My boys love ‘doing science’. Mostly this involves moving coloured water and expired cooking herbs between plastic cups using pipettes. However as they grow, so does their interest in real chemicals, circuit boards and other genuine boda-fide science kids stuff.
Unfortunately they’ve gained much of their excitement about science from watching too many episodes of MythBusters – the bigger the BANG, the better.
Since they’re only 3 and 5 years old at the moment, I thought I’d put together this list of easy gifts for science kids that don’t involve limb-shattering explosives or eye-burning acids.
Not surprisingly, they’re mostly paper-based. I’ve found that sometimes the best science gift to give is a book or magazine that is either chock-full of fascinating facts or has dozens of easy science experiments you can do at home with everyday items.
Magazine subscriptions for science kids
National Geographic Kids Magazine – I’ve always loved Nat Geo and I’m not even particularly science-y. The monthly kiddie version is Australian-focused and covers exploration from way below the ground (geology) to way above the atmosphere (space) and everything in between. Each issue has stories, fun facts, photography, puzzles and competitions.
Recommended for ages 6-14 years.
Crikey Magazine – This is Australia Zoo‘s magazine. Focused on conservation of wildlife, it comes out 4 times a year and has all the zoo news, from new baby animals through to Bindi Irwin‘s latest dancing appearances! Each issue includes a free pass to Australia Zoo for 1 child and 1 adult.
Recommended for ages 4-15 years.
Double Helix Magazine – The CSIRO has started a science magazine for kids! From July 2015 they’re putting out 8 issues each year with the latest in tech, engineering, maths and science. Thought-provoking things for kids and teens like ‘Can you live on Mars?’ and ‘How to make your own mini-lamp’. It sounds like it’ll have them stealing parts from your DVD player in no time at all…
Recommended for ages 8-14 years.
Books for science kids
It turns out they have a Horrible series for science kids as well. For about the same price as an annual magazine subscription, you can buy the entire box set of 20 Horrible Science books. With titles like Evolve or Die, Microscopic Monsters and Space, Stars and Slimy Aliens, you could quite easily drip feed a new book every couple of weeks to your budding scientist for a whole year of horrible learning!
101 Cool Science Experiments – This is a big favourite in our house. If the kids are driving us nuts we just pull it out and pick an experiment you can do easily. Most of them involve items you have lying around the house anyway – paper towel, string, food dye, salt. Best of all, it’s cheap as chips to buy. Retails around $10 but because it’s been out for a few years you can often grab it on special for a lot less.
How do astronauts wee in space? – There’s really no better way to get kids interested in science than to answer life’s greater questions about bodily functions beyond the borders of our planet, surely? This is a big book of weird facts that kids will love, like ‘Why does space smell like raspberries?’ And did you know there’s a planet made of ice that’s actually on fire?
Funny, gross AND educational. What more could you ask?
Our Earth – This is basically a coffee table book for kids. It’s full of amazing pictures of our planet, stripped of its layers to see the geological formations inside. It covers everything from plant life to climate to the solar system in full colour splendour.
I have a good friend who studied geology at uni who would LOVE this book. Her kids might even get to look at it occasionally too…
Are your kids budding scientists?
Sick of them using up all the table salt in their ‘experiments’?
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