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Monthly Hands-On Science Kits Review by Heidi Shaw

The Young Scientists Club
By Esther Novis

Wow, science and fun - by MAIL! This is a sure fire winning combination at our house, so I was thrilled to see that it is high quality in content as well.

Introduce your children to Celsius the science bug and school at home may be forever altered - for the better! Celsius is your child's guide to monthly hands-on science kits that are delivered directly to the children at home, via mail. I don't know any children that don't get excited when mail comes for them and with YSC, you get the benefit of knowing they are going to be learning something as well as be entertained. For a small monthly fee, you can choose to receive either one or two small parcels per month. Each kit is topic specific and contains a guidebook and everything needed to complete the experiments. The range of experiments is vast and varied. Lots of fun topics, from recycling, weather, and anatomy to seeds, tornadoes, eggs, and even batteries!

Mrs. Novis has her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Biology from Harvard University. She is the brainchild behind the Young Scientists Club and has put together an impressive team of specialists and parents to fill a unique void in home education. These kits will guide your child through some great experiments, while at the same time enhancing reading, writing, and mathematics skills. These kits include lots of experiments so you can thoroughly examine the topic of the month. I have looked over the list at the website and many of the topics dovetail nicely into other prepared science programs. You would just pullout the appropriate kit when you encounter that topic in your science text. All you need to add is love. Notes are included for parents and there are easy to follow instructions for the kids; narrated by the aforementioned Celsius, the science bug.

Awarded one of Dr. Toys 100 best children's product awards, it is easy to see why kids love these packs. I tested three different packs; bacteria and fungi, heart and lungs, and seeds. Each was fascinating in their own right and both my boys, eight and 15, were intrigued. Most of the kits are geared towards the middle school age range - perhaps seven to 13 years. I found, however, that once the box is opened, everyone gets involved regardless of age! A free binder is included with your first kit to keep track of handouts and parent guides. We also received a free pencil pouch with lots of fun little things inside.

At the website, children are invited into an online clubhouse hosted by Celsius and there they can explore each topic in more detail. They can also e-mail Celsius and he promises to write back.

This is a very fun idea and the contents are first rate. I really appreciated a strong emphasis on safety and the importance of reading all the instructions thoroughly. Each pack has fun lessons and questions as children complete the experiments and the company built in review questions from the previous kit if you wanted to do them in succession.

We really enjoyed the kits sent to us for review and we plan to enroll my eight-year-old son with a subscription of his own. We are hooked on the Young Scientists Club. Checkout the website and give it a try, I am sure you will be equally impressed. The Club also has a great policy for cancellation and holds. If you are heading out for holiday or want to hold for a month or two, all you need to do is e-mail them and let them know. Sounds great to me!

-- Product Review by: Heidi Shaw; Staff reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine