If Bowl Of Noses had a summer camp, one of the electives would be Mad Science 101. Definitely, we'd have lots of stuff that explodes and makes stinky smells, but hey, it'd be educational too (we've got another 20 fun things to do on the list too, so best sign up for the whole fantasy summer!).
Although the Rhode Island-based Thames & Kosmos has only been around since 2001, the science kit manufacturer has a roster of more than 57 award-winning kits. This prolific output has been possible, no doubt, through partnership with the respected German publisher Kosmos, which has been producing experimental sets since 1922. (Its chemistry set won a gold medal at the 1937 World's Fair.)
Thames & Kosmos has been publishing eco-driven science kits since its inception. In fact, the first product to be introduced to the States under the label was the Fuel Cell kit. At last week's NYC Toy Fair, the company introduced four new kits in its Alternative Energy and Environmental Science line-up, one of which was a revised and sportier (see above) version of the Fuel Cell Car and Experiment kit. Available this fall for $169, we're guessing this kit might be a popular holiday gift for automotive executives.Another revised edition is the new Power House Green Essentials Edition. A follow-up to the best selling Power House Kit, the new edition is geared towards kids ten and up, and features 30 experiments over ten energy-related models: the power house itself, a greenhouse, a solar cell array, a passive solar collector, a solar oven, an air conditioner, a refrigerator, a hydrometer, a lemon battery and a wind power generator.
Entirely new for 2009, the Hydropower kit is geared towards kids ages eight and up. It focuses on teaching the power of water through twelve experiments and building projects. Kids learn age-old hydropower schemes through building a water wheel, sawmill and hammer mill, while gaining insight into water pressure through a water tower, communicating vessels and a fountain. And for those budding ecopreneurs out there, the kit elaborates on how electricity can be generated by harnessing the power of ocean waves, tidal flows and rivers. Hydropower will be available this summer and sell for $50.
Lastly, and just in time to prepare today's youth for tomorrow's raging climate crisis, is the Global Warming kit. This one features experiments that teach about the Earth's delicate climate system and the role we humans play in shaping it through experiments that model the atmosphere, wind and ocean currents. Global warming scenarios are developed with experiments involving carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect. Although this kit is geared primarily for children ages 10 and up, we can't help but think it might be a helpful learning device for the lingering group of global warming naysayers out there. Available this summer, the kit will sell for $35.