For those of you with kids in the 5-12 age-range, I highly recommend you check out The Magic School Bus Science Club, offered through The Young Scientist Club (www.theyoungscientistclub.com). By joining the club, you’ll receive twelve Magic School Bus science kits, one mailed each month of the year. The cost is about $240/year, but you might be able to find a 50% off membership offer through one of the deal websites, like Woot or Mamapedia (where we purchased ours).
On Tuesday, I kept my five-year-old home from school, as he was sick. We took advantage of the extra time at home to do one of the kits we received over a month ago… the kit about fossils. Before we started the activities and experiments included in the kit, we reread one of our favorite books about dinosaurs… The Magic School Bus: In the Time of Dinosaurs. I always enjoy reading the Magic School Bus books to my son, but he’s having even more fun with the books now that he can read the books to himself. He reads the little side-bar notes and the bubble comments to himself over and over. So fun!
Then we jumped into the first activity of the kit, exploring how a fossil is formed. The goal here was to arrange the seven pictures and seven descriptions in the correct order. I wasn’t sure if this one would hold my son’s attention, but he loved it! He worked through the pictures first, and then he matched up the descriptions.
The kit includes a replica of a plant fossil, which was used in the next activity. The child studies the replica and draws observations.
Next, the kit includes several experiments to show how fossils are created, such as “Mold” fossils and “Cast” fossils. My son enjoyed these activities the most. Here’s his Mold Fossil right after he removed the included plastic dinosaur from the Plaster of Paris.
The kit includes seven activities in all. The last several include painting the molds we made, a comparison of fossil teeth, and a review of fossil types.
This kit was great! The instructions were clear and easy, and all materials were provided. The follow-up information to be read to the child after each activity really helped explain the real-life application of what we’d just done. We look forward to doing more of these kits in the future (I already have two more sitting around for another quiet day at home).