PROS / Your child can learn to tell one chemical from another using the experiments in this set.
CONS / There are only a few items included with this kit, so you need to supplement the experiments with a variety of household items.
VERDICT / This is a good introductory chemistry kit for beginners who just want to learn about chemical identification.
The Ignition Series CHEM C100 Test Lab is a basic chemistry set that offers a single focus, which is chemical identification. You get just a few chemicals and tools with this kit, which means you need to make use of different things from around the house to conduct a number of experiments.
The chemical identification is extremely simple and perhaps a bit dull to adults, but these experiments make this a good introductory chemistry set for kids who love detective work and already have a penchant for critical thinking.
Each test in this science kit reveals certain properties of a chemical. For example, in the heat test, you hold a spoonful of sugar over a candle and observe how the glucose turns brown. Then, you compare the results with table salt and notice that without the glucose, the browning does not occur. The idea is that you can extrapolate information about unknown chemicals by observing how they react to your tests and then comparing the results to those of your known chemicals.
The overarching theme of this science kit for kids is to expose them to laboratory procedures. However, unlike what you get with some chemistry kits, the lab procedures are not that impressive. A good share of the activities your youngster will do involve a spoon or test tube.
The C100 Test Lab comes with only a few pieces of equipment, including some test tubes, measuring devices and safety glasses. You need several household items in order to conduct the experiments in this kit, including a candle, glass jars and other items. For each test, there is a list of required materials. The C100 Test Lab comes with a few specialty chemicals, including indicator solution. The experiments also call for several household chemicals, such as sugar, salt and laundry detergent.
This chemistry for kids kit comes with a pamphlet-like instruction manual, with each panel dedicated to one type of test. The manual also includes some ground rules for experimentation and some tips for you as the supervising adult. For each test, the manual has procedures, explanations and a few sentences about why this type of test is useful in identifying chemicals. The kit also includes guide cards to help you identify chemicals based on what you see in your test results. There is one card for each chemical, listing what tests to perform and how to interpret the results.
The CHEM C100 Test Lab does not offer a wide range of experiments like the higher-rated kits in our lineup do, but it is a good introduction to laboratory procedures. Your youngster can get involved in basic chemistry experiments for kids using a small number of simple chemicals and can learn some major principles of chemistry with this kit.