Gets kids excited about science
First experiments are underwhelming
Requires additional supplies
Messy at times
The Big Bag of Science offers a collection of more than 70 experiments designed for grade-school kids. But this isn’t your typical chemistry kit: Each experiment is carefully chosen to impress children and get them hooked on learning about science.
To see if the STEM (as in science, technology, engineering, and math) toy lived up to the hype, we turned the Big Bag of Science over to our 10-year-old daughter and her friends, who didn't hesitate to jump right in and start experimenting. How did the Be Amazing! Big Bag of Science hold up? Read on to find out.
Design: Perfectly sized and age-appropriate
Everything about this science kit indicates that it was thoughtfully designed. The test tubes and other equipment are small enough that kids can manipulate them easily, but large enough that they could be used for pouring liquids and mixing without spilling. Each experiment is outlined in a small printed booklet and has two sections—the experiment and the scientific explanation. The instructions are written clearly so our 10-year-old and her friends were able to work independently, and the scientific explanations are perfect for the age group—not too simple, but not too complicated.
All the components are clearly labeled and easy to identify. The only downside in its design is the storage containers. Most of the dry (and safe) chemicals included in the kit are stored in plastic bags that are difficult to close once opened; we would have preferred the chemicals to be stored in small resealable jars. It’s also worth noting that you need to supply some items for the experiments. Thankfully, these extra supplies are mostly household items.
Read more reviews of the best STEM toys for girls available to purchase online.
The instructions are written clearly so our 10-year-old and her friends were able to work independently.
Entertainment Value: Hours of fun for everyone
As we dug into the first few experiments, we weren’t sure the Big Bag of Science was going to be a hit. The early experiments created colored, fizzy water and directed you to cross the tubes to change the colors. These experiments helped prime the kids on following instructions and thinking scientifically, but the results were very ho-hum.
Despite early misgivings, we kept going, and things got much better. Most of the experiments delivered in terms of “wow factor” and drew in the children with polymer “magic.” What kid wouldn’t love creating her own gummy-like worms or balls that disappear when you drop them in water? When one experiment was done, the kids were ready to hop right into the next. We blasted through a handful of experiments before taking a break and were shocked to realize nearly two hours had gone by.
Age Range: Ideal for grade-school students
This kit is perfect for the 8- to 12-year-old crowd. The instructions are challenging enough to keep older kids engaged, but straightforward enough that they don’t get frustrated. Kids older than 12 may be turned off by the simplicity of the experiments—the science behind each experiment is targeted for this age group, so it’s fairly basic. However, younger kids may be too inexperienced to follow the instructions closely enough to get the expected results.
Most of the experiments delivered in terms of 'wow factor' and drew in the children with polymer 'magic.'
Ease of Cleaning: Not too messy if you’re prepared
There’s no way around it—the Big Bag of Science is messy. You’ll be mixing chemicals, pouring out polymers, and making slime—all of which can create a mess. You can make your life a little easier, however, by setting up a disposable plastic tablecloth that can be rolled up and thrown away when you’re finished.
Price: Expensive but worth it
The Be Amazing! Toys Big Bag of Science is one of the more expensive science kits you’ll find on the shelf, but it’s worth the price. The test tubes, petri dishes, and other materials are high quality and won’t break on you. There are cheaper science sets out there, but they don’t have as many experiments and aren’t as well-organized. We got six to eight hours of usage out of the set and would gladly buy it again.
There’s no way around it—the Big Bag of Science is messy. You’ll be mixing chemicals, pouring out polymers, and making slime.
Competition: Compare quality of supplies and breadth of experiments
There’s a lot of competition in the kids chemistry set market. Many kits, like Scientific Explorer’s My First Mind-Blowing Science Kit, entice children with exciting results, while others, like the same brand’s Disgusting Science Kit, go for the gross-out factor. The Big Bag of Science doesn’t use a hook like this because it does it all. With 70 experiments, this kit delivers the mind-blowing experiments, the gross experiments, and everything in between.
One of the closest competitors to the Big Bag of Science is based on the well-known children’s show The Magic School Bus. The Magic School Bus Chemistry Lab is also well-organized, with chemicals smartly packed into single-use packets and only a short list of materials you must supply. Even though we occasionally had to fumble with measuring ingredients and scramble to find household materials, we still prefer the Be Amazing! Toys kit because of its quality. The test tubes, petri dish, and other materials in the Big Bag of Science are rugged, lasting through all the experiments, even with multiple kids handling them. The Magic School Bus supplies, on the other hand, are made with a thinner plastic that tends to break easily. At the end of the day, it’s easier to buy baking soda than it is to find child-safe test tubes.
Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best gifts for 10-year old girls article.
Yes, buy it.
The Be Amazing! Toys Big Bag of Science is worth every penny. It will keep your kids entertained for hours while they learn how to make snow, create quicksand, experiment with magnets, and even test sunscreen. The materials are durable, and there’s extra of each chemical in case you make a mistake and need to repeat an experiment. Just be prepared to supply a few outside items and expect your table to get a bit messy while your kids explore the world of chemistry.
- Product Name Big Bag of Science
- Product Brand Be Amazing! Toys
- Price $39.99
- Release Date February 2010
- Weight 1.19 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 13 x 3.6 x 12.8 in.
- Manufacturer Recommended Age Range 8-11 years