This is part four of my STEM Toys For Kids That Parents Will Love series. Check out the others by clicking the images below.
Introducing the MC2 dolls and the MC2 Ultimate Lab Kit.
The dolls are the product counterpart of the Project MC2 series on Netflix about four teenage girls who join a secret spy organization where they have to use STEM skills to complete missions. Their mantra is “smart is the new cool.”
The MC2 Ultimate Lab Kit is sold separately and contains toy-like lab equipment that kids can use do to their own experiments at home. It comes complete with an experiment notebook that offers kids 16 different ideas for experiments. In order to do the experiments, you'll need to purchase additional ingredients like food coloring, milk, oil, baking soda, etc - all things you could get at your grocery store.
The doll itself comes with a backpack, a notebook, and a basic science experiment: a lava lamp. It’s a great option for parents who want to get their child a doll, but want to feel like it’s at least a little educational. The lava lamp looks like a cute experiment (I didn’t buy the materials to do it myself), but the lamp itself lights up, and it’s a cute added feature to the kit.
The lava lamp experiment offers an opportunity to teach your child about the density of liquids. The lava lamp in this kit works differently than a traditional lava lamp you’d by for your room (which operates because of heat applied to the bottom of the lamp). The one in this kit will make that lava lamp effect using Alka-Seltzer. You simply put vegetable oil and water in the container, which don’t mix. The water will sink to the bottom because it’s slightly denser than the oil. You can also add food coloring to the water and make it more lava lamp-esque.
Now, by adding in an Alka-Seltzer, which will sink to the bottom with the water, a reaction will start to occur. The water and Alka-Seltzer combine to create carbon dioxide bubbles, which stick to the water droplets, and rise to the top of the container (because carbon dioxide is less dense than both liquids). And once that air is released, the resultant water will sink back down to the bottom.
In addition to the dolls, MC2 also has an “Ultimate Lab Kit” which comes with all of the pieces shown below.
The best part about this product is that it comes with a notebook that has 16 different little science experiments that kids can do with the lab kit (plus other basic materials that you’d need to buy like milk, food coloring, balloons, etc). There are some really great experiments in there for your kid to do (Think: Litmus Tests, microscope analysis, bubbling and fizzling Alka-Seltzer experiments, and glitter silly putty).
Unfortunately, they don’t really explain the science behind them. However, they are all basic experiments that others have done and explained online, so it may take a little extra effort, but you could certainly find many STEM lessons in these experiments. If you use this with your child, you really should spend some time watching science educators do the experiments and explain why they happen. If your child doesn't understand *why* the reactions are happening, they're missing a huge point of the experiment in the first place.
To get a good feel for how complex each experiment is, check out the sample page from the experiment notebook above. I’ve done this experiment with kids before and it’s certainly a fun one to do. You’ll need milk, food coloring, a Q-Tip and some dish washing soap. The food coloring is added just so we can watch the interaction between the milk (which contains fat and proteins) and the soap. When the soap is added to the milk, it breaks the surface tension in that location. When you have areas of high surface tension and low surface tension, you'll create movement in the liquid. This results in the milk (and the food coloring that sits on its surface) to be moved around in all directions. Check out this video here to learn more.
Overall, the doll combined with the lab kit offers a great opportunity to do experiments with your kids. The notebook gives you a lot of great experiment ideas, but you'll still need to do a little research to explain the science behind what is happening.
Where Can I Buy This?
The MC2 Doll is $25 and the MC2 Ultimate Lab Kit is $44.44. Both of these items can be purchased on Amazon at the links below.
STEM Toys for Kids that Parents Will Love