Friday, October 29, 2010

Yuck! (that is, Yuck by Buckets-O-Fun!) - TOS review

Recent conversation in our house:

Me:  "Guess what we're reviewing next?"

My kids:  "What?"

Me:  "Some stuff called "Yuck!"

My kids:  "Cool," followed quickly by squeals.

Note that I have *girls* and not boys - but I have girls who love science, and who love nothing better than messy science.  Yuck fit the bill perfectly.  Luckily I don't mind mess.

As part of the TOS homeschool review crew, I received small samples of four different types of "Yuck" from Buckets-O-Fun:  Chunky Yuck, Saucy Yuck, Sticky Yuck, and Snowy Yuck.  

Click here to see pictures of Yuck "finished products".

My sample of Snowy Yuck was very small, because it spilled a bit while in the mail.  (I chuckle when I think about it spilling out of the envelope and then getting exposed to water!)

In case you're wondering what Yuck is.  Yuck is a polymer - defines "polymer" as:
Any of various chemical compounds made of smaller, identical molecules (called monomers) linked together. Some polymers, like cellulose, occur naturally, while others, like nylon, are artificial. Polymers have extremely high molecular weights, make up many of the tissues of organisms, and have extremely varied and versatile uses in industry, such as in making plastics, concrete, glass, and rubber.  
According to the 4-page pamphlet sent with our Yuck samples, "poly" means many and "mer" means part or segment.  This small pamphlet also includes a material list (really just measuring gear and water), instructions and suggested observation topics for each form of Yuck. 

On its website, Buckets-O-Fun describes itself as "a one stop shopping with unique products for the creation of fun filled social and recreational events. BOF has brought together all of the products needed, saving you the time, energy, expense and frustration of searching.  The girls and I peeked at the rest of the products available on the website, and next on the girls' list (well, next after we buy some more Chunky Yuck) is a set of "belly bumpers" (see them here!).  The letter I received with the samples advised that the company is teaming up with a science teacher to develop affordable, easy projects for schools and at home - I'll be interested to see what develops!

Even though we talked about the definition of polymer and read about natural/artificial things that are polymers, the girls weren't too interested in the discussions - they wanted to get to the "fun stuff". 

We started with the Chunky Yuck.  

That big, green-rimmed bowl sure sees its share of science experiments. 

To say the girls were happy to get started was an understatement.

Following the instructions, we poured, measured, poured and observed.  The Chunky Yuck is about the size of rock salt, and we started out with a little less than 1 tbsp.

The Chunky Yuck started absorbing the water almost immediately, so Puddin couldn't *wait* to get her hands in it - Punkin was a bit more cautious, preferring to investigate with a measuring spoon at first.

But eventually she found her courage. 

 After 30 minutes, the Chunky Yuck had grown:

After a little more than an hour, all the water we initially added (2 c.) had been absorbed, so we added 2 more cups.

We put it aside and moved on to other things (including the other 3 Yuck samples).  When we came back to the Chunky Yuck, all of that second portion of water had been absorbed.  We added more water, and by the next morning noticed a significant size difference.  Look at how it grew (remember, it started out the size of rock salt) - the piece closest to the measuring tape was one piece of Chunky Yuck:

We have not yet let it dry out, simply because the girls are having so much fun just playing with it.  

While a number of my fellow crewmates noted that the 4-page pamphlet provided minimal information, I preferred it that way - the limited activities on the pamphlet let my girls' imaginations go wild with what they wanted to do next.  They want to get some more Chunky Yuck and do more in-depth experiments - their ideas include comparing adding water in a bowl kept at room temperature versus adding water in a bowl kept in the fridge (to see how it affects the speed of absorption), coloring it (Buckets-O-Fun actually has some Yuck tints in their Yuck "accessories"), comparing absorption time versus dehdyration time, comparing time to hydrate on a dry day versus time to hydrate on a humid day, etc.  I love that this project sparked so many ideas for other experiments.

We used the other three samples while the Chunky Yuck was absorbing the water, and basically did the same process.  One pic of interest - when we used the Sticky Yuck, Puddin insisted that My Hero try it out - pretty funny.  Be warned - the Sticky Yuck is a little tricky to clean  up.  In retrospect, I wish I'd not used my faithful green-rimmed bowl and rather used a disposable plastic bowl.

You can see Yuck demonstrations on YouTube here.   This page includes a link for Yuck games, but I could not get the link to work.  
A couple of things of note.  There are warnings on the packaging not to let this stuff go down the drain (can you imagine this stuff in the water system?).  Don't swallow it or get it into your eyes or open wounds.  Basically, just use common sense when using it.  You can find safety guidelines here.

A 1-lb. container of the various Yuck types ranges in price from $16 to $20.  Yuck also comes in 5-lb. and 50-lb. containers.

Contact info for Buckets-O-Fun:

6436 SE 134 th Ave.
Portland, OR 97236
503-760-8880 (local)
503-761-2052 (Fax)

Yuck was a big hit in our house.  The girls are already asking when we can order some more Chunky Yuck (which was their favorite), and we are thinking about how we might incorporate it into a science fair project.

To see other reviews of this product, click here. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


Disclaimer: As part of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product described in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.


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