When we began homeschooling our youngest kiddos I embraced STEM kits of all kinds with huge enthusiasm. “Turn a Can into a Robot” – absolutely, “Make your own Weather Station” – OK we’d love to, “Build a working Windmill” – of course just let me get the kit!
Then we discovered that not all kits are created equal. Many of the cool looking items out there are educational in their own way but are very much focused on following instructions – “Here are all the things you need, these are the steps you need to take to make it work, this is what it demonstrates, done.”
Groovy Lab, subscription based STEM exploration projects, turns all of this on its head and encourages kids to think for themselves, experiment with different ideas and use the STEM knowledge and equipment in the box to create something truly unique to them.
What comes inside?
Inside the box, there is a complete Engineering Design Challenge and everything you need to do it. Not, “some common household materials required” like many kits you can buy. There is also a fab & groovy Lab Notebook, where we read about the Stitch-A-Circuit design challenge, performed investigation activities and documented our findings. Everything is here to encourage your child to investigate, brainstorm, plan, build, test and redesign their own creations.
We also received access to the fantastic “Beyond… in a Box” on-line resource. This is a unique feature of Groovy Lab in a Box because it gives you and your child the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of each month’s topic. “Beyond…in a Box” has videos and more interactive activities to supplement what you learn from the project in the box. Both of the kiddos enjoyed exploring the on-line resource and being able to access it on any mobile device meant that they could continue their learning journey in the truck – awesome non-stop learning!
How does it work?
While the investigation activities have step-by-step directions, you do not receive step by step directions to complete the Engineering Design Challenge. Instead, your child must use critical thinking skills, and what they’ve learned through the investigation process from the Lab Notebook and on-line activities. This is, as far as I’m concerned, the best thing about Groovy Lab – the way it encourages your child to think creatively instead of only following instructions. Our kids learned so much more through trial & error & trying all kinds of creative solutions – it was wonderful to watch them.
I would recommend Groovy Lab in a Box for all homeschoolers, parents who want to enhance what their kiddos are learning in school & anyone who wants to encourage critical thinking in their child. You can purchase individual kits (we’ll be buying “Come-Fly-With-Me & “Moon Dance” next!) or subscribe to receive kits monthly.
Engineering Design Challenge: You are a wearable technology engineer and an avid groovy reader. Using only the materials from your Groovy Lab in a Box, can you design and build an LED book light that doubles as a bookmark and a fashionable e-cuff? Explore electronic devices, circuits, wearable technology and much, much, more!
Additional Resources for STEM Lovers
Time Skaters – Science, arts, and history-themed educational activities come packed inside a pencil box designed to last. For Adventures 2 and 3, we’ve dared to think outside the box.
Talking Seed Packs & Interactive Book – Talking Seed Packs for Kids! Powerful Plants utilizes cutting-edge augmented reality technology to teach children about plants & get them excited and inspired about growing and eating their own healthy vegetables.
Human Body Detectives – Human Body Detectives 3rd book on the Heart. Includes: The audio CD of the story 20 + pages of activities to reinforce the audio story two full pages of colorful stickers Perfect for the classroom or birthdays gifts!
About the All-Star Blogger
Patti Barnes is a homeschooling mother of five doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos. She writes about family life, homeschooling, autism and a whole lot more on Red Headed Patti. Her greatest ambition is to drink a whole cup of tea, without interruption, while it is still hot.