Noggin Builders STEM Explorer is a monthly subscription of hands-on STEM activities for kids. You can get the box for $60 each month, plus a $10 shipping fee if shipping outside Illinois. The box brings hands-on STEM activities complete with materials, printed and video guides, and online interactions with a teacher.
The Explorer boxes are available in 3 age groups:
- Grades K-2
- Grades 3-5
DEAL: Get $5 off on your first any Explorer box! Use coupon code SAVE5.
This is a review of the Grade K-2 box!
Everything in the box is secured in resealable plastic bags.
You can also join the STEM Explorer community by logging to your online account. You can access video guides for projects, plus there are discussions with other Explorers and interactions with Noggin Builders teachers.
Here are the online content that we can access for the Explorer boxes. Each activity has its own folder that contains all the supplementary stuff that we need.
We opened the folder for the Sound activity, and it started with a note from the makers of the box.
The activity includes 3 explorations, and they also provided us with online resources like activity guides and videos from Noggin Builders teachers.
Here’s an example of the activity guide for Wheels and Axles, which is about making a toy car! The directions are easy to follow and kid-friendly.
The packets that contain the materials for each activity in the box are also labeled. The activities are good for a month. We got 4 so there’s 1 activity for each week. We got The Sun, Engineering Challenges, Wheels & Axles, and Sound activities.
Everything in my box!
All of the individual bags have an online section with discussion boards, videos, an overview of the entire lesson, and individual project instruction sheets
Activity #1: The Sun. In the first activity, the kids learned about the water cycle or the hydrologic cycle. The sun is really important in this process as it is what makes the cycle work.
To make the Solar Water Purifier, we need a large glass bowl, a smaller cup, plastic cover, and a rock. The instructions were listed on a card.
Activity #2: Engineering Challenges. For the second activity, the kit provided pipe cleaners, straws, marbles, string, metal paper clips, and paper. All you need to do is grab this bag and set up on Zoom with the activity. Noggin Builders sends out a schedule at the beginning of the week. It’s useful that we use shared calendars, so I just put the Zoom meetings on the kids calendars with the links and the password. They got a reminder for the class via our calendar, and went and grabbed the bag to set up.
My son enjoyed this one a lot! The online instructions aren’t necessary to do the classes at all. The instructor teaches everything, but they’re helpful if you want to review or can’t make it to a live session.
They use the Schoology learning management platform to host their classes, and then the live classes are via zoom (with a password!). A week later, this feat of engineering is still standing, which is pretty impressive.
Activity #3: Sound. The next activity is about exploring different sounds. The box provided paper cups, paper bowl strings, metal paper clips, popsicle sticks, cardboard, and colorful grains.
My kids tuned in to the online classes and did all the activities with a live instructor – I really didn’t have to do anything (it was, however, helpful to have my 9 year old help my 5 year old with the activities).
After learning all about sounds, they now proceeded on making the DIY projects.
They made telephone cups and their own stringed instrument!
Activity #4: Wheels & Axles. The last activity for this box involves wheels and axles. This kit includes pipe cleaners, straws, colored papers, cardboard, popsicle sticks, wooden axels and wheels, and cotton balls.
The kids again tuned in to the online classes before making the project for this week.
First, they created the base!
My son attached the wheels on the base of the toy car.
They also secured the parts using tape.
The body of the car is made of cardboard and colored paper.
The toy is complete and it runs successfully!
My kids also tested if the car can run with added weight inside.
They even tried running it on a makeshift ramp made with a comic book.
The wheels worked perfectly and it actually runs smoothly. They also did a crash test with an egg!
Noggin Builders STEM Explorer box sends age-appropriate STEM activities! Each week, for a month, my kids get to learn new lessons and do new activities, while also interacting with Noggin Builder teachers online. The teacher was super fun and engaging, and remembered all the kids’ names during the whole class. I also noticed that the instructors remembered children from previous classes!
The classes were focused on single concepts with multiple activities. It started with questions and moved to activities, building and scaffolding the concepts with hands-on exploration. The boys had tons of fun with Noggin Builders and it was amazing that I didn’t really need to help at all. They loved the Wheels & Axles activity the most. The box provided us with all the materials needed for all the activities, including printed and video guides. Not having to gather supplies is priceless. I always have trouble gathering “common household supplies” so I loved having the kits. Overall, we loved this format! It’s perfect for parents looking for hands-on science at home!
For this summer, Noggin Builders is hosting a virtual summer camp – $195 per week per family, plus the cost of materials. Based on our experience, I would absolutely recommend it!
What do you think of the Noggin Builders STEM Explorer box?