33 Nerdy Science Gifts for Kids This Easter

Oh, Easter. Little wicker baskets full of chocolate and bunny-and-chick-themed junk. It floats around the house to be thrown away by the end of Spring Break, am I right? Why not science gifts?

After the first Easter basket junk explosion, I vowed to do it differently! Now, my girls get one “large” gift to share and a few small items to enjoy beyond Easter. I try to focus on things that will last the season (let alone the week) and bring continuous fun!

Here’s my list of 33 favorites to stuff your kids’ baskets with this Easter!

Please note that some of the links included are affiliate links. That means that if you follow the link and purchase something, I earn a small commission for my recommendation. This support helps keep my resources free and is much appreciated, so please consider using the link if you decide to purchase something from one of my posts!

The Science Mom’s Favorite Easter Basket Gifts

aCTIVITY Books

The Science Kids are obsessed with stickers and other activity books. I love them too, because they double as educational and fun for my kids. They also travel well, so I can stick one in my purse on our way out the door. And when they’re done, most can be thrown away (I’m Team No-Clutter-If-I-Can-Help-It!).

My favorite sticker books

My Favorite Activity Books

My Favorite Coloring Books

 

Discovery TOOLS & TOYS

I sometimes use holiday gifts as an excuse to buy a “bigger” gift that we’ve been wanting. These all fit that bill perfectly! These are gifts that can continue to be used and enjoyed!

Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Set – This set is perfect for your little scientists. I love it so much that I’ve talked about it before in my 5 Science Gifts for Tiny Toddler Scientists post!

It’s the perfect combination of durable and chunky, making it really easy for little hands.

You can also get the Lab Gear to complete the set, or even upgrade to the Deluxe Lab Set!

 

Educational Insights Geosafari Motorized Solar System Kit – I’ve used this in my classroom and it’s stood up to lots of elementary schoolers.

The planets really move (and at different speeds too!) and the sun doubles as a mini planetarium, projecting stars!

Learning Resources Super Magnet Lab Kit – This kit comes with 124 magnets of all kinds, including wands, marbles, chips, and horseshoes.

I love how magnets really encourage discovery and experimentation through play. Even as an adult, I love to play with magnets!

4M Tin Can Robot – I mean, what’s more fun than building your own robot? This kit also allows for some imagination and customization. That means your little scientist can build their very own, unique tin can robot.

This is one of a few different 4M tin can robots, so they can add to their robot army, if they feel so inclined!

4M also makes a bunch of other robotics kits, like the Table Top Robot, the Doodling Robot, and a Solar Robot!

 

We are completely obsessed with this LEGO Women of NASA set. I mean, it doesn’t get any cooler than this! These mini-builds feature the Hubble Space Telescope with Nancy Grace Roman, the Space Shuttle Challenger with Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, and a representation of the Apollo Guidance Computer’s onboard flight source code with Margaret Hamilton!

 

Plush sCIENCE GIFTS

The Science Kids are plush junkies. They expect them at every holiday and Easter is no exception. Here are a few of our favorites!

The Celestial Buddies are snuggly little pieces of space that look like the real celestial bodies they’re meant to represent and feature cute little faces too.

You can collect all eight planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth (and our Sun and Moon), Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune – and dwarf planet Pluto (and its largest moon, Charon), as well as a Black Hole and Comet!

We also love this plush Cuddle Zoo Space Shuttle. It actually features the NASA logo on its wing! Ruby got it as a souvenir on one our last trips to Infinity Science Center at Stennis Space Center!

If biology is more your thing, you have to check out GiantMicrobes! They come in a bunch of different sizes, from tiny to extra large.

I personally love the mini gift boxes for their variety, like the Blood Cells (red blood cell, white blood cell, plasma, platelet, and antibody), Body Cells (bone, fat, nerve, hair, and muscle), and Organ Cells (heart, brain, skin, liver, and pancreas). You can also get them in keychain form, like this DNA one, if your little scientist is in to fluffy keychains on their backpacks like Ruby is. The regular sized GiantMicrobes come in all kinds of fun and/or interesting microbe forms, like Vitamin CMRSA, and the heart. Ruby’s favorite is the XL Penicillin plush though.

Similarly, you can find just about any plush organ you can dream of from I Heart Guts, complete with cute names!

I love their All You Need is Lobe brain, I Lung Rock n Roll lung, and Party Pupil in the House eyeball!

 

What are your kids getting for easter? Leave a comment and share!

 

B is for Big Bang | Children’s Books and Other Media About the Big Bang and Universe

Here is a complete list of books, movies, TV shows, and other media to accompany the B is for Big Bang thematic unit for the Science ABCs!

Please note that some of the links included are affiliate links. That means that if you follow the link and purchase something, I earn a small commission for my recommendation. This support helps keep my resources free and is much appreciated!

Books

These books are all Science Mom tested and Science Kid approved! They aren’t just random recommendations, but all live on our bookshelves at home.

Click the book picture to be taken straight to Amazon’s details about the book!

Picture Books About the Big Bang

Other Picture Books for This Unit

Online Videos

About the Big Bang

About the Universe and Solar System

About Atoms

About Numbers

Online Kids’ Games About Space

NASA Space Place

NASA Kids Club

NatGeo Kids – Space Janitor

Discovery Kids Space Games

Magic School Bus Space Games

Have a resource you’d like to see included? Leave a comment or contact us!

The Best Telescopes for Little Scientists

img_2215The stars are one of our first scientific curiosities as children. I think we can all remember the first time that we really looked up at the night sky and realized that there was an entire universe out there, not just ourselves or our families or our planet.

We all look up at the same beautiful, twinkling, infinite universe, but many with no idea of the magic it holds.

A good telescope is the gateway to unlock all of that magic and wonder (even in a tutu, as you see my daughter pictured here in our makeshift concrete block observatory!).

It’s nothing short of inspiring and is probably the easiest way to get kids excited about science and technology.

Please note that some of the links included are affiliate links. That means that if you follow the link and purchase something, I earn a small commission for my recommendation. This support helps keep my resources free and is much appreciated, so please consider using the link if you decide to purchase something from one of my posts!

How to Choose the Right Telescope

Not all telescopes are created equal. Many telescopes that are marketed to children are, quite frankly, pretty useless for the price. Here’s how to pick the best telescope for your family.

How Telescopes Work

Telescopes allow us to take a closer look at objects that are far away. They do this in two ways, by collecting more light and magnifying the image. A telescope can be as simple as two lenses, or much, much more complicated.

Aperture

Aperture (or sometimes called objective) is the diameter of the lens or mirror that’s used to collect light (or photons).

Remember that when you’re looking at celestial objects, you’re really looking at light, and that’s why aperture is so important. A bigger lens or mirror means a sharper and brighter image. The further away they are, the fainter their light is. It doesn’t matter how much you magnify a dark image – it’ll still be a dark image. Bring on the light!

If you live in a suburban or urban area, you’ll want a larger aperture (more light) to help cut through some of the light noise from your surroundings. If you live in a rural area, you can make do with a smaller aperture. However, you should aim for at least 70mm and remember that when it comes to aperture, more is always more, no matter where you are.

Magnification

The lens at the eyepiece is responsible for making the image look larger (magnified). A good eyepiece can magnify images, no matter how much aperture (light) your telescope collects. However, like I said before, a dark image magnified is still a dark image… and not much fun to look at. That’s why magnification isn’t as important as aperture.

Despite many marketing tricks claiming things like “500x magnification”, that’s unrealistic without incredibly high (and expensive) aperture and not really necessary. Magnification of just 50x will reveal all kinds of wonders from our solar system.

Types of Telescopes

A refractor is the “classic” telescope, much like the one Galileo used when he peered into the night sky. It uses a lens to collect light (aperture) and has an eyepiece (magnification). This design is rugged and good on the go, but does present a mirror image of the sky.

A reflector telescope uses a mirror to collect light (aperture) and was invented by Newton. Unlike a refractor, reflector telescopes present you with an image as it appears in the sky. This can be useful for little scientists trying to follow a star map, but they do require some occasional maintenance.

Then, there are compound telescopes that use components of both refractors and reflectors in their design. These designs are powerful, but not necessary for little astronomers!

Longevity vs. Budget

There are hundreds and hundreds of telescopes to choose from and hundreds and hundreds of good options. It really comes down to what you want to spend now, how much ease of use you want, and how long you want to keep the same telescope for.

Personally, I opted for a budget-friendly and easy-to-use telescope for my girls. I’m excited about the possibilities of their next telescope, but I wanted them to find their current telescope accessible and fun. Also, if their scientific interests carry them to other places than the night sky, I won’t be left heart broken at the expense!

The Science Mom’s Telescope Picks

The Science Kids’ Telescope

My kids have the Celestron Firstscope telescope, a Netwonian reflector telescope.

We love this telescope for many reasons and I’d highly suggest it for anyone starting to dive into the world of stargazing.

  • The Firstscope has a 76mm primary mirror, which collects enough light for us to make out awesome detail in the night sky, from the moon’s craters to Saturn’s rings.
  • It comes with 20mm and 4mm eyepieces, which gives us two ways to observe the night sky.
  • We have up to 75x magnification power.
  • The telescope has a tabletop style base that rotates, making it stable and easy to use with two little ones.
  • The optical tube is decorated with the names of famous scientists and astronomers. I love the symbolism as my girls stand on the shoulders thousands of brilliant minds before them as they gaze up into the sky.
  • It’s light enough to be easily transported around with us. Ruby can even carry it by herself.
  • Celestron has a free app (with in-app purchases) called SkyPortal that you can download to compliment your stargazing.

Other Beginner Telescopes

Orion Funscope

The Orion Funscope is similar in style to our Firstscope.

With 4.5 inch aperture and 25mm and 10mm eyepieces, you’ll be able to view objects with 50x magnification.

It also comes complete with a MoonMap and digital software download that allows you to view simulations of the night sky, great for little astronomers to learn their way around space.

Celestron Kids 50TT

The Celestron Kids 50TT is a basic refractor telescope that’s good for starting astronomers. It’s easy to set up and get to stargazing. With a 50mm aperture and 12.5mm eyepiece, it has 30x magnification.

This telescope is super lightweight, including its tabletop tripod, and comes with a carrying case to observe on the go.

Orion GoScope III 70mm

The Orion GoScope III 70mm is great for little astronomers on the move. It comes with a backpack to carry it around in!

With 70mm aperture and 20mm and 9mm eyepieces, this telescope has 44x magnification. It rests on an aluminum tripod. It also comes with a MoonMap and viewfinder to help locate objects before viewing through the telescope.

Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST

The Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST is the ideal telescope for serious junior astronomers. This telescope is the priciest on my list, with good reason.

With a 130mm primary mirror, its aperture is almost double our Firstscope. It also comes with 25mm and 10mm eyepieces, allowing for 26-65x magnification. The SpaceProbe also comes with a finderscope to help find objects quickly. The aluminum tripod is lightweight and has an accessory tray to keep your other eyepiece close.

Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker

The Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker is another great option for more serious stargazers.

It has a 127mm aperture and 20mm and 4mm eyepieces, allowing for up to 250x magnification. It also comes with a 3x Barlow lens that triples the magnification of both eyepieces. This telescope rests on a tripod that also has an accessory tray to keep eyepieces and the Barlow lens easily accessible.

In addition to Celestron’s SkyPortal app, it also comes with “The Sky” software to help locate thousands of items in the night sky!

 

Do you have a telescope at home? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

5 Ways to Raise Scientifically Literate Kids {and 5 Reasons Why You Should}

There are a million ways to parent, all of them valid in their own way. But the most important obligation of today’s parents is to raise scientifically literate kids. Let’s explore what I mean.

About STEM and Scientific Literacy

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It’s an integrated approach to learning, that views these subjects as interconnected, rather than separate disciplines for separate times and uses. The truth is that in the real world, these four subjects overlap in big ways. It only makes sense that they’re taught that way too.

Scientific literacy, simplified, is the ability to apply science to your daily life. But more eloquently, “Scientific literacy is the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions in order to understand and help make decisions about the natural world and the changes made to it through human activity. (OECD 2003:132–33)”.

It’s not “literacy” in the traditional sense of the word, but rather a mindset. The ability to think critically, evaluate data, and apply information.

“[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world…” – President Obama

Why Parents Should Focus on Scientific Literacy at Home

 

Many schools struggle to provide an adequate STEM education.

As parents, it’s easy to brush off science and say, “They learn that stuff in school”. The truth is that they may not be. Our public school systems are struggling to provide adequate STEM coursework. Only 73% of fourth graders have teachers who report having the resources they need to adequately teach mathematics. 61% of eighth graders have teachers who report having what they need to adequately teach science. Most elementary classroom science education is happening in less than three hours per week. Only 20% of U.S. high school seniors are grade-level proficient in science.

They’re also struggling to provide educators who hold STEM degrees or even have received professional development in science. Science isn’t part of school performance ratings, so it makes sense that they’d skimp here. Anecdotally, I was shocked by how many of my elementary school colleagues didn’t view science as “important” and would openly admit to frequently skipping it for weeks or even entire semesters.

It’s also easy to discount the importance of technology and computer science education, because Millenials and subsequent generations were virtually born with smart devices in their hands. However, U.S. Millenials ranked last in computer skills against 19 other countries. They know how to use social media, but they may not know how to build a website or troubleshoot problems.

STEM careers are the future.

STEM careers are growing almost three times faster than any other field. 80% of the fastest growing careers require a STEM background.

Yet, there’s a shortage of STEM degree holding professionals. There’s an estimated 3 million STEM jobs unfilled because of a lack of qualified applicants, while only 16% of American high school seniors are interested in pursuing STEM degrees. 60% of this century’s jobs require skills that are only held by 20% of the current workforce.

47% of STEM-related Bachelor degree holders earn more than non-STEM PhD counterparts. STEM degree holders are also less likely to face joblessness, even with lower degrees than their non-STEM counterparts. Most STEM careers don’t require a 4-year degree and yet pay 10% higher than non-STEM careers with similar degree requirements.

STEM needs more diversity.

Only 17% of recent female college graduates had earned a STEM degree and the amount of women working in STEM-related fields has plateaued. Less than 25% of computer science degrees are held by women.

This divergence starts in early elementary school and carries on through high school, with more male high school graduates reporting that math was a favorite subject, despite girls taking tougher STEM related coursework.

More than 80% of the STEM workforce is white or Asian and male. This doesn’t come as a surprise when you look at other races’ access to science and mathematics education. 42% of Native American and 32% of black students don’t have calculus in their high schools. 34% of Native American and 23% of black students don’t have physics in their high schools.

These numbers become even more staggering when you look at the overall poverty rates of schools. Only 26% of the highest poverty schools have computer science courses. Only 43% have physics classes. When you recall that STEM jobs require lesser (or no) degrees for more money than their non-STEM counterparts, it seems like common sense that we should especially encouraging these students to get engaged in STEM.

Scientific literacy skills extend beyond science.

Many STEM skills are actually just good “life skills”. Things like critical thinking, problem solving, evaluating evidence, and good citizenship are all useful outside of a classroom or laboratory. And despite what I muttered under my breath in high school algebra, I actually do find myself using equations and solving for x in every day life.

STEM-focused learning encourages a deeper understanding of subjects. Let’s use a culinary example. If you watch a cooking show, you might pick up some useful tidbits, but you probably couldn’t recreate the recipe from memory. If you were hands-on in the kitchen with the chef, you would probably have a much stronger chance or recreating the recipe again, but also of understanding the cooking methods.

Hands-on STEM is just like that. It unlocks new skill sets, instead of just memorized information. Those skills are now theirs to use and apply to any subject or situation they want.

Kids want to learn.

More importantly than any of this, kids want to learn – and they want to learn about science! 81% of teenagers think science is interesting, but only 37% like their science coursework. Personally, I think there’s probably a pretty strong correlation between the lack of hands-on learning opportunities and enjoyment of the coursework. Kids crave new information, but they want it delivered in a meaningful way.

Even with the uphill struggle in the classroom, 50% of male and 43% of female high school seniors report that math is their favorite subject. 48% of male and 34% of female high school seniors report that science is their favorite subject. While those numbers aren’t as staggering as I’d like, that’s still a lot of kids with a passion for STEM education!

Science-Minded Parenting

Are you convinced about the importance of scientific literacy? I hope so. Here are my suggestions for bringing STEM to life at home.

Read. Read. Read. (And Watch. Watch. Watch.)

There are limitless benefits of reading and literacy in general. We’ve all heard the cliche about reading opening doors to new worlds, but more importantly, reading opens doors to understanding our own world. Science opens doors to understanding our own world.

Encourage your kids to read to themselves. Read to your kids. Not because you have to, but because it’s exciting. Instill the wonder and amazement of reading in them from a young age. Don’t wait until it’s a big cloud of required reading and test stress and vocabulary words. Teach them to love not only the experience of reading a book, but to also love the power that reading can unlock. What other skill can unlock unlimited knowledge?

Read nonfiction. Read about space, dinosaurs, animals, history, human beings, volcanoes, weather, read it all. Read about famous scientists, explorers, astronauts, archaeologists, chemists, doctors. But also read fiction and not just science fiction. Engage their imaginations in worlds outside of their own. Books foster creativity and creativity gives way to exploration and experimentation and then it all comes back to… science.

Turn on shows and movies that engage their brains in those same concepts too. Watch them together and talk about them. Ask them questions and answer their questions. Expose them to documentaries and famous scientists on television.

Create an environment of science.

21032590_10155863005514610_89048780117438341_nScience is literally everywhere. Point it out. Make it a habit to look for the science in the daily minutiae. When it starts to rain, explain the water cycle. When they’re picking up rocks, talk about geology. When they’re playing with dinosaurs, tell them their names and explain that the plastic could actually be made of dinosaurs. When they’re dancing, explain the kinetic energy that’s propelling them.

Gift them a microscope, telescope, binoculars, chemistry set, or even building blocks for the next holiday or birthday.  Hang a model solar system in their room, or even a map of the world or the stars. Even passive exposure like robot bedsheets or animal play sets can unlock their curiosity.

Consider building a scientist’s kit, full of common household materials, so they’re ready to experiment at a moment’s notice. Or buy pre-made science kits, like robot sets, circuits, or even candy making. Include them in your gardening and yard work, car or house maintenance, and computer work.

Use real words with them. Expand their vocabularies. Help them with their homework, science and otherwise. Less than 50% of parents sit down to help their kids with homework 3 or more times per week. Use this time to connect with them and figure out what they’re learning, so you can reinforce it at home.

Talk to them about the big stuff too. Don’t assume that a concept is too heavy or too abstract for them to grasp. My children’s comprehension levels take my breath away on a daily basis. Make sure yours are too.

Encourage questions (and research).

All the toddler moms are currently saying to themselves, “I’ve got this covered”. But seriously, questioning is the core of science. Every great scientific discovery and innovation started with a question. And not even necessarily a “good” question. A lot of science is built on what seemed to be preposterous ideas.

Model questions for them. Ask them leading questions, open ended questions, silly questions, easy questions. Just ask and let them construct responses with their own brain power. Ask them to describe or compare objects. Ask them to summarize something. Ask them anything.

And let them ask questions too. Model the Scientific Method for them. Teach them how to find answers to their questions, outside of a Google search. If they’re curious why something works a certain way, don’t just tell them. Help them construct a hypothesis and look for data to confirm or disprove it. Pull out videos or books or set up an experiment to turn their question’s answer into meaningful knowledge and learning.

Expand the horizon.

17155212_10155264798154610_2548876235770520097_nThere’s this gigantic world, expansive universe, and limitless knowledge out there. Engage them in that. Show them that they’re citizens not only of their house or town or country, but citizens of the world, of the universe.

Take them to museums and science centers. Go to the zoo or aquarium. Make road trip stops at educational destinations. Sign them up for activities that will foster curiosity. Expose them to as much as you can. My family lives in Louisiana, a state that’s at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to education, opportunity, and pretty much everything else. Even still, we’ve found two children’s museums, two science centers, state parks, nature centers, NASA, LIGO, planetariums, a marine biology center, zoo, aquarium, insectarium, science camps and clubs, and more, all within a couple of hours of home. Don’t be fooled into thinking your city or state doesn’t have science to offer. Go look!

More than that, let them experience all kinds of new things. Again, science is everywhere, whether you’re looking for it or not. Art, history, cooking, sports, roller coasters, race cars. Expose them to the world and the science hiding in every corner.

Let them experiment.

Experiments don’t have to happen in a lab. They can happen in the kitchen, backyard, or at the dining room table. Take a step back and let them explore things. Build a tower, mix a solution, take something apart, or even bake cookies. Like Dr. Tyson said in the video above, any life experience can be an experiment and opportunity to learn.

Play in the backyard. Go explore your neighborhood pond or community green space. Look up at the stars. Dig through your pantry. They all hold unlimited potential for scientific inquiry. And most importantly, let them use their imaginations. Imagining is experimenting.

How do you encourage scientific literacy in your home? Leave a comment below!

 

A is for Astronomy | Children’s Books and Other Media About Space

Here is a complete list of books, movies, TV shows, and other media to accompany the A is for Astronomy thematic unit for the Science ABCs!

Please note that some of the links included are affiliate links. That means that if you follow the link and purchase something, I earn a small commission for my recommendation. This support helps keep my resources free and is much appreciated!

Books

These books are all Science Mom tested and Science Kid approved! They aren’t just random recommendations, but all live on our bookshelves at home.

Picture Books About Space

Picture Books About Astronauts

Fiction Picture Books About Space

Online Videos

About Astronomy in General

Songs About the Planets

About Astronauts


Movies and TV Shows

Movies With a Space Theme

  

Educational Movies About Space

    

TV Shows With a Space Theme

  

Space Themed Shows Streaming on Netflix

Fishtronaut, Sid the Science Kid, Space Racers

Educational Shows About Space

   

Educational Shows Streaming on Netflix

Bill Nye the Science Guy, Cosmos, The Magic School Bus

 

Online Kids’ Games About Space

NASA Space Place

NASA Kids Club

NatGeo Kids – Space Janitor

Discovery Kids Space Games

Magic School Bus Space Games

 

Have a resource you’d like to see included? Leave a comment or contact us!

5 Science Gifts for Tiny Toddler Scientists

Birthday party season is upon us! For some reason, a large cluster of the Science Kids’ friends were born in the spring/summer. I feel like we spend most of our weekends during this time attending birthday parties of the kids we love!

And what else would the Science Mom give, but science? (Dinosaurs, actually. We are kind of known for always including something dinosaur-related. But that’s still science, right?) I keep these bookmarked on Amazon Prime, so they’re ready to be ordered, tossed in a gift bag (along with a book and possibly a dinosaur or two), and head out to a friend on their special day!

So, without further ado, here’s my list of my five favorite, fun science gifts to give our tiny scientist friends!

Please note that some of the links included are affiliate links. That means that if you follow the link and purchase something, I earn a small commission for my recommendation. This support helps keep my resources free and is much appreciated, so please consider using the link if you decide to purchase something from one of my posts!

1. GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope

At under $20, this little “microscope” is a fun way to introduce science equipment to little scientists.

It features 2.5-8x magnification, which is more like a magnifying glass and obviously significantly less than a standard microscope. However, that’s why I like this microscope for toddlers. At these lower magnifications with a larger field of view, little brains can begin to understand how microscopes work and what they’re looking at.

It also features an LED light, and non-skid feet to keep it in place. Its chunky design is also great for little hands to still be able to manipulate it independently.

On a personal note, I gave my daughter and her best friend both this microscope for Christmas two years ago. I’ve been surprised by how durable it is, in part thanks to its plastic lenses. My kids are not delicate and it’s surviving just beautifully! They’ve both been having fun looking at leaves, dead bugs, their hands, and random household items.

2. Primary Science Binoculars

For around $13, this is a really adorable pair of binoculars for little bird watchers and nosy toddlers.

I love the chunky design here too. Combined with the rubber eye pieces, plastic lenses, and textured grips, it is really designed for little hands to hold and use independently. I also like that the neck strap is a breakaway design.

The binoculars have a 6x magnification, which is, again, just the perfect amount for them to begin to understand the concept of using binoculars and also what they are actually looking at.

My daughter has taken her pair all over the place, from road trips to the park to local music events.

3. Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Set

Coming in under $20, this lab set is probably my favorite thing to gift little scientists. The pieces in this set are “iconic” science, right?

This 12-piece set includes everything they need to start exploring the lab world, including a beaker, magnifying glass, funnel, eyedropper, flask, tweezers, goggles, and test tubes! It also comes with activity cards to inspire both them and the adults helping them.

Again, the chunky design of these tools makes them ideal for little scientists to work semi-independently and feel like they’re in control of their own experiments. While they’re plastic and kid-friendly in every way, they’re still functional and we routinely use them in our experiments at home!

If you’re looking for something more, there’s also a 45-piece deluxe lab set that expands to include more lab equipment and a ViewScope. Learning Resources also makes a kid-sized lab coat that’s at the top of my daughter’s wish list!

My First Mind Blowing Science Kit

I mean, who isn’t excited when they see the title of this science kit? Mind blowing! And for only $15!

It’s packed with fun goodies to conduct a variety of science experiments and introduce STEM principles, including things like test tubes and a pipette, as well as chemicals like red cabbage powder, citric acid, and baking soda. There are some household items you’ll need to supplement the kit, so check the list before you plan to get started.

This kit definitely requires some adult supervision and assistance, but you definitely don’t need to be a scientist to help. Adults will have as much fun as their little scientists with activities like a sunset in a tube, a color-changing volcano, and jiggly crystals.

5. Boley Big Bucket of Dinosaurs

At around $15, this 40-piece dinosaur set provides lots of fun play for budding little paleontologists.

This set combines realistic-looking (not cartoony, like so many sets) dinosaurs and landscape pieces that encourage a lot of imaginary play, but can also open the door for lots of educational questions and talk about dinosaurs.

We’ve had this set in our house for over two years now and the figures have held up really well to almost daily play. I also like that it comes with a storage bucket, so they’re not all over the place. That being said, we did convert our train table into a dinosaur landscape for a while, thanks in part to some of the landscape pieces that come in this bucket. It was a lot of fun to see my daughter’s imagination at work as we constructed it!

Do you have a go-to science gift that didn’t make my list? Leave me a comment!

The Science Mom’s New Obsession {Project Mc2}

IMG_0430I spent the morning doing my favorite thing – aimlessly wandering the aisles at Target. That’s where I stumbled upon my new obsession and that obsession is Project Mc2. I had NO idea that this show or toy collection existed! Cool STEAM girls? This was made for my family.

And before you ask, NO. This is NOT a sponsored post in any way. Project Mc2 doesn’t even know the Science Mom Blog exists, as far as I know!

We are streaming our first episode on Netflix, as I type. The first season is airing now, with the second set to debut in August. The show follows teenage spy McKeyla and her brainiac friends as they use their STEAM skills to save the day. They’re stylish, witty, and super smart, which are all qualities that I want for my girls as they grow up! While other girls are cooing over a space traveling prince coming to town and wanting to be his “space princess”, the Project Mc2 girls are wanting to “pick his brain about his spacecraft’s orbital velocity”.

IMG_0431As for the toys, well, my daughter was just excited to see a Barbie-esque doll with a dinosaur shirt on. In fact, I’m not sure that she’s ever seen another little girl with a dinosaur shirt on, in real life or toy life. The Project Mc2 dolls are sold separately or with exciting experiments. You can also check out their separate branded kits (sans dolls) to make soda can robots, rock sugar jewelry, lip balm labs, and more! You can check them all out on their website here.

Once you’re browsing their website, you can play games, take fun quizzes, ask the girls questions, and find videos on cool experiments, ideas, and Q&As.

Anyway, the Science Family is officially obsessed! Let us know if you are too!

 

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