One of the best things about Toy Fair can be those moments between appointments when you hit the show floor and stumble into a story idea (or when someone stumbles into me and gives me a story idea). What usually occurs is either someone swings a product sample out that stops me in my tracks (“Whap!” Ouch. – it’s happened!), or I happen to slow down because I see something that makes me want to stop and chat with the person or people running the booth. In the case of The Young Scientists Club, it was the latter and thanks to a non-active volcano in the middle of a board game…
Now, I know what got me into science at an early age was being able watch or participate in experiments where something melted, exploded or otherwise changed forms. So, seeing The Magic School Bus Science Explosion made me wish I was back in that old class getting the kids who hated taking science to sit down and play a really cool game. As I chatted with company founder Esther Novis (mother of five and a Harvard graduate with degrees in biology) about the lineup of products, it was clear that her focus was to make learning science outside a school environment fun for any child and affordable for parents.
I know back when I was a kid, science class was the most gender neutral subject I took because everyone walked in knowing little to nothing and the wonder of discovering new things was most compelling for every student. Particularly the ones who thought it all over their heads until they realized through safe handling of assorted chemicals and common household items they could make science happen.
In addition to plenty of nicely priced Young Scientists Club, Adventure, Nature, and other cool kits packed full of experiments for ages 5 to 12, there’s a series of Clifford the Big Red Dog science kits that teach science basics to kids as young as 3 years. Of course, linking up with Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus series for even more kits like that board game mentioned above gives parents and kids a way to take concepts learned from the videos off the TV and into the home “laboratory”. Did you know there’s also a math-based game with that volcano? Well, now you do!
While everything had me smiling, perhaps the most interesting set of products I saw were from The Young Scientists Club Subscription Series. for about $17 a kit (which includes shipping), parents can subscribe for once or twice a month deliveries of experiment-filled packages their kids will love to receive. I was surprised at not only how much each thick envelope weighed, but how many items were inside for the money. In this age of internet everything, it’s just fantastic to be able to receive something physical in the post that’s beneficial to growing that little person into a smarter big person for the future.
Not to get too heavy here, but proper use and application of science (and math!) in daily life can make a difference in the lives of others in some tremendous ways. Thanks to folks like Esther Novis, the world of science is open to kids and parents who want to dive in feet first and come up for air having explored and learned something in the process.