As a teacher, I often sit it on the careers talks at school and, when the careers advisor asks the 11 and 12-year-olds what they want to be when they're older, I'm always surprised by the number of pupils who say that they want to work in forensics. TV series like CSI and Boneshave really made this career choice appealing to the younger generations so I was keen to see what Sophie would make of the Science X CSI : Crime Scene Investigation kit that we received to review. This range of kits was launched at Toy Fair 2013 and targets boys and girls from 8 years upwards. They're made by Ravensburger, best known for their extensive range of puzzles.
The kit comes with a detailed instruction booklet, which is packed with interesting information about forensics, as well as giving you precise instructions on how to complete the different activities. Sophie was champing at the bit, wanting to get hands on with the practical experiments, so she thought there was too much background reading at the start. It might be an idea to sit down and read the booklet (at least in part) at a quiet moment before you get the whole kit out. The quantity and level of reading explains why the kit targets children aged at least 8 though.
The box contains lots of interesting bits and pieces that Sophie excitedly unpacked : Magnifying Glass, Plastic Bottle, Measuring Tape, Pair of Tweezers, Pipette, Pair of Safety Glasses, Packet of Plaster, 5 Small Crime Scene Bags, Piece of Filter Paper, Funnel, Roll of Dough, Insect Card, Picture with Clues, Small Tube, Small Tube Holder, ID Badge, 5 Fingerprint Cards, 10 Crime Scene Cards and the Instruction Manual. That's quite a long list - but so is the list of extra items that you'll need to add from around the home: Banana, Cardboard (12”x12”), Cases / Boxes (small), Cat or Dog Food Cans, Dish Soap, Felt Tip Pen, Friends with Bicycles, Glass, Grape Juice, Hand Towel, Hand-Held Blender, Key, Knife, Measuring Cup, Methylated Spirit, Notepad, Paper, Pencil, Plastic Bags, Plastic Bowl, Ruler, Salt, Scissors, Shoe, Shoebox, Skin Cream, Soil, Spoon, Stop Watch, Sugar, Tape, Teaspoon, Tub or Shower, Water, Wooden Stick. You'll probably have most of them but you may well be missing a few bits so have a good sort out beforehand, to avoid disappointment, and make sure you set aside a large area for assembling everything you need !
The kit invites you to take part in twelve experiments, from collecting evidence with sellotape (Sophie picked up mainly dog hair and biscuit crumbs from our "crime scene" !) to making plaster casts of footprints, comparing tyre tracks, making a copy of a key, taking finger prints and even analysing blood spatter (don't worry - no blood needed !). It's a very complete and in-depth kit and one that will need to be done in several sessions because there is far too much to do in one go. That's great if you need to keep the kids entertained during the school holidays, for example.
Sophie had a lot of fun with it and learnt a lot, getting answers to questions she'd already wondered about but also thinking about things she'd never considered before. One thing I did notice though is that the packaging says that direct adult supervision is required but there is only one pair of protective goggles - hmmm !
National Science and Engineering Week will be kicking off next week (from 15th-24th March) so if you fancy getting your kids interested in something that's fun and educational in honour of the occasion, this kit is bound to appeal. Look out for the other products in the range, including Crystals & Gemstones, Electronics & Circuitry, Triops & Dinosaurs, Simulating Nature and Secret Messages & Codes.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £16.99
review by Cheryl at MadHouse Family Reviews