because it will be a good fit for my four-year-old daughter Jenna.

Unfortunately, shelling out all that money for science kits is really expensive. I would hate for my blog readers to think that Afterschooling is only for people who can afford it.

So here are two top-notch, lower-cost alternatives from the homeschooling blogosphere:

  1. Science Without a Net
  2. Learning to Be a Scientist

I also have some Afterschooling science ideas on my Pinterest Board.

As for our house, guess what Santa’s bringing? Who knew they made science kits at the North Pole!

Life Sciences Extravaganza!

Fresh ideas from the Pacific Science Center

The best science fair you’ve ever experienced!

We are all really tired, but my whole family had a lot of fun at the Pacific Science Center today. There were scientists from all over Puget Sound presenting hands-on activities as part of the Life Sciences Research Weekend.

Extracting strawberry DNA

Extracting strawberry DNA

Touching a real sheep's brain!

Touching a real sheep’s brain (up at the top)

I wish I had the energy to share more inspiration from today, but I’m pretty zonked.

Here are a couple of projects I’m tagging to look into later:

Sing about Science and Math was there from the University of Washington. I really want to find out more about them, because their project sounds interesting.

There was also a booth from the Seattle Science Foundation’s Kids in Medicine program.

The Pacific Science Center is awesome to begin with. So the Life Sciences Research Weekend was like icing on a very good cake. No wonder I’m exhausted!

Only one section of the many exhibits.

Only one section of the many exhibits.

Coffee Table Science

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Halloween is just a few days away, which means it’s almost time for rotting pumpkins!

Watching jack-o’-lanterns decompose in our front yard is an annual family tradition. This year we have a head start. One of our pie pumpkins was mysteriously stabbed, and the culprit has yet to confess.

I gathered the rotting pumpkin, as well as some other biological specimens, on our coffee table. Then I surrounded them with science books. Setting up a learning table right in our living room is an easy way to get kids interested in science.

It’s also a good lead-in for when we go to the Life Sciences Research Weekend at the Pacific Science Center.

From November 1st-3rd real scientists from all over Puget Sound are coming to meet families, lead demonstrations, and talk about how scientific research impacts our everyday lives. Entry to the event is included with an admission ticket.

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Both of my kids love science, but finding time to set up experiments at home is hard. Some of the things we’ve done in the past include building atoms with marshmallows, discovering osmosis with food dye, and experimenting with desalination.

If I was a cooler mom, I’d be setting up a science experiment for my kids to do each week. In the meantime, I bet a day at the Pacific Science Center will provide lots of inspiration.