Science Education and Learning Toys

There are many educational science toys and learning sets to help children gain the benefits of science education. If you are looking for an idea for a gift, consider one (or more) of the following. These educational science toys and learning sets are just part of a larger science toy category that includes:

  • volcanic eruptions
  • photography kits
  • DNA testing kits
  • globes and models
  • biological dissection kits
  • astrological star charts
  • medical doctor and veterinarian kits.

Fun learning and science go together and are supported by organisations such as the National Science Academy and Lerna Australia (science degrees).

Science toys are increasingly important as technology encroaches ever more in the classroom and in our everyday lives. They give kids the opportunity to use their hands for learning in a way that doesn’t involve tapping on a keyboard, mouse or screen.

1. Chemistry Sets

Chemistry sets encompass slime, cooking, glow-in-the-dark fun, and traditional mixing of reagents in test tubes. There’s something for everyone! Learn how to choose a chemistry set here or check out the Thames & Kosmos CHEM C3000 Chemistry Kit.

The CHEM C3000 is a complete curriculum for the child who’s on their way to a high school or college study to study Chemistry. Learn how to build a fire extinguisher and explore kitchen and household chemistry, learning about the science of glow-in-the-dark substances, enabling them to perform ‘tricks’ for friends and family, all while learning about Chemistry and science.

2. Creature Habitats

You could start an aquarium or terrarium with any number of animals and plants. Creature habitats extend well beyond the traditional ant farm! Check out homes for butterflies, hermit crabs, ‘sea monkeys’ (can you say brine shrimp?), bird houses, frog farms, and more!

Teach the complexities of the Earth’s interacting systems with this award-winning, panoramic, 4 tiered, variably enclosed global greenhouse called the Eco Dome Planet from Wild Science. Animal habitats can be ported to the Eco System via the side panels. Gauging the world within the Eco System will be easy, thanks to built-in thermometers, water meters, growth meters and air movement indicators.

3. Telescopes

Choose from reflectors or refractors. A telescope is an investment that requires a bit of research before purchasing.  Some factors to consider are whether or not the manufacturer make high-end equipment or other high-end optical equipment like Meade.  If so, you’re more likely to get a scaled down, but not scaled back version. Expect to spend a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.

Perfect for observing the moon, planets and land objects, the Meade RB-70 telescope is an excellent beginner telescope that assembles in minutes and weighs only 10 pounds.  The magnification is very good allowing you to see the craters on the moon very clearly, which can be identified by their names by looking at the moon map.

4. Rock Tumblers

There are rock tumblers that rotate such that they ‘tumble’ the rock and those that spin along the other axis and agitate the rocks. The first produces rounded rocks and the second retains the rock’s shape. You get what you pay for in a tumbler but in general, extra grit is better.

The Model T Kit Rock Tumbler is a 3 pound capacity tumbler with one rubber barrel for the beginner. It does a quality job of polishing stones, but has a lighter motor than other models. The kit contains polishing rock, 4 grades of polishing abrasives, jewelry findings, and booklet entitled, “A Guide For Rock Polishers”.

5. Electronics Kits

In addition to traditional electronics sets with wires, capacitors, and such, there are also brightly-colored modular sets suitable for younger inventors. Some kits build motion detectors, light beam alarms, lie-detectors, water sensors, just to name a few!

Give your child an exciting, hands-on introduction to electronics with Elenco’sElectronics Snap Circuits Extreme SC-750. This kit contains over 80 color-coded, real circuit components that snap together to create working electronic circuits and devices. Recommended for children 8 and older, this set offers over 750 do-it-yourself projects that will give your child an entertaining, concrete education on how electronics work.

6. Microscopes

As with telescopes and other optical equipment, microscopes vary in quality. Check the manufacturer of the optics to see if they also make high-end optical equipment. Also, look for a microscope with a self-protective mechanism to prevent the lens being mashed into the specimen. There are also sets that project magnified images onto a computer screen or a television monitor.

The My First Lab Duo-Scope is a dual functioning biological microscope that incorporates modified objectives with dual cool LED illumination! This allows the user to view both microscopic sized specimens on slides as well as macroscopic (solid) objects like bugs, stamps and coins!

7. Metal Detectors

There are hand-held metal detectors and height-adjustable models. Choose one with adjustable sensitivity and be sure to buy batteries in advance. Metal detectors are available in a wide range of prices.

Hidden coins, long-lost gadgets – what kind of treasure is hidden in your backyard? This real-working metal detector from Wild Planet finds it all! Attach the extended handle to search a large area on foot. Remove it and scan small hiding spots like under the bed or beneath cushions. When the metal detector starts beeping, your child will know they’ve hit the jackpot!

8. Fossil and Archaeology Kits

Dig artifacts or fossils, reconstruct skeletal remains, or hone archeological skills through the many games and puzzles available. There’s something for every treasure-hunter and explorer. Be advised that some toys are one-use-only (but fun while they last).

This T. Rex Dig Site Excavation Adventure lets kids become modern day dinosaur hunters and archaeologists. Using steel tools, kids dig through dust-free Dinostone rock to unearth replica dinosaur bones and Egyptian artifacts. Includes a Paleontologist Field Guide, paints to give discoveries a polished “museum” look, and digging goggles.

9. Rocketry Kits

There are rocketry sets for all age groups. Choose from air or water powered sets, vinegar and baking soda rockets, or those using serious propellants. In all cases plan on parental supervision and participation.

The Meteor Rocket Kit from Scientific Explorer contains everything kids need to build a rocket and send it shooting to heights of up to 100 feet. Rather than using explosive fuel, the Meteor is powered by baking soda and vinegar, so it’s safe and can be launched again and again. A specially designed fueling module lets kids experiment to find just the right vinegar and soda mixture.

10. Crystal Growing

You can grow crystals using common household chemicals, but sometimes it’s more convenient to get a kit. A variety of safe crystal-growing kits are available. Most kits contain projects that yield crystals within a few hours, with background information about crystals and ideas for further investigations.

With 15 crystal-growing activities, the Ultimate Crystal Kit has more crystals for you to grow than any other kit. You’ll learn all about the various forms crystals take, and then grow every type of crystal imaginable, including giant gems, glowing geodes, and an entire crystal garden.

11. Black Light

Ultraviolet lamps that can be used to make things glow in the dark are available as flashlights, light bulbs, and larger lights. Flashlights seem to work the best and last the longest.

Kids will light up when they see this unique black light art kit! Special fluorescent paints and a custom-designed black light LED projector let kids create out-of-sight paintings that truly glow in the dark. This deluxe kit plus book has everything young artists need to paint fun and funky portraits, landscapes, abstracts and 3-dimensional scenes.

12. Plasma Ball

A glass sphere that contains a very small volume of a non-toxic noble gas ionizes the gas into plasma when electricity is turned on–essentially giving you a safe ball of lightning.

This Nebula Plasma Ball is simply the ultimate interactive light show. Blending specially formulated inert gases, it creates a — dramatic display of light inside a hand-blown glass sphere!  Kids will love to watch it and learn how it works.