Toy Reviews

Thames and Kosmos STEM LABZ : Review

My kids love all things experimental, especially when they can control their experiments from start to finish with little inference from a grown up. I am a big believer of education through play and am always pleased when the kids are being very drawn towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities. Nine times out of ten the kids make their own activities, usually of a woodwork variety but sometimes finding a box set to follow and enjoy. Now Lewis and Leah are aged 9 & 7 they can read fluently and also understand instructions to help them in their day to day lives and activities.

To help put their level of instruction following to the test Thames and Kosmos sent the kids each a STEM LABZ Experiment Kit each to try out. Out of a choice of 8 to try out we were lucky enough to receive Bouncing Planets and Molecule Beads.

Bouncing Planets

First up they tried out Bouncing Planets where they got to create self-made bouncy balls to form their own planets. Using the kits provided, all we had to provide was some warm water.

The kit contains;

  • 3 Instruction booklets in various languages (English, German, Spanish, Italian, French and Dutch)
  • Planet assemble ball x2
  • Cup
  • Pipette
  • Petri dish
  • 5 Sachets of coloured crystal granules.

First up the kids made their own planets, using a colour sachet of granules they filled a planet assemble ball each (colours can be mixed but they chose not to). With the ball full of granules they were to then dip it into the cup filled with warm water. Occasionally moving the ball around to ensure it was full of water and no air trapped.

After 2 minutes the ball was to be removed and left to stand to dry for 3 minutes. Then opening the mould to reveal their planet. Initially the planet was sticky but after leaving to air dry for a couple of minutes we were left with a perfect bouncing planet!

Next up the kids got started with making a ring for their planet. Again using a chosen colour of granules they were to line the edge of a petri dish into a circle. Using a pipette they were to put warm water onto their prepared granules and leave it to dry. This time drying took some time as they needed to be fully dried out before removing from the petri dish. After a couple of hours (of being left on a radiator) they were adequately dried out and their planets had they’re own rings.

Lewis (right) enjoying the bouncing effect of his blue planet. Please note after 2 days the ball had completely dried out and had lost its elasticity (this is noted in the instructions).

Molecule Beads

Part two of our review comes from our second box of experiments, Molecule Beads. The kids were tasked with changing liquid into slimy molecules.

Included in this set is;

  • 3 Instruction booklets in various languages (English, German, Spanish, Italian, French and Dutch)
  • 2x sachets of Sodium Lactate
  • 2x Tubs of Alginate Solution, one red and one yellow.
  • 2x Small Cups
  • 1 small Measuring Jug
  • Spatula
  • Spoon

Following the instructions the kids were challenged with mixing the stirring it until it was fully dissolved. Experiment 1 was putting droplets of Alginate Solution into the Sodium Lactate solution and watching it form into jelly balls. Meanwhile experiment 2 watch squeezing a line of Alginate Solution into the same Sodium Lactate solution and watching it form jelly snakes.

The kids particularly enjoyed making the snakes after getting to grips with the jelly balls, competing with each other to see who could make the longest snake.


Now you may notice on the front of the boxes that each of these STEM LABZ kits are recommended for Children aged 8+. Leah is aged 7 and she had absolutely no problems reading or following the instructions provided and maintained a adequate level of understanding, working safely whilst carrying out these experiments. I was always nearby or even sat with them to watch them enjoy their tasks.

If you like this review and want to find other similar reviews check out the Toy Review section of my blog.

** We were provided with 2 Experiment Kits from Thames and Kosmos to test and review, all words are my own.

1 Comment

  1. Sean Eccles

    15th April 2019 at 7:49 pm

    Bouncing planets sounds great for my son

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