The kids and I often pile out into the garden with a science book, some experiment ‘ingredients’ and lots of enthusiasm. Nine out of ten times the fun in the backyard has been preceded by at least a week of planning.
First, it is choosing the activity – for this, we go back and forth a couple of times, usually arguing over who chose the last time. Then we discover we don’t have all of the right ingredients and equipment so it’s off to the pharmacy to get some hydrogen peroxide or the dollar store to find some cheap foil containers/tissue paper/ random item you would never have at home in a million years. Finally, we might get into the garden and get to enjoy the experiment.
To save on some of these frustrations and to enable us to be a bit more spontaneous, I started looking around at some science kits for the kids.
The kits would have to be easy to store and appropriate for a couple of kids to use at the same time – nothing worse than an impatient sibling wanting to have their turn.
We trawled through the internet and the stores and found these – our top super cool science kits for super cool science kids.
With the GeoSafari Talking Telescope, kids get an up-close VIEW of 12 animals and eight space-age phenomena. They can HEAR cool facts or TEST their knowledge in fun quiz games. The telescope features beautiful images from NASA and built-in storage for all 20 slides which I love. A detachable telescope (3x magnification) for on-the-go exploring and the battery-saving automatic shut-off are also great features. Two motivating game modes, Facts, and Quiz speak 200 fun facts and questions with realistic sound effects round out the set.
Pneumatic Hydraulic Engines. Build your models powered by air and water pressure to learn about the laws of physics. This unique kit allows you to create two different air and water powered systems: water jet propelled cars and hydro or pneumo (which simply mean water and air) powered engines. The hydro pneumo system uses a self-contained air and water turbine system as a motor.
Excavate your natural crystals. Learn fun facts and add them to your rock collection. It’s a cool mineral rock digging kit. The package contains eight natural crystals embedded in a plaster block, a specially designed digging tool, brush and a leather storage pouch.
Watch and be amazed at what your music can do with the new Snap Circuits Lights. Connect your iPod or any MP3 player and enjoy your music as the lights change to the beat. Features: Infrared Detector, Strobe Light, Color Changing LED, Lighted and Glow-in-the-Dark Fans, Strobe integrated circuit (IC), Fibre Optic Communication, Colour organ controlled by iPod or another MP3 player, voice or finger.
National Geographic Archaeology Kit: Egyptian Pyramid, The Secret of the Pyramid. Play the role of archaeologist as you explore this pyramid model and the treasures buried within. After using hieroglyphics to decipher the secret to unlocking the pyramid, use tools and techniques similar to those of a real archaeologist to carefully excavate a sarcophagus, death mask, and four canopic urns from inside. Open the sarcophagus, and you will discover a model mummy preserved within. As you uncover the artefacts in the pyramid, you will learn about archaeological science, including excavation, conservation, dating, and remote sensing.
Wild Science kits use safe, high-quality, fully compliant materials including real safety goggles and gloves. The chemicals are packed in resealable bottles, so they’re safer to handle than packets or pouches, and can be used over and over again. These experiments are open-ended and include extra materials to encourage kids to take what they learned and apply it to their experiments. They also incorporate interests that kids may have. All kits include all the materials needed for the activity right in the box.
Observe and record the weather with your multi-functional weather station. The kit features a wind vane, an anemometer, a thermometer and a rain gauge. Also, experiment with the greenhouse effect and create a terrarium in a bottle.
Scientific Explorer Disgusting Science is the grossest, most revolting kit available that will educate your child with nasty experiments on what grows on their body, what’s really in their teeth and the explanations behind our unmentionable, smelly bodily functions.Your young scientist will be fascinated to learn fun facts about these body parts, by-products and will be grossed out as they take science to a whole new level by creating a stinky intestine, slimy snot, fake blood and learn how to grow friendly moulds and bacteria.
Experience nature up close with the Live Butterfly Garden from Insect Lore. This enthralling educational kit gives kids the opportunity to observe butterflies through every stage of their lifecycle. Children ages four and up can watch five real caterpillars eat and grow to form their chrysalis and then emerge as Painted Lady butterflies. Children will love feeding the butterflies in their included observation habitat and then be releasing them into the wild.