So your kids’ favorite subject in school is science. (Or maybe it’s not, but you’d like it to be.) Congratulations—you can now pass Go and collect $200. And by that, we mean you can now skip over the “fluff” toys (sorry, LOL Dolls) and move onto the far more sophisticated “educational yet entertaining” ones that only parents with children of your caliber have earned.
But which to choose? It’s easy enough to go by age (science kits for 4 year olds vs. science kits for 9 year olds is a pretty self-explanatory decision). But then there’s category, too. Geology vs. chemistry? Engineering vs. archaeology? How is an over-tired, over-stimulated parent to decide which are the best science kits for kids?!
First, take a deep breath. Then, reach for your phone and scroll through this list of the top science kits for kids in kindergarten through middle school. Whether it’s a science experiment kit with exploding volcanoes or one of the many chemistry kits for kids with test tubes (and safety goggles!), your young rocket scientist in the making is sure to love one—or all—of these.
Pardon the pun but this geology kit, well, rocks. Not only does it come with 36 different stones (perfect for the budding rock collector) but it also has crystal powder so you can grow your own glittery geodes. And it’s not as intimidating as it sounds—according to kids and moms alike, the instructions are super easy to follow.
You know how excited you get when you snag a rare mid-day nap? That’s about how excited your kid will feel when they put together this volcano, which erupts in a rainbow of colors. All you need is a few additional items from your pantry (like baking soda) and a few hours to turn playtime into an educational—and explosive—activity.
No matter how amazing you think your child is, even you can admit your 5-year-old isn’t a rocket scientist (yet). But they can pretend to be with this engineering kit, which gives them everything they need to build their own aircrafts. The colorful pieces can be turned into 10 different models and are large enough that kids as young as 3 years old can use them.
Yes, subscription boxes for kids and yes, they’re just as awesome as the adult versions. Each month, this STEM kit from Little Passports will be conveniently delivered right to your doorstep—so you don’t have to make yet another trip to Target for materials (praise). The themes vary from month to month and include forensic science, rockets, caves and crystals, and more.
Behind every good young scientist is an even better microscope. Like this one, which has received thousands of glowing reviews on Amazon for being durable and easy-to-use. The microscope itself has incredibly high magnification settings to choose from (and 49 various accessories to use with it!) and can be toted around—from school to the basement lab, naturally—in its sleek carrying case.
Name a kid who doesn’t love explosions… we’ll wait. Exactly. So they’re sure to love this science experiments kit, which will teach them about combustion, chemistry, electricity, and everything in between. There are enough materials (like M&M candy comets and fizzy bombs!) for 25 experiments so they’ll be entertained for hours—a.k.a. out of your hair.
The only thing more terrifying than your child saying “uh-oh…” from the bathroom is your child wanting to experiment with electricity. Fortunately there’s a safe way to let them: with this energy stick. It literally turns your child’s body into an electricity conductor to show firsthand how circuits work. But fear not—it sounds scary but the stick is completely safe to use even with bare hands.
The sooner you teach your child about plants, the sooner they can take care of yours (we kid, we kid… kind of). But if your little one is interested in all things flora and fauna, they’ll enjoy this terrarium-building kit, which includes enough materials for them to grow two complete cycles of plants. It even has glow-in-the-dark stickers so they can keep tabs on their sprouts overnight.
If your child’s favorite animal is T-Rex (or if their favorite food is dino nuggets, for that matter), indulge their love of all things dinosaur with this Smithsonian kit. As they dig up real dinosaur fossils from millions of years ago, an educational guidebook will teach them all about how fossils are made and the process of excavating and studying them.
You can’t think of the best science kits for kids without thinking of a certain red-haired third grade teacher. That’s right—Ms. Frizzle and her Magic School Bus are bringing the weather lab to your home, with fun activities like creating a tornado in a bottle and building your own meteorology station. Bonus: All of the experiments were created by Harvard graduates and scientists.
If you have a child, chances are they’re obsessed with slime. And thanks to this kit, that obsession can be as entertaining as it is educational. By creating (and of course, playing with) gooey, glow-in-the-dark slime, they’ll learn about a whole slew of chemistry topics from atoms and molecules to polymers and viscous substances.
What’s even cooler than growing your own plants or your own crystals? Growing your own butterflies—which is exactly what your child will do with this insect-filled kit. They’ll get to witness metamorphosis up close and personal as they care for their caterpillars and watch them blossom into beautiful butterflies.
Want more fun gear to keep your little ones entertained (and perhaps even educated)? Check out the rest of our favorite kids toys.