WHAT: Make Your Own Snowman World by DuneCraft
DOES: Allow you to safely and casually carry out scientific play.
INVEST: $9.99 MSRP
TOOLS: Express Yourself, More Make-Believe Please, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer
I like when my kids play with science toys. I feel like they are doing something good that they can apply to their futures. However, when I look at the science toys we do have, I notice that they all have something to do with electricity. That seems a little shortsighted to me but what else is really out there?
Yes, there are lots of other things available but some of those science kits are really expensive. I also want my son to experiment with test tubes and such but I worry a little. With such kits, you MUST follow directions and if it can fit into a test tube then there is a chance that you can be cleaning up a big fat mess. Ugh! Are such science toys really worth the trouble?
YES!!!! I have one and it's very affordable!
|This reminds me of the stuff in disposable diapers but I don't think it's the exact same thing.|
|Molds work well when creating snowmen. We used a small playdoh container.|
Seriously Can Kids Really Make Snow... even in the Summer?
I have long been curious about instant snow kits. Technology is so amazing now that I honestly don't even get too surprised anymore. I mean come on, we live in a generation where kids are playing with Sifteos and Spheros thus creating snow doesn't seem so out of this world now, does it?
I suppose, but if you stop and think for just a few minutes, you have to wonder..... how the heck does that really happen? Can I make real snow in the summer? So far, even after playing with Dunecraft's Make Your Own Snowman Kit, the answer is still: NO.
You can't feel this material so we made this video so you can get an idea of what it could feel like.
But... and it's a big BUT, Make Your Own Snowman is so much more fun because it really isn't real snow. It only looks like it and that is the best part. Like snow, you are playing around with something flaky and somewhat moldable but unlike snow, it will not melt on you or freeze your kids fingers.
My son found out I had this and he BEGGED me to play with it and so I did the Evil Mom thing and I agreed but only under the condition that he read the directions. They were not the kind of directions with tons of pictures either. Still, he read the whole thing. Thank you Dunecraft and Whisperphone (see photo of super-apperatus).
|Making snow is motivating!|
Safe and Self-Propelled Science Exploration
As we started making it, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't cold like snow. But I listened to my child who had this running commentary on what he was feeling. "This feels good, Mom," he'd tell me. I realized something right then and there. I don't let him get messy enough nor do I let him experiment enough. All he wants to do is answer the question, "What happens if I.....?"
Truth be told, he is a Class A thing-breaker and mess-maker to the degree that warrants a forever NO-MESS policy but when we were playing with the fake snow, I realized that I had to let loose a little. It's safe. It's not expensive. There are generous amounts of materials, even in that little box. It was okay to go a little crazy. Thus, I wasn't strict about measuring anything and after trying to make the snowmen, we realized that this kit could go way beyond making snowmen. For starters, we thought it wise to spread color on it - everywhere!
|Playing around with color and consistency. You may not know what you are learning but you know you definitely are learning something here.|
|Pastel ice balls serve no purpose other than serving as a delightful vision - it's more than enough!|
I'm not a huge fan of food dye but I do have some at home. I had run out of India Tree natural food coloring and so we used the artificial kind. We started making snowballs of different colors and Number 1 Son even injected some dye into the polymer balls, which when dipped in water became little balls that looked like little ice balls. It turned out beautiful! I loved what he did.
We had so much fun and I completely forgot that we were playing with a science toy. This toy only costs around $10 but it is supposed to be resusable. I did not bother trying to reuse it. I think all you have to do is let is dry out but I really didn't feel like dedicating space in our small apartment to do that. You might think that it's a waste but honestly, it costs around $18 just for one adult to see a movie and for almost half of that, three children and one adult were able to have a good two hours of fun with this. Because you can store this indefinitely, it's a good thing to have around for playdates or days when you are stuck at home.
|These take about four hours to expand. They expand about 200x their original size.|
|This looks therapeutic! And they bounce too!|
|What would it be like to fill a whole bucket of these and squish your feet on top of them? I think I would never stop laughing. Sounds therapeutic to me!|
What about science, did they learn any science? David Wells from the New York Hall of Science once shared this with me when we discussed magnetic toys and really young kids (toddler and preschool). He said that kids are learning via play. They may be learning the traits of these materials without necessarily fully understanding how it works. However, there definitely is learning happening here because once they are ready to learn lessons about magnetism in school, they will already have had some exposure to it through play and so they may absorb the lesson easier/faster when they start learning about magnetism in an academic setting. Cool! I guess this kit would be teaching us about polymers.
|Helicopter crash on a snowy mountain.....|
|This was my favorite part. Number 1 discovered that he could make these. They are gorgeous.|
All in all, the Make Your Own Snowman World is tons of fun. You can use it as props for your toys for storytelling or you can use it to make art. The kids loved dying them and mix up the colors. It felt fantastic just to stick your hands in the mix and swish them around. We felt powerful as we tried to figure out how to change the consistency by adding more water. Most importantly, I achieved my goal in allowing my son to experiment and answer his own "What if" questions. It's a good thing too because his food dye injections into the not-yet-fully-expanded snowball spherical polymers looked like little jewels. It was special and we all knew that.
Number 1 dyes his "snowballs" Look at all that dye on his hands. OY!
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Disclosure statement: Toys are Tools has not been compensated in any fashion by the manufacturer or retailer of any of the mentioned products for the publication of this post. The product was given to Toys are Tools' testers to facilitate a review. Reviews are never promised.