Here at Learning with Boys we are all about making science fun and accessible. Here are some of the toys and tools that make it happen.*
1. Snap Circuits – Snap Circuits are great for teaching the fundamentals of electricity. The directions include several projects and can be followed even by children who aren’t reading completely independently. The sets allow plenty of room for experimentation.
2. Microscope – Every home needs a microscope. The Duo-Scope is really nice for kids because it can function as a compound microscope, where the light shines up from underneath for viewing slides, or it can function as a dissecting stereo microscope, where the light shines down for observing solid objects. This allows you to look at slides and every day objects.
3. Catapults and Trebuchets – Great lessons in machines. The particular one in this link is a size that matches up well with LEGO minifigures.
4. Hydraulics Kits – These kits are great for developing an understanding of mechanical motion and how hydraulics are used. Again the scale works well with Playmobil and LEGO creations.
5. Newtons Cradle – I still remember questions about Newtons Cradles on my Engineering Physics exams. This simple desk toys is a great demonstration of transfer of motion.
6. Handboilers – These are fragile and sometimes get broken, but they are a hit with our friends. I keep a couple on the entry table and kids gravitate to them. Great stocking stuffer. (You might want to order an extra or two.)
7. Science Center, Museum, and Zoo Memberships – An afternoon spent at the science center or museum provides hands-on experiences we just don’t get at home. Whether it’s a giant pendulum, a high wire unicycle, a giant water table, a visit to the planetarium, or walking through a life size replica of a whale – these experiences create memories that can’t be matched by a book or video.
10. LEGO EV3 – This is the only item on the list we don’t actually have yet. We have the predecessor NXT version and really enjoy it. The great thing about the LEGO robots is the combination of programming and mechanical action of the device.
11. Building Toys – Lincoln Logs, KEVA planks, LEGO sets, K’Nex, Erector sets, Zoob. There are so many great building platforms out there.
12. Spirograph – Remember this from when you were a kid? Gear ratios and cool patterns combined! Unfortunately they stopped making these for a while and none of the knock offs were very good. The original is back so get it while you can!
What is the best science toy you ever gave or received?
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