Are you still shopping for Christmas gifts? If you’re like me, you want to find presents that are fun, but also aren’t going to turn your child’s brain to mush. I’ve done a lot of research to find toys that are fun AND educational. You’ll notice that I use the term “toys” loosely because many of these recommendations are good enough to be used by an adult too- I believe budding scientists need a chance to experiment with real, high quality materials. Here are my top 10 science toys for kids:
1. Snap Circuits: These toys are crazy awesome. Each element of the circuit is made into a sturdy plastic piece that “snaps” into place (like a snap button) on a base plate. Each kit has a ton of projects to do. The smallest kit has 100 projects, but if you really want to encourage learning about electricity, grab Elenco Snap Circuits SC-750R Student Training Program which comes with educational materials too. Homeschoolers, take note- this could easily be a Christmas present AND a semester of science!
2. Engino Models– these Engino kits come highly recommended- sturdy plastic, and tons of engineering potential. Some kits include motors and other neat elements. The simple machines kit is on my wishlist for Bug!
3. Lego Mindstorms– Yes, it’s expensive. But it’s a ROBOT. One you get to build and program and play with. Did I say you? I mean…. your child. Or you. This one may be on my wishlist for me.
4. GreenEarth Praying Mantis (and, it’s neighbors, grow a frog, lady bug land, and butterfly kits)- There is no better way to learn about life than to see it in action. You could go catch these critters on your own, but these kits make it easy. The company sends you the baby buggies, and all the supplies needed to watch them grow up.
5. Rock Tumbler and a Box ‘o Rocks– My kids love rocks, minerals and gems, and the shinier, the better. This book is one of Bug’s favorites to drool over (leave it to my cute kiddo to love a rock book best). If you hate the sound of rock tumblers, this pre-sorted rock collection is a good way to build interest!
6. Thames and Kosmos Chemistry Kits– These are awesome for a budding chemist. Real chemicals, real reactions, real science…. and they really won’t ship one to my APO address because of it. No worries, I have a plan for this bad boy as soon as I get back to the states. I’ve heard amazing reviews of this kit, and I am not surprised. We got the Thames and Kosmos Physics kit last year, and it is amazing.
7. Science Wiz Inventions Kits– I have a couple of these kits and I am so impressed with the quality for the price. This kit has lots of neat things for your child to build, and it comes with a little book that explains everything in a very picture heavy way. Love them!
8. Binoculars– Grab these, and a bird watching book for a nature loving kid. This particular pair comes highly recommended, and doesn’t cost much at all. They should be good enough for bird watching, looking at the night sky, and checking out other things outdoors. These Fandex family field guides are fantastic and would go great with this gift!
9. Microscope– this is the same one we own. I love the binocular feature because it’s easier for the kids to look through it. This one is heavy duty- solid enough to not be breakable, and powerful enough to give us a good view of anything we put underneath it. It’s a fantastic price for what you get. Pair it with pre-made slides for an open and go, science filled Christmas morning!
10. Telescope– I’ll never forget the Christmas I got a telescope. My mom and I used to wake up in the middle of the night to watch meteor showers, and check out the stars. For years, my Celestron sat in my window.
Do you have any other suggestions for Science Minded kids? Share them in the comments!