If you, like me, have a child that loves to build, tinker and has a ton of curiosity when it comes to science and engineering, here are a few ideas for the holiday season:
LittleBits Marvel Avengers Hero Inventor Kit – Build Super Hero Gear & Code Your Own Super Powers – Kids Ages 8+
Customer Review: I got this kit as a gift for my 10 year old niece. She’s recently become an Avengers Fan – especially since the Black Panther movie. She likes playing with Lego but I was worried that this might be too complicated for her – I was totally wrong. This toy kept her occupied for hours, and she has not yet gone through all of the activities. Good combination of arts and crafts (she decorated her wearable with her own stickers and coloured paper) and science (she coded the Light display to show a pizza-seriously cool). We were all pretty impressed at how much she can do with it. Highly recommend for someone looking for a gift for a smart Marvel Fan.
Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Exploration Kit | Over 100 STEM Projects | 4-Color Project Manual | 30 Snap Modules | Unlimited Fun
Customer Review: If you are asking if this is suitable for a 5 yr. old, I’d say that the box says 8 and up, but if you have a bright 5 yr. old, they could certainly handle this great, educational toy. Also, if you are willing to sit and work with your child, they could even go younger. I’m very pleased with this purchase!
Customer Review: This set is supposed to be for ages 7 and up, but we got it to do with our 3 year old. Age is just a number, after all. He couldn’t do any of the experiments independently, but even at his young age, he was able to assist and stay involved. His favorite experiment by far was the volcano. The set comes with modeling clay to form a volcano around a hollow tube. He loved doing this. Then he got to paint the volcano. And finally, we put in a fizzy tab and water, and it erupted! He repeated this dozens of time, and for the next few days kept asking to make more eruptions. The set came with enough fizzy tabs for 6 repetitions. After that, we used baking soda and vinegar instead. We kept erupting, and erupting, and erupting. He loved it. He painted the volcano multiple times.
Here’s everything else good about the kit:
– The sheer number of experiments. We’ve worked our way through maybe 10 out of 50. Many of these are variations on previous experiments, but the variations are interesting. For example, we made two versions of slime — one was super sticky and the other was more rubbery and a lot easier to play with.
– Everything washes up. The dyes included are extremely bright and vivid and seem like they would stain, but we’ve easily cleaned everything that got colored – hands, tablecloth, plates – with no issue at all. Even the awfully sticky and gluey slime washed off super easily with water and soap.
– Easy-to-follow directions. For us as adults assisting, the directions were extremely clear. It might be trickier for a 7-year-old to follow along, but we always knew what to do. The only slightly confusing part at first was figuring out which items the experiment called for. We weren’t completely sure which item was the “beaker” for example. But the back of the box has pictures of everything inside labeled. So that made it easy.
– Most materials are included. The only things we’ve had to supply on our own are paper towels, paper plates, and water. You don’t need to buy any unusual chemicals or anything. Some variations on experiments offer ways to get a similar outcome with household items (like vinegar and baking soda) but you don’t have to have these things on hand to enjoy the experiments.
Great product for a rainy day and an interested kid!
The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book: Boil Ice, Float Water, Measure Gravity-Challenge the World Around You!
Customer Review: My late father was a Mr. Wizard chemistry teacher so science is in my life by birth as well as by education. Being unable to recall many of Dad’s teaching experiments that didn’t require a lab, I searched for a guide to help me share my love of science with my granddaughter in much the same spirit. Let me tell you, Tom Robinson’s book is IT!! Dad would have been as pleased with it as I am. It’s for everyone–no prior science education or special equipment needed, and you won’t blow up the house. The experiments are well-planned and clearly explained. They can be grouped by topic or by complexity and will appeal to a wide age range. My granddaughter is almost 10 and enjoys the book even more than when we first bought it last year. As always with things like this, adult supervision is needed, but she can do many of the projects herself. For younger kids, say 7 and under, you’ll need to do some of them yourself but it’s easy to engage even an “itty bitty scientist” in what’s happening. Another factor I’ve appreciated is that some of the experiments are not “instant gratification” whiz-bangs, which helps teach patience and persistence, assets it’s good to acquire as early as possible.
4M Tin Can RobotCustomer Review: I bought the kit as an enrichment project for my 4 yr old grandson, after we visited a robotics exhibition.
The video kept him engaged in the assembly and we were able to assemble it without using the written instructions.
He loves it and it held up through some very excited play this evening.
JuniorScope Microscope for Kids – 3 Magnification Levels – 40x, 100x, 400x – Includes Slides, Science Experiments & Accessories – Portable Student Microscope
Customer Review: My 9-year old niece loves this! I have recommended it to two other people already. I’m a science teacher so there are some things to mention. If possible, read the whole book before your kid does. It will make using the microscope much easier and fun for the kid. She’s a 3rd grader and can definitely read the book with a little bit of help. Other common issues are the fine motor skill for focusing and looking through one eye. The large knob helps with the first. Practice and covering with a hand helps with the second. I also got another box of prepared slides and a field notebook for her. I also showed her how to make her own slides, which the book shows also. Again, in this case the book is one of the strongest parts of this set.
Customer Review: Bought this for my son (age 9) and he LOVES it!!! He has already done the dinosaur dig – it kept him busy for over 2 hours, which is very hard to do!! He was very proud of himself when he finally unearthed the entire dinosaur and got it put together. He can’t wait to do the next project! If you have a kid interested in science, or if you are trying to encourage an interest, this is a great way to start!!
Customer Review: The THAMES & KOSMOS THE BIG ENGINEERING MAKERSPACE SCIENCE EXPERIMENT KIT is the real deal–a fun model-building kit that painlessly teaches basic concepts of physics (e.g., thermal air currents, levers, momentum). Each model (e.g., crane, helicopter) actually works, and is accompanied by a “what’s happening here” explanation in the manual of why it works (e.g., turning a crank hoists a crane load by exerting force on a rope threaded through pulleys that share the weight to be lifted; a helicopter’s fast tail rotor produces a force that counteracts the main rotor’s force to stabilize the helicopter).
The models are assembled from plastic parts (some parts are similar to LEGO Technic elements) by following clear step-by-step diagrams (similar to LEGO building instructions). They are powered by a pressurized air tank controlled by a switch with a lever. There are no batteries to buy or charge, because you pressurize the air tank by pumping air into it (the pump assembly resembles a bicycle tire pump).
Each model has suggestions for finding out more about the scientific principles that relate to it. The manual indicates the difficulty level of each model with a three-dot system (easy, medium, difficult).
Customer Review: A fantastic set, fun and easy to put together, and fun for kids. (My four-year old daughter loved doing it) A few suggestions:
1. Assemble and hang first, then paint (so your planets won’t look like two halves stuck together). We hung ours in the shower to paint for easy cleanup and had a great time painting them as they turned.
2. Prior to assembly, paint the hanging rack to match the color of your ceiling. The model looks beautiful!
3. Apply glow in the dark paint direct from the tubes, in thick lines–if you spread it with a brush, the thin layer of glow paint will only glow faintly