The holidays are over and my family is already back in the swing of the school calendar. That means, back to the usual birthday parties and events that require children’s gifts.
If you are a planner like me, you are already reassessing the gifts you have at hand so you don’t have to run to the store at the last minute. Or perhaps, you are just looking for new ideas on what to buy or even gift your own children.
So in this blog post, I am sharing with you six of my favorite science toys that won’t break the bank and will make your kid the super star. Okay, maybe not a super star but a child that gifts usable things that don’t end up in the trash can. Or, if you are gifting these to your child, it will keep your child entertained for some time. I mean, hopefully. Here is a blog post about when toys don’t entertain our children.
I divided the recommendations into three categories based on the science discipline. These are: chemistry, physics, and biology. I sincerely hope it gives you some ideas on science related gifts. If instead of toys you are interested in books go here or visit Mostly Microbes for some awesome recommendations as well.
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Toys that involve potions and substances are a “can’t go wrong” kind of gift. They are typically messy, have a surprise element, and have a plethora of everyday connections. Most kids usually love these gifts.
This acids and bases kit is one of my favorites. It includes all of the materials, an easy to follow book, and comes in its own box. The activities included are engaging, scientifically correct and easy to understand.
A slime kit is another great gift for a wide range of ages. I like this particular one because it is pre-made (so parents don’t get mad at me) but it still allows for a child’s creativity and ingenuity when scienc’ing and playing with the slime.
Physics toys are often seen as “for boys only” but that of course, is just a stereotype. Toys in this category can be engaging and fun to all children. They typically revolve around easy to understand physics concepts and tap into mathematical skills. That’s a double win for me!
MEL physics toys are great. They are engaging, spark curiosity, and engage children in many topics school teachers either avoid or don’t have time to teach. In other words, I highly recommend as a gift and for supplemental instruction.
You can get it as a stand alone or as a subscription option. Here is one of my favorite ones! The physics of optics!
Magnets are another awesome physics related toy. They are popular, most children appreciate magnets, and the science learning possibilities are endless. This kit has a variety of magnets and objects to test and is easy on the budget. Check it out!
Biology toys are very popular amongst all ages. They can revolve around gardening, food, animals, and of course the infamous bacteria and viruses. They are fun and my favorite ones can easily engage the whole family. So these gifts may perhaps be usable for adults too.
However, one of my problems with biology oriented toys is that, it often is just a non-engaging object. Whether is seeds, pot and seeds, or shovel and rake. Maybe the gift is a plastic animal figurine or a pretend food item. They are “empty” knowledge gifts. In other words, these gifts very seldom engage children in thinking about plants properties such as phototropism or energy conversion. These gifts don’t show nutritional value, or the structures/function of organs. Again, they are expensive toys that leave the child’s mind empty.
But not all are terrible, there are some good biology toys on the market.
Discovery Education has really stepped up their products. This kit, for example, has scientific context that leads to learning. It will spark curiosity, show evidence that plants move, and require scientific observations.
Those are things I want toys to do!
Gifting toys that are interactive will help the receiver remember the person that gifted it more fondly because there’s a hands-on component. This ant farm is one of those gifts that are engaging. It comes with everything the child needs, including ants.
The child will set up the habitat with a substrate and food and then they will place the ants in the container. The container is safe and will allow the child to see how these ants live in a highly organized colony. Who knows, maybe the child will become a formicarium.
What do you think about these learning toys? What are your ultimate favorite toys? If you are interested in using these toys for science lessons visit my resource page for free downloads.
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