I’m all for fun toys that let kids be kids, but if you give my kids something awesome that also happens to teach them a thing or two, you’re pretty much the bee’s knees in my book (sidenote: what the hell does that even mean? I’m just trying to say that you’re pretty fantastic. I’m just not sure what’s so fantastic about a bee’s knees).
What I’m trying to say is that gifts that make learning fun are genius. Without getting to preachy and boring, I just feel like it’s the sort of thing that creates a passion in kids that could turn into a lifelong thing—and that’s pretty cool.
Do you know a budding scientist? Or even just a kid who would love to do some cool experiments? I’ve rounded up ten science gifts for kids that are so fun they won’t even realize they’re basically taking part in a science lesson. Win.
1. The Magic School Bus Slime and Polymer Lab. This award-winning kit guides kids in all sorts of experiments—from taking polymers out of milk and creating goop to producing a snow eruption and growing super-absorbent flowers.
2. Snap Circuits SOUND. This kit allows kids to explore sound in a variety of ways. There’s a voice changer and they can also record things and play it back at different speeds. Added bonus: you can connect it to your phone and analyze sounds with apps.
3. Science or Magic? For the kid that’s interested in magic and how the tricks actually work, this kit includes 20 easy tricks (with props!) and explains the science behind them.
4. Magna-Tiles. Great for kids three and older, these magnetic tiles allow kids to build three-dimensional shapes or flat patterns.
5. Little Labs Weather Science. Do you know a budding meteorologist? This kit allows kids to investigate weather with experiments on storms, clouds, rainbows, pressure and more.
6. GoldieBlox. Designed to inspire girls to be engineers, this kit includes a book and construction set geared towards getting little ladies excited to build their own machines.
7. Glow Chemistry. A glow-in-the-dark lab that lets kids make glowing slime, “atomic” worms, glowing bubbles and write a secret glow-in-the-dark message.
8. Genetics & DNA. This kit teaches kids all sorts of cool things about DNA and inheritance. They can grow a bacteria colony, isolate plant DNA, learn how to use DNA evidence to solve a crime and more!
9. Gears! Gears! Gears! Coggy Doggy. Using fine motor skills and challenging their problem-solving abilities, kids can build their own remote control model.
10. Archaeology and Pyramid Dig. With this kit, kids use hieroglyphics as well as tools and techniques similar to those of a real archaeologist to uncover artifacts in the pyramid.
In a world that generally gears science to boys, I’m thrilled that all of these are gender neutral (except GoldieBlox, which is made with girls in mind). All kids should be encouraged to explore science and these gifts are a perfect start.