Check out these fun gifts for the curious kids in your life. From STEM toys that promote the inner engineer to hands-on kits to help unlock your child's creativity, here are some of Live Science's favorite gift ideas for kids.
Kids love to figure out what's things look like inside and up-close. Here's the perfect way to keep them engaged and learning: This National Geographic microscope has two viewing options — Kids can use the lower LED lights to view biological specimens on slides or they can switch over to the upper lights to examine 3D objects in intricate detail. And it comes with more than 50 accessories, including already prepared slides and a learning guide.
This digital microscope is so easy to use that you can get it set up and connected to a mobile device (Android or iOS) and leave your child to explore the world on their own. From looking at the inside of their mouth to the teensy printing on a Pokemon card to a blade of grass, your child can analyze a zoomed-in version of their world, and even take photos and video! This innovative microscope wirelessly streams live footage to over 33 feet away while magnifying objects with a 50x to 1000x magnification zoom.
Encourage your kids to learn about solar energy with three DIY solar building kits: They will create a solar fan, a solar street light and a rotary windmill with easy to follow step-by-step instructions. Along the way, your child will learn basic principles of simple circuit, electricity and energy conversion. This toy is rated for kids ages 8 to 13.
Just about every kid can have fun launching a rocket skyward. And with this rocket science lab kit, kids ages 8 to 14 can also learn: The kit includes 18 fun and practical experiments in science technology engineering and math. The rocket science lab guide is chock-full of pictures and information for hours of entertainment.
This might be the perfect gift to help your child tiptoe into the world of coding. This real-life robot named Cozmo has a beginner-friendly interface that allows kids (and adults) to creatively program their robot. Then, they can challenge Cozmo to games or use the Explorer mode to see things from his perspective using a free Cozmo app compatible with iOS and Android.
The Genius Starter Kit for iPad includes everything your kids need to experience hands-on learning and digital fun in five different ways and subject areas. The kit includes the Osmo base as well as 5 game apps (plus the materials needed to play these games): Shapes & placing in designs (called Tangram); problem-solving/early physics (Newton), creative drawing skills (Masterpiece), counting with numbers/dice (Numbers), letters, spelling and vocabulary (Words).
Part-craft, part-learning tool and part-decoration, the Solar System Planetarium is a fun way to teach kids, recommended for 8 and up, about the wonders of our celestial neighborhood. No batteries are required; kids just paint and learn. The set includes: planets, stencils, squeeze-glow paint pen, rods, string, a fact-filled wall chart and 10 sets of fun quiz questions.
This kit is great for a kids party or just a rainy weekend: Hide these 12 dinosaur eggs and let your kids pretend to be paleontologists. Once they find their egg, they can carefully "dig" the dinosaur out to reveal all the fun paleo-beasts, from a T. rex to a Dilophosaurus, an Ankylosaurus and much more. Then, kids can match their dinosaur with the appropriate card that describes the history and features of their dino.
Even if you faint at the sight of blood, you can surely handle these fuzzy blood cells. And perhaps, you’ll grow to adore your plasma, platelets and all the glorious cells pulsing through your veins. This plushy set includes: a red blood cell, white blood cell, plasma, platelet and antibody.
It's time to solve brainteasers about Sassy, Ginger and Mr. Mittens with the Cat Crimes, Who's to Blame Logic Game. Players use critical reasoning and logical deduction skills as they solve the 40 increasingly difficult challenges about the furry friends. The kids will race to figure out the final order and placement of the cats around the dinner table. (Recommended ages: 8+)
Get your kid's green thumb started by having them grow a spectacular garden with chia and wheat grass seeds using the Creativity for Kids Grow 'n Glow Terrarium - Science Kit for Kids. Your little gardener can decorate, plant and water these plants as they learn about the plant life cycle in less than a week. (Recommended ages: 6+)
Have a child or friend who's into spaceships ... and shouting? If so, this might be the perfect gift. For ages 10 and up, this card game is all about teamwork: In order to survive, you and your team must coordinate to escape a black hole while dealing with one complication after another. Your only hope? Repair your spaceship before it's too late. Let's get to work!
Kids enjoy all the ... gross things in life. So why not let them explore all things disgusting while learning science? Recommended for kids 8 and up, with adult supervision, this kit includes everything you need to create a stinky intestine, slimy snot and fake blood. It also helps kids grow friendly molds and bacteria.
Not everything is what it seems. The dull, jagged exteriors of geodes belies an often magical and colorful world inside. This kit comes with 10 geodes (from the size of a tennis ball to that of a ping pong ball), googles, a guide that describes what geodes are and how they form, and two display stands.
According to the manufacturer ECHEERS, this remote-controlled robot uses artificial intelligence so that it can interpret your child's voice commands on the fly. It can also dance and make cute expressions. A free app lets kids program the robot's dance moves and singing (it is equipped with a Bluetooth speaker) or use already programmed commands.
Watch the fun erupt! This 22-piece kit is perfect for experimenting with mineral science. The kit provides all the tools and ingredients you'll need for concocting an erupting volcano, and experimenting with gasses, fizzing mineral pools and lava "bombs."
Two words: unicorn. robot.
Kids (recommended for ages 8 and up) can learn to use Blockly coding to program their unicornbot's special color sensor using eight magical color cards. And there's a magical horn that can be programmed to shine different colors. Kids can do the programming through the Jimu app, which is compatible with Andriod and iOS devices.