By Smart Lab

Reviewed for Second Grade, 2008

You Mix It: Secret Formula Lab

For lots of kids, there's much delight in getting a chemistry kit at the holidays. While grownups are mixing cookies and pie, what could be more fun (for kids, at least) than blowing stuff up in the bathtub? The trouble, of course, is finding reasonably nontoxic, kid-friendly gear that won't require minute-by-minute adult scrutiny, and, with luck, won't leave pock marks on your bathroom tile, either. That's why we liked Smart Lab's “You Mix It: Secret Formula Lab,” with projects that let kids create “alien blood,” grow their very own fungus, and make invisible ink-- all from simple, nontoxic materials. The manual is topnotch too; it's written by well-known kids' author Shar Levine. Just beware that instant play may not be possible without a stocked pantry: not all the supplies you need are provided. You'll need several household materials, such as baking soda, vinegar, teaspoons, and measuring cups, to make each concoction complete. (Smart Lab, $14.99)