22 Cool Science Toys for Kids
Have a little scientist in the house? Here's a look at some of the newest trends and best-selling science toys for kids.
Science toys for kids have always been popular with parents looking to bring out their child's inner Einstein. They want toys that not only entertain but challenge their kids in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
"The rise in STEAM-based toys" -- those that combine STEM with arts-based learning (the 'A' stands for arts) -- was "of particular interest" at the 2015 International Toy Fair, notes toy trend expert Adrienne Appell of the Toy Industry Association. "Parents tend to look at the benefits of having their children play with technology-based toys, which include building critical thinking skills and combining learning with play," she says, adding, "The "so-called geek culture" continues to grow. Kids these days find playing with science toys cool. It's not the same as it was years ago."
"The idea is to give kids a more well- rounded set of learning tools that prepare students to succeed in academics, as well as in business, technology, creative and a variety of other careers," says Dr. Carla C. Johnson, professor of science education at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, and a member of the VTech Expert Advisory Council.
Here are some of the latest and most popular science toys for kids, as identified by the Toy Industry Association, as well as their descriptions in the form of comments from kids who attended the toy fair:
- Study an Anatomy Chart
Sosie, age 11, of Los Angeles, likes the Popar Human Anatomy Interactive Wall Chart because "it is a poster of the human body that you can take a picture of and it will come to life on your phone and iPad. You can use it for learning about the body. I like because it makes it 3-D and you can actually go into it."
- Solve Puzzles
"It teaches you about ancient history with each piece," says Sage, age 8, of Los Angeles, about the 4D Cityscape National Geographic Ancient Civilizations puzzles app. "I like it because I like doing puzzles and figuring out where things go."
- Watch It Snow!
Be Amazing Insta-Snow is awesome, according to Sosie. "It's a powder that creates fake snow. I like it because I like snow, because I've never had snow before in my city."
- Go Flying High
The Space Explorer Helicopter is a remote control helicopter that lights up when it flies. "I like it because it lights up in the air. It kinda looks like fireworks," Sage notes.
- Be Electrifying
The LightUp Edison Kit has electrical circuits that light up when you connect them together, Sosie explains, adding, "They're safe to explore and play around with and you can learn how to make positive and negative charges."
- Enter the World of Bubbles
"Uncle Bubble Outdoor Unbelievabubble is a giant bubble wand that you can use outside to make lots of bubbles," say Sosie. "I love it because everyone loves bubbles!"
- Experiment With Weird Science
The Edu Science Wacky Lab Intro to Chemistry Set is a kit where you can learn all about chemistry and do some fun experiments," Sage enthuses. "I like it because I can learn what it's like to be a scientist."
- See Your Amazing Self
"Scientific Explorer Disgusting Science is a toy that teaches you how your body makes germs and stuff. It's fun but it's kind of gross," says Sosie.
- Get Ready to Blow Up!
About the Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit, Sage says, "It's a toy where you can make a volcano and do other cool experiments." She adds, "I like the color crystals that you can make."
- Switch Things Up
"The Snap Circuits Light helps you learn how to make circuits and shows you how electronics work," explains Sosie, who says she likes it because "it's like doing grown-up things."
- Be a Space Invader
Sosie examines the littleBits Space Kit and offers her assessment: "This is another electronics toy where you can connect circuits and stuff, but you can make a lot more things with this. You can make a space satellite. It's really cool."
- Build Yourself a Colorful Empire
Sosie continues her review of the toys, looking at the Magna-Tiles Clear Colors. "You can take all different shapes and colors of tiles and build things," she notes. "I like it because it's like LEGOs and you can build really big shapes or even whole buildings -- anything you want."
- Try an Aquatic Zoo!
Looking at the Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys Ocean Zoo Kit, Sage says she likes it "because these are Sea Monkey pets you can make at home, so you don't have to go out and buy a pet."
- Seeing Stars
Nancy B's Science Club Moonscope and Journal "is so cool!" says 10-year-old Kyla, of Virginia Beach. "You can learn about astronomy and even see the stars with the telescope," she adds.
- Put on Your Detective Hat
"It's like being a real detective," says Bryton, age 9, of Atlanta, about the Edu Science CSI Fingerprint Analysis Kit. "I'll be able to figure out if anybody touches my off-limits toy car collection," he adds slyly.
- Challenge Yourself
According to Bryton, "The Gravity Maze is really hard to figure out." He adds, "But it's no match for my brains. I bet I could win this game easy. Bring it on!"
- Be a Turtle Master
"Robot Turtles is supposed to be for little kids, but I think it's fun, too, even though I'm much older," says Lucy, a 10-year-old from Los Angeles.
- Discover Your Inner Scientist
"This is a real microscope," says Lucy about the My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope. "You can use it for real experiments, like seeing what bugs and other stuff look like really close up," she says. "I like it because I can use it for my science class when I go to middle school."
- Produce a Musical Masterpiece
"The littleBits Synth Kit is really, really cool," says Ella, 10, of Los Angeles. "At first I wasn't sure what a synthesizer could do, but, basically you can make your own band with it -- you don't even need instruments! Now I want to make a record."
- Little Kids, Big Science
"There's a lot of stuff you can do with The Smithsonian Mega Science Lab," muses Kyla. "It's almost like being in science class because there are so many experiments and things that have to do with the earth and history. I like it because you can learn with it on your own instead of in a class."
- The Magic of Science
"There are tricks and stuff in the Magic Science for Wizards, but it's not like real magic," says Lucy. "The tricks are all about science and if you learn how to do the tricks, you can know more about science. It's good for kids that like to do magic and learn how that stuff works."
- Build a Robot
"Little kids can make their own robot with the Tegu Magbot," says Ella. "It's good for kids because it teaches them about how magnets work, even though you can't see the magnets in the blocks," she explains. "I like the robot because you can make it into different shapes and styles."
Tisha Berg has been a freelance content writer and desktop publisher since 1997. Her articles on family life, healthy living and parenting appear on Working Mother, About One, Lifescript and United Way. Tisha holds a bachelor's degree in theater history from Hunter College in New York City and is a certified hypnotherapist.
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