10 Smart Science Gifts For Kids | Popular Science
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10 Smart Science Gifts For Kids

Don't buy your children robots this year—let them build their own.

The great thing about children is that they are all huge nerds. The toys on this list will help kids teach themselves about electronics, biology, engineering, geometry, and more.

Need more ideas? Check out last year's geeky toy guide.

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Bigshot Camera Kit

Bigshot Camera Kit

Remember constructing your own pinhole camera to learn how photography works? Now kids can build a hand-crank digital camera to learn about electronics, optics, mechanics, and more. There’s even a mode that takes 3-D photos (glasses included.) $50.

Amazon

Skyrocket Toys Quick Attach Microscope

Skyrocket Toys Quick Attach Microscope

This little microscope snaps over the camera of a smartphone or tablet (it claims to work with iOS and most Android devices), allowing kids to take their own photos and video of the microscopic world. When used with digital zoom, the microscope offers 30x magnification. $15, Skyrocket Toys

Amazon

Lego Mindstorms EV3

Lego Mindstorms EV3

The newest generation of the classic robot-building toy is the first to include a Bluetooth radio that lets builders control their robots via an app, and a new sensor suite enables creations to navigate and react autonomously. EV3 also comes with faster motors, a faster processor, and more sensitive sensors. $350, Lego

Ages 10+

Nancy B's Science Club Aquascope

Nancy B's Science Club Aquascope

This underwater ‘scope features 5x magnification and built-in thermometer, ruler and LED flashlight. An included activity journal encourages kids to record their aquatic observations in words and drawings. $27, Nancy B’s Science Club

Ages 8+

GoldieBlox

GoldieBlox

You may have heard of GoldieBlox last month, when its creators released an ad set to the Beastie Boys and featuring a pink-themed Rube Goldberg machine. GoldieBlox is a great construction toy aimed at girls; kids learn simple engineering principles from the pegboard kit’s axles, blocks, cranks, and wheels. $30, GoldieBlox

Ages 4+

ThinkFun Laser Maze

ThinkFun Laser Maze

To win this single-player game, arrange the mirrors on the grid to direct the laser beam (laser beam!) to the target. There are 60 different challenges, with varying degrees of difficulty. $25, ThinkFun

Ages 8+

Carnivorous Creatures LED Light Cube

Carnivorous Creatures LED Light Cube

Grow your own meat-eating plants! This 9-inch terrarium comes with fly trap and sundew seeds, USB power cord, germination disk, and care guide. Fifteen micro-LEDs provide the heat and red and blue light the carnivorous plants need to grow. $35, DuneCraft

Ages 4+

Air-Stream Machines

Air-Stream Machines

Clearly, the ideal way to learn about flight is to build your own working hovercraft. This kit helps kids experiment with propellers, impellers, air pressure, and air flow. Also buildable with the 59-piece set: a batting machine that tosses a ball upward, a fan-driven car, and a basketball launcher. $70, Thames & Kosmos

Ages 8+

Zometool Animal Virus

Zometool Animal Virus

Using the edges and joints in Zometool’s kits, kids learn about geometry by creating incredibly complex shapes. This set includes the pieces needed to build a 3-D model of an adenovirus. $35, Zometool

Ages 10+

Snap Circuits Sound

Snap Circuits Sound

This kit is a fun introduction to circuits and the principles of sound. Kids swap in parts to create an optical theremin, echo effects, voice changer, and more. $54, Elenco

Ages 8+

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