K12 to STEM Career
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STEM Toy Review of Physics Workshop

If you are a regular reader, you know that we subscribe to Amazon.com's monthly STEM Toys Club where every month we are sent a new educational game, kit or experience.  Last month, we reviewed the National Geographic Dig Kit which we loved.  This month we unpacked Thomas & Kosmos Physics Workshop.  Last weekend we finally found some time to start building!

The beauty of the club is you get a new toy every month for only $20.  Considering the Physics Workshop costs $39 on Amazon.com today, this is a saving of almost 50%!  If you'd like to sign up for the STEM club, please consider using our affiliate link which gives us a small commission at no charge to you.


Why buy the Physics Workshop?

Here is what the manufacturer says.

Almost everyone has heard of a chemistry set. But until this kit was introduced, a physics set was almost unheard of. Physics is an essential science for everyone, and this kit provides a comprehensive explanation of mechanical physics. Through building 36 models and conducting subsequent experiments with the models, you will learn the fundamental laws of mechanical physics. Start by building small models, such as a fixed pulley, to learn about basic forces and simple machines. Then, work your way up to more complex machines, such as a pendulum clock, to learn more advanced concepts like work and centripetal force. This hands-on approach is both fun and effective because the principles of physics are demonstrated right in front of you.

What did Rizwan and Khadija think?

Check out our YouTube video to see the kids unbox Physics Workshop, assemble the Potato Drop, have fun dropping the potato and summarizing what they learned.  I also share my point of view as a parent.

Perhaps more importantly, enjoy the video to see which of my kids wins the game "WHO HAS THE BEST AIM!”

Tell me more about the Thames & Kosmos?

Thames & Kosmos was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving informal science education outside of the classroom by publishing high-quality science kits for children of all ages. T&K's mission has since expanded from its STEM roots to encompass other educational branches as well, including arts and crafts and the panoply of thinking and social skills that can be taught through games and magic.

T&K emphasizes teaching concepts and skills through tactile processes. Their vision is to give all children access to real, physical activities and projects that teach them how things work.

Why buy Physics Workshop?

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    This is quite a sophisticated kit.  The first workshop alone took an hour, and as you'll see from the video, Rizwan and Khadija LOVED playing Potato Drop.  I just tucked my kids into bed, and both were excited about trying the 2nd workshop.
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    If you are homeschooling or really into Physics, this is an excellent way to skip or supplement the Physics textbooks and apply the concepts hands on.
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    Even though it says 8+, this kit will challenge any teenager.  We've got a lot more playtime left with the kit.

Why not buy Physics Workshop?

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    The biggest negative is how skimpy the directions are.  1-2 low-resolution pictures per workshop are NOT enough to help your kid quickly assemble the item.  The paper instructions point you to an online website to get more details, but instead literally takes you to the same low-resolution image!  No helpful!
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    Parents are going to have to be very hands-on in helping their children.  I spent an hour with my kids just on the first workshop.  Judging by how much fun the kids had with Potato Drop, and by the honest truth that both they and I learned a few new things, this isn't a big con for me.  But something you need to consider.
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    Some reviewers on Amazon have pointed to poor build quality with some of the parts.  I haven't seen this yet, although I very quickly damaged one piece as I tried to separate two incorrectly combined parts.  

If you'd like to buy Physics Workshop, please consider using my Affiliate link below.

About the Author Iftikhar Khan

With over 16 years of Operations Leadership at Apple, Iftikhar has had pivotal roles in launching the iPod, iPhone, iPad & Apple Watch. In late 2017, he launched k12toSTEMCareer.com with the goal of becoming a better parent to his children, Rizwan and Khadija. Today, over 1214 people follow Iftikhar's writings around STEM & Parenting. Read Iftikhar's personal story about his journey from an Introvert to a Director at Apple.

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