Review: Magic School Bus Microscope Lab, A Science Kit That Shines

Magic School Bus Microscope Lab

Do you know what salt looks like?  I mean what it really looks like?  What about sugar, think you have a firm grasp on what sugar looks like?  After spending a few days playing with the Magic School Bus Microscope Lab Science Kit,  you will find yourself asking people these questions as well.  For the record, as experiment #15 explains, salt crystals are shaped like cubes, 4 equal sides, while sugar crystals are shaped liked hexagons (6 sides).

Fake Bus – But Real Microscope

We first saw the Magic School Bus Microscope Lab at Toy Fair 2011.  We were impressed by the packaging, it comes in a bus shaped box, in the same manner as the Magic School Bus Chemistry Lab that we reviewed earlier.   While cool packaging is great, we of course wanted to test out the equipment inside the box.

We have now had a chance to fully test out the Microscope Lab and we were impressed.  You get a real microscope, slides, experiments, specimens and more.

Here is quick video on what you get with the Magic School Bus Microscope Lab -

The World Sure Looks Different at 600x Magnification

I played a game with the kids – guess the slide.  At 100x magnification they could sometimes figure out what I had put on the slide.  However, when I bumped it up to 300x and 600x magnification, even maple syrup looks like a creature from another planet.

The microscope is pretty impressive for a sub $40 product.  You get three levels of magnification – 100x, 300x and 600x.  The microscope also has a battery powered light to help see what you have on your slide.  The microscope does not feel like something you would want to bang around too much – it is made of plastic – but it did survive our testing.

Magic School Bus Microscope Lab Has Fun Experiments, But Experimenting is More Fun

As we showed in the video, the kit comes with some great experiment cards.  We did have fun doing the experiments and learning about things like crystals and plant structure.   The real fun though is making up your own slides and examining the world around you.  You get a few blank slides and slide covers, so it is a pretty easy process to make your own slides.  The kids got into finding different substances we could put onto the slide.  As a parent, I love to see a toy that makes kids think, ask questions and then do experiments to find out the answers.

Microscope Lab is a Science Kit Even Younger Kids Will Enjoy

Many of the science kits on the market are for kids ages 8 and up.  The Magic School Bus Microscope Lab is for kids ages 5 and up.   Younger kids can definitely enjoy looking at the slides, the only problem is the one many kids have with microscopes – closing one eye.  For some reason, many kids have a problem closing one eye and looking through a small eye piece.  This can be an issue with the Magic School Bus Microscope since the eye piece is relatively small.  With some practice they can get it, but it can take a little work to get younger kids comfortable looking into a microscope.

Conclusion:  The Magic School Bus Microscope Lab

There is a lot to like about the Magic School Bus Microscope Lab.  You get a microscope with 100x, 300x and 600x magnification settings.   The set comes with fun experiment cards that feature all the characters from The Magic School Bus and have some very interesting explanations.  In addition to prepared slides you also get blank slides so you can make your own experiments.  Of course, the research notebook is a great place to record your findings.

We also like how the Magic School Bus kits work together.  In the Magic School Bus Chemistry Lab you can grow fungus, then you can take the fungus and examine it with the Magic School Bus Microscope lab.  We believe that if we want our kids to love science, we need to make it part of their play time and fun!  These Magic School Bus Kits definitely make science and learning fun.

The only negative to the kit is that the microscope is not of the highest quality and younger kids can have some issues trying to look through the single eye piece.   To be fair, the Magic School Bus Microscope is not intended to be a high precision microscope, it is meant to introduce young kids to the concepts of magnification and it does this very well.

If you want a science kit that will get your kids looking at things in a whole new manner, The Magic School Bus Microscope Lab is an excellent choice.   Once your children discover the power of 600x magnification, they will never look at paper, plants, water, hair – well anything – without wondering how it will look under the microscope.  Of course, they will have to wrestle the microscope away from you – I can’t stop looking at maple syrup at 600x magnification!

The Magic School Bus Microscope Lab from The Young Scientist Club Gets 4 D’s (scale of 1 to 5) -

4 D Rating - Well Done

Any Product That Receives 4 or 5 D’s is Dad Does Approved!

Dad Does Approved
Here is our complete rating chart –

Dad Does Rating System

More Information:

The Magic School Bus Microscope Lab – sells for around $40

FULL DISCLOSURE: We received The Magic School Bus Microscope Lab to review. We received no money for doing this review and receive nothing if you do decide to buy the Microscope Lab. If your child has nightmares because maple syrup looks like a monster at 600x magnification – sorry. This is a real review, by a real Dad (and his kids)!

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