As a kid, I remember how cool science toys & scientific discovery kits were. From mixing gooey concoctions to assembling dinosaur skeletons – these holiday gifts provided endless hours of fun & were always special. They allowed me to step into the shoes of a ‘mad scientist’ & discover how the world around me worked, one test tube at a time. The gift of science can inspire & awaken that sense of wonder for a new generation of curious kids – kids that are waiting to discover how awesome science can be!
This year, skip the usual suspects. No more socks, over-hyped toys or argyle sweaters masquerading as thoughtful gifts. Instead, hit the holiday equivalent of a bases-loaded home run by putting a bow on the wonder of scientific discovery. Rather than a fake smile and rehearsed “thank you,” you’ll be greeted with chemical reactions that result in fake snow, “crime scene” investigations that lift stray fingerprints, and other incredible science experiments. This has all the makings of a merry season, doesn’t it?
This year, go above & beyond to give a gift that will be meaningful & memorable for that special science lover in your life. Just in time for the upcoming holiday season, we’re giving you our list of the coolest science gifts for 2012. Find fun, clever ideas that can take your holiday to an entire new level! Our Sizzlin’ Science Holiday Gift Guide features new twists on classic science concepts as well as some innovative and really fun completely new additions.
Our scientists know how to have serious FUN! So, get those chestnuts roasting on that Bunsen burner, pour a beaker full of eggnog & let us point you towards that perfect gift for the science lover in your life!
Worx Fire Truck
Ideal for: Curious kids. Toys in the Worx line – a car, firetruck and chopper – have translucent plastic bodies. When your child (6 and up) reads the accompanying interactive storybook about any of the 20 or so parts that make the real vehicle function, he or she can press the Worx touch pad – which makes that specific toy part glow and “work.” The Speedster car is $29.99, but splurge on the Torch firetruck ($59.99), which is also self-propelled. – $59.99 at www.worxtoys.com.
The Amazing Squishy Brain
Ideal for: Aspiring neurosurgeons. You can build a thoughtful head, then take it apart – repeatedly – from 24 anatomically correct pieces that include an eight-piece skull, an equal number of squishy brain portions, squishy eyeballs, vertebrae and spinal cord. Mini-tools include forceps, scalpel and tweezers. (See a video of kids assembling one, at http://bit.ly/TN4NjX). It comes with a book appropriately titled “Heads Up.” – $27.99 at www.smartlabtoys.com.
Multicolored Glass Galileo Thermometer
Ideal for: Desk-bound dreamers; home décor. In the early 1600s, the thermoscope – an ancestor of the thermometer – was invented, based on Galileo’s observation that a liquid’s density changes in proportion to its temperature. Small, sealed and marked glass bulbs, filled with liquid, rise or fall in a larger transparent cylinder of clear liquid; the lowest floating sphere indicates the temperature. Models from Edmund Scientific range in size from 12 inches (shown here) to 22 inches. The bulbs – calibrated in four-degree increments – are filled with liquids of different colors, making it a desktop eye-catcher. – $13.95-$49.95 at www.scientificsonline.com.
Cybug Solar Fly 2
Ideal for: Anyone 12 and older with twin interests in robots and solar power. Can you borrow a soldering iron? That and some basic tools are all that’s required to assemble this solar-powered robot that’s shaped like a housefly. While it doesn’t fly, its infrared eyes detect light and make the insect creep toward the light source. (You could use lamps and flashlights to set up an obstacle course for it!). The fly also can draw power through its antennae when it “eats” at “feeding stations” you can build (instructions included). – $49.95 at www.scientificsonline.com.
‘The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science’
Ideal for: Laboratory lovers. Science can be a chaotic process. What better way to demonstrate that fact than with this collection of 64 experiments designed to cause a little manageable mischief? Build rockets, create homemade lightning or trigger a soda geyser – and learn about a few underlying science principles along the way. – $12.95 at www.amazon.com.
Fireworks Lightshow in My Room
Ideal for: Insomniacs, ages 6 to 97. This hand-held device projects images of fireworks onto walls or ceilings and also plays booming sound effects. There are different light shows on a disc you can rotate; pick the projection you want. – $39.95 at FamilyPlayroom.com
littleBits Starter Kit
Ideal for: Anyone ages 8 & up that has a spark for learning about electricity & how things ‘work’. Designed by M.I.T. Media Lab alum Ayah Bdeir, littleBits are tiny circuit boards that snap together with magnets. The kit comes with a battery pack, LED lights, a pressure sensor, a dimmer and other components. Just connect and play. Color coded modules (power, input, output, and wire) magnetically stick together to make larger circuits. – $104.95 at fatbraintoys.com
Connor’s Kits for Kids: Polymer Power
Ideal for: The DIY junior chemist. You can buy off-the-shelf “slime” anywhere, but what if you’re looking for something a little more custom? Among other science kits from this Chapel Hill company, Polymer Power allows budding scientists to make their own squishy creations; run it through the “Slimer-izer” to change the consistency to whatever they like. – $19.95 at www.kitsforkids.com.
GeoSafari Pocket Scope
Ideal for: The 8- to 13-year-old explorer. From the tiny bugs on the ground to their predators perched high up in the trees, get a better view of the natural world with this combination microscope and telescope. The retractable device fits in your pocket, so you can see things eight times farther and 30 times larger anywhere you go. – $12.99 at www.educationalinsights.com.
Big Bucket of Science!
Ideal for: EVERYONE! You just can’t go wrong with a bucket chock full of scientific marvels — especially if you’re offering it as a gift. Steve Spangler’s Big Bucket of Science is filled with 18 test tubes containing some of the most popular science class experiments! The Big Bucket of Science features favorites like Insta-Snow, Energy Beads, and Magic Sand that teach scientific principles like polymers, hydrophobic materials, and UV-sensitivity. – $49.99 at SteveSpanglerScience.com
Explore Other Science Gift Ideas
You can explore the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, NASA , and more for that unique Christmas present this year.
ThinkGeek – Selling geek t-shirts, mugs, ties, high caffeine products, and many other gifts for programmers, linux hackers, and open source geeks.
Discovery Gifts | Educational Gifts – Discovery Channel Store – Find educational gifts for everyone on your list. Shop the official Discovery Store for exclusive Discovery toys, gifts by price and Discovery staff picks!
National Geographic Gifts – Shop National Geographic for creative gifts for women, men and kids, or create the perfect personalized or custom gift for anyone on your list.
Young Explorers – Educational Toys for Little Explorers
Kennedy Space Center Official Gift Shop : The Space Shop at NASA – Kennedy Space Center Official Gift Shop : The Space Shop at NASA