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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review: Exploralab

Hopefully you saw our recent post on the new Exploratorium and our visit. Soon after we went there, we got  the Exploralab book to review.

by The Exploratorium (Weldon Owen, September 2013)

Exploralab, by the Exploratorium (Weldon Owen, September 2013) is a beautiful book with different 150 experiments and ways to explore science and the world. It's a fun read, and the graphic style makes it accessible for kids. There are some "tools" your kid can use, inside the book - like a magnifying glass, a wheel and a window shade, that make it kind of like the board books the younger ones use. They definitely enhance the experience.

As you can see from the page below, the graphics make the book fun for the kids to follow. There's a page in the front showing you how to use the book, like looking at the the yellow lab number in the left corner. The black circle on the right corner lists what's needed. The white circle in the middle giving info on the scientific facts in a light way.

You'll recognize some of the concepts from visiting the Exploratorium,
which is no surprise, given that the book is a collaboration with the museum and a branded part of it. Some concepts the book explores:
-windows and weather (warp light with water, bottle a whirlpool, breeze or hurricane?)
-recess research (the pendulum swing, what's in a baseball, bounce a water balloon)
-you (the scoop on poop, bubbles, hair dryer gravity defier, how to disguise yourself)
-your body (where does light come from, those spots in your eyes, yawning, morning breath)
-water (why is water wet? waves, singing stones)

While my descriptions were rather bland (so you'll get the concept immediately), the book's descriptions and titles are fun, and the book answers a lot of questions that kid ask - that you may not have the answer to.

My son was eager to dig into it, and he immediately did one of the experiments listed - you can see one below. It uses milk, food coloring and rubbing alcohol. Unfortunately the book did not encourage him to clean up after himself, so I was stuck making him do that. It's part of experimenting!

Exploralab is aimed at kids 8+. I'd recommend letting your child take charge of the exploring, and you can look over his/her shoulder and supervise any experiments that involve a mess (like the one above). Your kid doesn't have to be a science geek to enjoy the book.

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