Top 10 Best Science Toys for Kids – 2020 Edition
Your child’s mind needs nourishment, but they also need to have entertaining toys to keep them busy. Picking the perfect science toy can be difficult, however. Most science toys for kids only pertain to a very narrow area of science, and your child’s scientific tastes may be still in the works.
Some of the best science toys on the market are very approachable and also very educational. In this article, we’ll walk through reviews of a few of the most versatile and most educational science toys for kids so that your young scientist gets a great start.
- Edu-Toys Jr Scientist Rhinoceros Mini-Beest Science Kit
- Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit
- 4M Crystal Growing Experiment
- Light-up Terrarium Kit for Kids
- 4M Water Rocket Kit
- ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Logic Game
- AmScope Beginner Microscope
- SmartLab Toys Squishy Human Body
- National Geographic Mega Fossil Dig Kit
- My First Mind Blowing Science Kit by Scientific Explorer
- What should I look for in science toys?
- Are science toys safe?
- How long should I expect my child’s science toys to last?
- Are science toys good for creative play?
- Which brands of science toys are the best?
- Preparing For The Experiment
Edu-Toys Jr Scientist Rhinoceros Mini-Beest Science Kit
A unique science toy which uses your child’s ability to follow instructions carefully to construct an animated sculpture which walks when the wind blows. The payoff of seeing this toy in action is quite large, and children who enjoy building things will love this kit.
- Constructive play
- Extensive science guide included
- Rewarding finish
- Damaged or lost parts prevent completion
The Mini-Rhinoceros is a great way to get your child into the habit of following instructions carefully, which is an absolute necessity for most science toys for kids. In the kit, you’ll find the pieces of the rhino as well as a science guide which teaches your child about the lives of real rhinoceroses.
Assembling the rhino piece by piece, by the time you’re done your child will be hotly anticipating seeing the rhino in action. Stand the rhino up and wait for the wind to see it walk around in a straight line at a leisurely pace.
It’s amazing to see something your child build with snap circuits move as though it had a mind of its own. Nonetheless, as far as the science aspect of this kit goes, there’s a minimal educational potential.
The rhino guide is cool and informative, but there isn’t much potential to exercise critical thinking or engineering skill.
Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit
The Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit is a veritable Rube Goldberg machine in a box. Amazingly, the box itself merely has a few balls, strings, ramps, and other Lego connectors – but when you combine it your child’s Lego collection, it becomes an endless source of animated fun.
- Big potential for creative play
- Great for Lego lovers
- Great for aspiring engineers
- Requires existing Lego collection (not included in the kit)
The premise of the Chain Reactions Kit is that your child will use the new bricks from the kit to hook up their Lego collection into a complex system of levers, buckets, ladders, and channels. Once everything is set up, your child drops a marble into the machine and experiences the results.
Careful planning is rewarded just as much as wonton experimentation with this kit, which makes it an excellent choice for creative play. Especially for children who already enjoy Legos and snap circuits, this kit can revitalize an aging collection that doesn’t have any moving parts.
The only drawback to this kit is that you’ll need a Lego collection to get the most out of it. Without a bunch of Legos, your child can still enjoy the kit in a limited way, but it doesn’t shine unless your child can add the contents of the kit onto structures that they’ve previously assembled.
4M Crystal Growing Experiment
An exemplary example of what a science kit should be. Within the kit, your child can enjoy seven separate experiments in the field of geology. Children who enjoy chemistry will also appreciate the kit thanks to its chemical heavy initial setup.
- Kit comes with seven different experiments
- Beautiful crystals upon successful experiment
- Display case included in the kit
- Crystals can be somewhat fragile
If you’ve ever wanted to purchase a science toy which rendered artwork suitable for display in your house after a successful experiment, this is the kit for you and your child. This kit comes with several different colors and shapes. With the help of the kit’s excellent instruction set and carefully prepared reagents, your young scientists will have no problem executing the experimental protocol to produce pretty crystals.
This is a serious science kit and offers theoretical as well as practical tips to help your child understand how and why crystals are forming as a result of their actions. You should be sure that your child is of the proper age for this kit, as it’s intended for ages ten and up.
You won’t need to supervise your child too closely when they use this kit. The ingredients are safe, and spills are harmless. Make sure to congratulate your child on a successful experiment once you see the crystals grow after a few nights of incubation.
Light-up Terrarium Kit for Kids
A great choice for a child who likes herbalism, botany, or gardening. Provided that they fit the bill, your child will enjoy seeing their terrarium grow from day to day. Eventually, if you’re feeling brave, you can harvest the chia seeds from the terrarium and restart the process or eat them.
- Teaches children about ecosystems
- Kit comes with a nightlight
- Extremely safe
- Not very challenging
Much of the challenge of this science toy is in the setup. Your child will need to prepare the layers of soil and seed such that the growth characteristics are optimal. Thankfully, the chia seeds are very hardy so that minor mistakes won’t be a problem.
Once your child has set up the terrarium, it’s time to play the waiting game. The chia seeds grow relatively quickly, but it’ll still take a few nights most likely. Your child will enjoy the reward of seeing the life that they fostered from seedling to sprout.
If you want, your child can continue to use the terrarium for a long time, provided that you refresh the supply of soil and potentially chia seeds. This makes the kit rare among science kits.
That’s more or less all that there is to this kit. It’s a bit sparse when it comes to science lessons and interactivity. You may want to keep this kit in reserve for whenever your child expresses interest in gardening.
4M Water Rocket Kit
A prototypical bottle rocket which your space-obsessed young scientists will love. You’ll need to keep a close watch on your launch site to make sure that nothing bad happens, but once you see the bottle in flight, you’ll be glad you stuck around.
- Amazing blastoff
- Kit comes with rocket
- Excellent learning opportunity for aviation and space enthusiasts
- Teaches children how to make more of the items in the kit
- Has the potential to cause bodily harm or property damage
Bottle rockets are an excellent way to teach your child about air and space. Likewise, children interested in physics of all sorts will find something to marvel at with this kit. Inside the kit, you’ll find the items necessary to produce a bottle rocket, save for a bicycle pump. You’ll need to provide the pump.
With the help of water pressure built by the pump, the kit’s bottle rocket makes for an impressive sight in the summer air of your backyard. Importantly, your child will need to understand how and why the bottle flies to make the launch successful.
Because of the rapid projectile that is the core of the kit, you should advise your young scientists to be careful. In most cases, your child will probably get a bit wet from the rocket’s water emptying as it ascends. So long as everyone is clear of the blastoff and touchdown sites, everything will be fine.
ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Logic Game
This fun marble and logic game includes 60 challenges to help teach STEM fundamentals.
- Fast-paced tower and stacking game
- Fun, kid-friendly lessons introduce STEM subjects
- Kit comes with over 60 challenges for all skill levels
- Expert puzzles can be extremely challenging
- Puzzles vary in quality
ThinkFun lives up their name with this combination logic and marble game which combines hours of fun with science-based lessons. It includes a game grid with nine towers, a marble run, three marbles, and over 60 challenges.
It’s easy to learn and impossible to put down. The games introduce a variety of concepts from physics, engineering, and other STEM subjects. Plus, it’s a Toy of the Year and Parents Choice Gold Award winner.
AmScope Beginner Microscope
Helps kids get a closer look at science with this 52-piece beginner microscope with plastic slides, LED light and a carrying box.
- Working, kid-friendly microscope
- Made from metal and ABS plastic
- Includes 52-piece science kit
- Includes durable carrying case
- Microscope light has no switch (battery must be removed to turn it off)
The microscopic world usually fascinates kids of all ages, but professional microscopes are often complicated, delicate and expensive. AmScope is an excellent beginner scope for kids seven and older. It had a durable body made from metal and ABS plastic which can withstand an occasional accident.
The microscope includes a built-in color wheel filter, rotating turret, and 52-piece accessory kit. It provides 120x, 240, 300x, 480x, 600x and 1200x magnifications. The microscope and kit fit into a custom, hard-side ABS case for easy carrying and storage.
SmartLab Toys Squishy Human Body
Your child will love his new see-thru friend. Realistic and fascinating, it’s a great introduction to basic biology and anatomy.
- Stretchy body model with 21 removable organs
- Detailed replication of human body systems
- Includes kid-friendly biology booklet
- Organs can be difficult to fit into the body correctly
Ever wondered what happens when you take a bite of pizza? This 12-inch human body model will show you. It details the skeletal, gastrointestinal, circulatory and nervous systems. Plus, it’s squishy with 21 removable body parts.
It also includes a 24-page educational booklet which introduces basic concepts related to biology, anatomy, and health. Recommended for ages eight and up.
National Geographic Mega Fossil Dig Kit
Dig up real fossils with this paleontology and archeology kit from National Geographic.
- Dig brick packed with 15 real fossils
- Includes complete excavation kit with chisel, brush and more
- Fossils can be from dinosaurs, sea creatures, and other ancient creatures
- Fossils are fragile
- Dust can cover the play area
National Geographic’s dig brick is packed with a collection of fossils from ammonites, brachiopods, sharks and even dinosaurs. Use the included chisel, brush, and magnifying glass to uncover each ancient treasure carefully.
Next, use the included learning guide to identify the fossil. Kids also learn what fossils are and how they form. Of course, you won’t be digging up any T-Rex skeletons, but the promise of real fossils is a great way to encourage an interest in paleontology and the scientific method.
My First Mind Blowing Science Kit by Scientific Explorer
A 20-piece kit with tons of open-ended toys which teach a wide range of STEM subjects.
- 20-piece activity kit covers a variety of STEM topics
- Includes both chemicals and supplies
- Includes kid-friendly activity booklet detailing ways to play
- Limited quantities of chemicals
- Experiments vary in quality
Science so cool it’ll blow your mind! This 20-piece kit includes a variety of (safe) chemicals and fun science tools. Kids are given plenty of room to explore and learn about scientific basics.
The kit includes red cabbage powder, baking soda, color tablets, vegetable oil, corn starch and more. Supplies include test tubes, measuring scoops, cotton swabs, and other basics. An included activity book helps guide the experiments.
What should I look for in science toys?
The best science toys for kids tend to vary drastically from toy to toy. Even toys of the same type could be entirely different. You need to figure out which kind of science your child finds compelling.
There are a few kinds of science toys, including bug-finding or growing toys, chemistry sets, microscopes, and geology sets. You could buy several different science sets, but that isn’t as viable as it might be with other toys because science toys tend to be more expensive than others.
You should look for science toys for kids that have good instructions regardless of the type of toy, especially if snap circuits are included. The instructions are the only way you’ll know how to help your child figure out their experiment if it’s unclear to them.
Likewise, look for science toys that offer multiple experiments with the same kit. One-trick ponies are okay if it’s a toy your child can re-use like a microscope, but many science kits have a limited number of reagents. Once those run out, the toy’s done.
Are science toys safe?
Generally, science toys are less safe than other toys for kids. Whether it’s because the kit involves catching bugs, performing chemical reactions, or cracking into a rock formation, science toys rely on your child to be responsible and for you to be responsible and provide supervision.
Science toys are built with the understanding that accidents will happen, so there won’t ever be any serious injuries. You may, however, find that there are suddenly bugs in your house, stains on your furniture, or minor cuts or scrapes on your child.
Science toys for kids are worth the modest risk because of their educational potential. With a watchful eye, your child will be perfectly safe during their educational experience.
How long should I expect my child’s science toys to last?
Science toys are fragile and last much less long than other kinds of toys. Furthermore, science toys often have a finite amount of ingredients before the kit is expended and useless.
In fact, some science toys for kids might be good for a single afternoon of play. Others may last slightly longer, but the bottom line is that their time is limited.
Don’t let this dissuade you from jumping into science toys – each time your child plays is a learning experience.
Are science toys good for creative play?
Unlike the practice of real science, the best science toys typically do not accommodate any creative play. The ingredients contained in each science toy kit have very narrow uses, and their use is governed by the instructions for the set.
There may be some science toys for kids which let your child design their experiments to a degree. These are also limited in their potential for creative play. More importantly, science toys are excellent for thoughtful and critical play, like chess or checkers.
Which brands of science toys are the best?
Avoid purchasing any science toys made by real science equipment manufacturers. These brands are overpriced, and not necessarily any better regarding their educational capability.
What can I do to help my child enjoy their science toys more?
When your child plays with a science toy, you are their laboratory assistant. Read over the instruction set and shepherd your child along the proper course. Be ready to open up containers for your child, clean up spills, or look up additional information online.
Before you and your child play, sketch a quick experiment plan. It’ll help your child stay on track and get them in the habit of approaching their science toy like it’s a real experiment.
Walking the line between being too hands-on and too hands off is especially difficult with science toys. There will be times when you should step in, and other times when you should let your child struggle through and figure things out for themselves. Use your discretion.
Preparing For The Experiment
Now that you know all about science toys, it’s time to hop into the lab – or maybe your backyard. Science toys are a lot of fun and a great learning opportunity for your child, but they need your help to make it happen.
Treat science toys as a lesson in a box rather than a traditional toy and get ready to see your child’s powerful little mind jump into action.