Science toys are some of the best toys around. These are toys that appeal to adults as well as children. Because we are all fascinated by the way, the world works. Our top pick for a science toy is one that is not only fun but will help your child to develop their logical thinking and problem-solving skills. It’s the ThinkFun Gravity Maze. Even kids who aren’t sure about science will enjoy this gravity-based toy.
- Best Science Toys for Kids 2021
- What to Consider When Buying Science Toys for Kids
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Science Toys for Kids 2021
Best Overall – ThinkFun Gravity Maze
The ThinkFun Gravity Maze is an awesome toy. It’s a 3D marble run maze, with 60 challenges to test yourself against. It’s a logic puzzle that you can get hands-on with.
The challenges are well designed. They start at a beginner level and then extend all the way to expert. Your child is given a starting point, a finish point, and a specific set of pieces to use. They then have to find a solution that works.
The great thing about this toy is that it does give you solutions so you can learn and don’t have to feel stuck. But, the solution given isn’t the only solution. You can find many different ways to succeed.
Once your child has truly mastered the expert level challenges, they can start to design their own. This is a great open-ended toy that encourages both creativity and logical thinking.
If you see someone playing with this toy, it’s going to grab your attention. Kids get to build tall towers and watch as the marble runs through their construction. There aren’t many toys that do such a good job of combining a hypnotic and addictive activity like marble runs with real learning opportunities. This game will truly build problem-solving and logic skills.
Best for Future Biologists – JuniorScope Microscope for Kids
When you picture a biologist, you probably also picture them with a microscope. The JuniorScope Microscope for Kids is a wonderful microscope kit that will make your child feel like a real scientist.
The microscope is of high quality and easy to use. It has two different LED lights, which allow you to get the perfect view of your specimen. These can be run on batteries or using the included wall plug.
There are three different magnification levels. This allows kids to use this microscope to look at not only solid objects like leaves but also transparent ones like bacteria and cell samples.
Your child doesn’t need to have any knowledge before they get started as this kit comes with “The Amazing Microscope Adventures.” This is a set of laminated experiment cards. They guide your child through everything they need to know to perform a variety of experiments before moving onto one of their own design.
With the set, you will also get 5 pre-prepared slides, with things like onion cells and insect wings. You also get a set of blank slides, coverslips, and a choice of two colors of stain. This allows kids to make up their own slides and experiment on their own. To help, they are also provided with a dissection needle, two small Petri dishes, forceps, a dropper, and a test tube.
Budget Option – 48 Piece Slide Collection with Plant and Animal Samples
This 48 Piece Slide Collection with Plant and Animal Samples is an ideal gift for any child who already has a microscope. This kit contains four sets of slides. They are grouped into plants, flowers, animals, and insects.
Each of the four groups contains 12 color-coded slides. The slides are all clearly labeled and are of high quality. This allows kids to keep them organized and really get the most out of this exciting gift.
The slides are made from good quality plastic. This means they can be kept and used indefinitely. They are smooth with no sharp edges and are resistant to damage. That means your child can use them without fear of breaking them.
This is a great gift for kids who are excited about Biology and have a microscope that they want to get more use out of. This could be a great starting point for a science project as well.
Best for Learning About Microbiology – Nancy B’s Mighty Microbes Lab & Germ Journal
Nancy B’s Mighty Microbes Lab & Germ Journal is a microbiology science kit that includes 14 pieces of scientific equipment. Included are four Petri dishes and a packet of Agar nutrient solution. This lets kids grow their own colonies of microbes.
A nice feature of this kit is that they provide you with a recipe to make more nutrient solution. This means that you can keep experimenting even after you use all the provided agar. This reusability even extends to the safety gloves, which are washable rather than disposable.
The lab book is well designed and encourages kids to really think about what they’re doing. It guides them through some basic experiments while giving them the tools to design their own as well.
The great thing about microbiology experiments is that they don’t happen in 30 seconds. They are experiments that you leave and return to. This is great for extending kids’ interest and learning. Let’s face it, learning about microbiology is also really rather relevant right now.
Best for Learning about Plant Growth – Maze Planter
This Maze Planter lets your child set up and run their own botany experiment. They can build a maze for a plant to grow through and watch how it responds. It’s a great way to really understand how plants respond to both light and gravity.
The planter has a clear base, which means you can not only see the top of the plant grow, but you can see the roots once they grow long enough. It gives you a view you’d otherwise miss.
The kit doesn’t come with everything you need. You will have to find some seeds, a small amount of soil, some cotton wool, vinegar, and water. What you do get is a house-shaped planter. It comes with movable pieces so children can design their own maze. They can even see how quickly plants respond to the changes they make.
The planter is ideally sized to sit on a window sill. This is a great kit for learning more about plant growth. It will also give kids a real appreciation for how fascinating plants can really be.
Best for Budding Botanists – Light Up Terrarium
This Light Up Terrarium is a great way to introduce kids to the idea of enclosed habitats. They can create their own indoor garden and watch as it grows into something magical. This is an especially great gift for any child who might not have access to a garden. Having growing plants in your living space can genuinely improve the atmosphere and make a space more calming.
This kit comes with absolutely everything you need. There’s no need to find soil or seeds. It’s all included. The kit has a selection of differently colored substrates to make a beautiful, well-drained garden. There are also stickers and some miniature decorations that kids can use to make the terrarium their own.
The seeds included in the pack are chia and wheatgrass. These are really easy plants to grow that get some good height quite quickly.
The lid of the terrarium contains a rechargeable LED light. This means that kids can use this as a night light if they want to be able to see their garden gently glowing at night.
This is a great gift to help get kids interested in plants and botany.
Best for Future Doctors – SmartLab Squishy Human Body
The SmartLab Squishy Human Body is a great toy for kids who are aspiring towards careers in a medical field or who are just fascinated by human anatomy. This model has a clear plastic shell filled with 21 removable organs.
There is a handy organizational chart to help kids keep track of what they’re doing. You can pop the organs onto the corresponding outline so you can then work your way back as you rebuild your model.
The organs feel squishy, which makes them feel even more realistic. You can even unravel part of the intestines.
Putting this model back together will help kids to get a real feel for where the organs are found in the body.
Along with the model, there is a pair of tweezers and forceps. This helps kids feel like real scientists as they extract the organs to inspect them.
This toy really comes into its own in terms of educational potential with the associated book. It has fascinating information about all of the organs, as well as pictures of the real thing. It’s a great way to learn more science, as long as your kids aren’t too squeamish.
Best First Chemistry Set – Snaen Science Kit
The Snaen Science Kit is a fun and exciting way to introduce younger children to the fun of science. The experiments will need to be done with parental supervision, but the equipment is ideal for young kids to use themselves.
The 30 experiments are some of the classic, colorful, and exciting chemistry demo experiments. This means that they work well and look good.
The kit comes with an impressive amount of equipment and chemicals included. You will only need to get a few items, which you will most likely have easy access to—for example, water and washing detergent. There is enough of the chemicals to perform each experiment once or twice. But as they are simple experiments, you can easily get hold of more ingredients if you want to do more repeats.
This is a science kit that is focused on enthusing young kids, so don’t expect it to teach any complicated chemistry concepts. It is big on fun and excitement. It comes with a set of kid-sized safety goggles so they can feel like real scientists.
Best Introduction to Geology – Crystal Mining Kit
This Crystal Mining Kit from 4M is a great way to teach kids about geology. The kit comes with a large plaster rock. Hidden inside are at least eight crystals which your child can excavate and clean.
The kit comes with all the tools you’ll need to chip away at the rock. There is a digging tool that has a mallet on one end and a serrated but not sharp blade on the other end. You also get a magnifying glass to inspect the crystals once they’ve been dug out.
The experience of excavating the crystals is a great experience for kids who might be interested in either geology or archaeology.
A small word of warning – this is a messy activity. The plaster will generate a lot of dust as it’s dug through. You might want to do this activity outside if you can. Otherwise, laying a dust sheet down or working in a pan is definitely recommended.
You do get a small drawstring pouch to keep the crystals in as well as a display set. However, most kids will probably want to play with their stones rather than store them away. Given that most people find more than eight crystals, that’s honestly just as well.
Best for Growing Crystals – Crystal Chemistry Tree
The Crystal Chemistry Tree is a great example of how science can be made into a really fun activity. Crystal growing is kind of a go-to for a lot of science-loving parents. It can be a faff to get the right ingredients, and when you’ve done it once, then it can lose some of the magic. This is a great way to make it new and exciting.
This crystal growing kit allows kids to construct a 3D tree in a lovely pot. They can even decorate it however they want. Then use the provided solutions to make the ‘magic liquid’ to feed the tree. Then low and behold, crystals will begin to sprout all over the tree.
This is one of the best science toys for any child who loves science and the holidays. There’s nothing like having a beautiful and interesting decoration in your home to bring a little joy and learning into your lives.
This kit is aimed at kids aged 5-8. However, I think a lot of older kids would also get a lot of joy out of this science kit. It’s a fun and whimsical science toy.
Best for Teenagers – Fire Lab
Fire Lab from KiwiCo is such a great toy for kids who love science. It’s an even better gift for teens who aren’t that keen. Let’s be honest, one of the main reasons kids enjoy chemistry is because they get to play with fire. This kit takes the fun of fire-based experiments and adds in some extra color as well.
Before you begin panicking, this kit does come with all the appropriate safety equipment, and the amounts of flammable chemicals are limited. It should be used with parental supervision. However, it does a great job of treading the line between excitement for kids and safety for parents.
The kit comes with everything you need, and there are enough reagents that your kids can carry out their favorite experiments a couple of times. The instructions are clear and take the time to explain the ‘why’ behind the experiments.
Best for Learning about Rube Goldberg Machines – Lego Chain Reactions Kit
The Lego Chain Reactions Kit is a great gift for kids who are already into lego. It relies on kids already having a good amount of Lego bricks to start with.
The set includes 33 lego pieces, 6 plastic balls, strings ramps, and a few other components. But most importantly, it contains 80 pages of detailed and easy to follow instructions. By following this step-by-step guide, your child can build 10 awesome machines out of lego.
Where this set shines is that all 10 of the machines can be combined to create a Rube Goldberg Machine. This is a contraption that starts with one small event that goes on to cause a chain reaction. They’re very cool to watch and even cooler to build.
You do need to be aware that this set will require a lot of other lego bricks. It also isn’t the easiest build in the world. Although I think that’s a good thing, it teaches kids to be precise. Some may find it frustrating. This is a great kit for kids who love engineering and physics. It’s a great way to demonstrate a lot of laws of motion.
Best for Future Electrical Engineers – Snap Circuits
Snap Circuits is one of those toys that appear on pretty much every list of great science toys. That’s because it’s accessible, fun, and educational. It’s a really great toy, especially if your child loves to perform science experiments.
This is a science kit that doesn’t need any extra kit beyond 2 AA batteries. Kids get the chance to build and tinker with electrical circuits in a safe and easy way. There are no wires, soldering, or tools needed. All the pieces snap together quickly and easily.
This kit has over 60 circuit components that can be combined to perform more than 300 projects. So, it’s going to keep the kids occupied for quite a while. The projects start simple with series and parallel lamps. They then progress to challenging and interesting projects like an AM radio, touch lamp, and even a lie detector.
This kit is fun and offers limitless potential. Not only will your kids be able to build some awesome gadgets, they’ll also learn a lot about electricity as they do so. Most likely without even realizing how much science they’re learning.
Best for Learning About GeoPhysics and Astronomy – Professor Maxwell’s VR Universe
Professor Maxwell’s VR Universe is an interesting and interactive way for kids to learn about space, astronomy, and geophysics. It uses a mix of AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality). This means that kids really get to grips with the amazing wonders of space, which can be a little mind-boggling to consider.
At its heart, this is a project book for learning about space. The 80-page book is filled with projects and hands-on activity to get kids learning about space.
Where this book sets itself apart is that throughout, you can use a device like a phone or a tablet to view extra information like videos or images that appear to pop out of the book. There are also sections that use VR.
There is an included headset into which you put your phone. When worn, it gives kids an immersive experience. They can feel like they are in the seat of a moon lander or actually flying through space.
The projects are really great as well. You get all you need to build a planetarium, a volcanic eruption model, and even build a geodesic dome. It’s a great mix of learning and hands-on projects.
This is a great toy for kids who love learning about science and who also get excited about technology.
What to Consider When Buying Science Toys for Kids
Area of Interest
Science is a really broad area. Not all aspects of science will appeal to everyone. When you’re choosing the topic for a science toy, there are two ways to make your decision.
The first option is to choose a topic area that you know the child is already interested in. For example, if Biology is their favorite topic, then something like a microscope could be a wonderful gift.
The second option is to choose something in an area of science that you love. This gives you the opportunity to share your enthusiasm with your child. It can be a great way to bond and to introduce them to something that you find exciting.
Fun vs. Educational
When you’re choosing a science toy, you need to consider what your main aim is. If you’re trying to find a toy that is just for fun, but happens to be science-themed, then you’ll be interested in different items than if you are looking for an educational toy that’s also fun. Both are good options, but it helps to be clear on what your aim is before you make a decision.
As with any toy, you will want to make sure that it is appropriate for the age and level of your child. With science toys, the age ranges on the box can often be taken as suggestions. You know the level of your child the best, so you can make a judgment call about if the toy is appropriate or not.
If you’re aiming for an educational outcome, then you can support your child, so they can enjoy a toy that might be aimed at older children. If your main focus is fun, then you don’t have to worry about getting something that will stretch their knowledge and understanding.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a good science toy?
A good science toy is one that is fun to play with. It should also provide the opportunity for a child to learn, and most importantly, make them ask questions. Any toy that makes a child want to learn more is a great science toy.
What are the advantages of science toys?
Science toys are great for getting kids excited about science. For some kids, science can seem like a complicated or difficult subject. As a result, they think that it’s not for them. Science toys are a great way to show your child that science is fun, fascinating, and for everyone.
Can a child really learn anything from playing with a toy?
Kids are designed to learn through play. It’s hardwired into us. So, yes, you really can learn a lot through play.
Learning science is rooted in observation. It’s about trying things, seeing what happens, and trying again. A lot of play is also based on this kind of behavior. So science toys are ideal for not only providing a fun distraction but also offering plenty of opportunities for genuine learning.
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Last update on 2021-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API