What Are Beaker Creatures?
Beaker Creatures are the latest product line from Learning Resources, makers of a number of award winning and top-rated educational toys. Beaker Creatures are miniature collectibles that children extract and identify based on physical characteristics, introducing young learners to the science behind taxonomy. That’s the technical definition. The practical definition is that Beaker Creatures are a whole lot of fun to discover and collect.
After traveling through space from their tiny distant planets, they’ve landed on Earth in search of science adventures! Beaker Creatures is a new line of science-themed collectibles from Learning Resources that combines the thrill of collecting with hands-on science experiments that build skill and spark curiosity.
Beaker Creatures press and promotional materials by Learning Resources.
What’s Included in the Box?
For the purpose of this review, I was sent one Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab. The lab kit contains the blue base that the majority of the lab components connect to, a clear overflow tray (your experiments will overflow), a clear chamber with orange rings at the top and base, two gray towers that each house a clear syringe with a green plunger, a pair of clear beakers, a green and blue pair of tongs, a green stirring rod, two creature pods, and a set of papers including the instructions and creature poster.
Following the instructions, assembly and set up was quick and easy, requiring no more than five minutes. All of the pieces are high-quality plastic, so while they feel sturdy, we were careful in assembling our lab so that we didn’t inadvertently break any of the pieces. It should also be noted that in addition to the assembly and usage instructions, the instruction booklet contains the instructions for an additional four science experiments using all or part of the lab kit—including a recipe for making “alien” slime.
How Does the Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab Work?
To extract a Beaker Creature from its pod, the child places the pod in the central chamber. The pod is similar to a bath bomb. The child fills the beakers with water and fills the syringes with water. The filled syringes lock into the dual towers. The child presses down on the plungers, emptying the water from the syringes into the chamber, causing the pod to fizz, dissolve, and reveal the creature contained within. Once the fizzing has abated, the child uses the tongs to retrieve the creature from the chamber. The creature is housed inside of a small plastic blister, which is opened by removing the base.
With the creature in-hand, the child then fills out the enclosed classification card, noting things like how many eyes or arms the creature has in order to correctly identify the creature. Honestly, we didn’t see the need to go through the examination and classification. The creatures are physiologically distinct enough from one another that it was quicker and easier just to look at the picture of the creature on the poster in order to identify the creature.
How Many Beaker Creatures Are There to Collect?
Beaker Creatures series one includes 30 regular creatures, broken down into five families, and five limited edition creatures. Our lab kit included a purple pod, which housed the Drifton, and an orange pod that housed the Flit. The color of the pod is related to the family on the poster; a green pod will only contain an Astrolyte creature, a blue pod will only contain an Oceanite creature, and so on. The caveat to all of this is the limited edition 24-carat family. These are not actually gold; these are rare creatures, one from each family, recolored yellow, that appear in the appropriate-colored pod. For example, the 24-carat Flit will appear in an orange pod, just like the regular Flit would, adding an additional layer of uncertainty to the already blind-box challenge of collecting every creature.
Additional creatures will be available for purchase in individual packs for $4.99 or two-packs for $9.99 in mid-June. Purchasing the two-pack will allow buyers to see which color pods they are buying, while the individual packs are completely blind-boxed. Assuming no duplicates, the minimum amount a buyer would spend to acquire a lab kit and all 35 creatures is $189.66. Realistically, the blind box nature of the pods means that there will likely be multiple duplicates obtained. It’s less of an issue if your child has another collector to trade with, but still something to keep in mind if your child is a completist, as collectors tend to be.
Beaker Creatures are a lot of fun. There is a thrill in putting a pod in the chamber, physically causing the reaction, and watching to see which creature is revealed. The science and learning aspects certainly take a back seat to the collectibility piece. The creatures are adorable. After watching my eight-year-old daughter helping with this review by assembling the kit and discovering her first creature, both of her older siblings, ages 12 and 13, jumped in to expose the second of the two pods in the kit.
Beaker Creatures were a huge hit in my house. My youngest immediately began asking whether we could buy some pods in time for her birthday party later this month so that she and her guests could use the kit as the spotlight activity and the guests can take home their creatures as party favors. In a group setting like she suggested is a great place to bring out the lab kit and a round of pods, so that there are constant surprises and opportunities to trade.
That leads to the only concern I have, which is the potential for frustration when attempting to complete the set. Early on, there will be enough creatures that remain uncollected to ensure a higher rate of getting a previously uncollected creature. But, as the collection nears completion, the odds of finding the needed creature becomes less and the odds of getting a duplicate becomes greater, which may lead to dissatisfaction.
We have been assured by Learning Resources that Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab, which includes two pods, is scheduled to be available on Amazon for $24.99 on June 1 (in spite of Amazon showing a release date of June 8). The Beaker Creatures Magnification Tower, which includes two pods, states that it will be available on Amazon for $16.99 on June 8, but that date may be incorrect as well. Individual pod packs will be available for $4.99, while two-packs—which include a “bio-home” display case for your creatures—will be available for $9.99 mid-June.
Disclaimer: As stated, I received a Liquid Reactor Super Lab for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.