6. Estes rockets
Your child can play with toy rockets … or build and launch her own! Building rockets with my grandpa was definitely a childhood highlight; don’t forget the extra engines for future re-launches, too.
7. Ice cream maker
Anyone who tries to tell you cooking isn’t chemistry is dead wrong. Teach your kids about the scientific principle of freezing point depression while scarfing down some tasty homemade vanilla!
I haven’t figured out a way to make adding sprinkles and chocolate chips revolved around a science-related theme yet, but when I do, you’ll be the first to hear about it.
8. DIY robot kit
Learn about circuits the best possible way: by making your own robot*. Maybe I wouldn’t have fared so poorly in my college electronics-and-magnetism class if I’d spent more time as a child trying to create adorable artificial life like this.
(*Science mom cannot guarantee toy robots will follow Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, so buyer beware.)
9. The Private Life of Plants
Pretty much everyone who owns a DVD player already has copies of Planet Earth and Blue Planet, but here’s a series on naturalism you might not own. Sir David Attenborough is one of the few people in the world who can make botany interesting to me, and he does it so well that I’ve watched every episode of this show four or five times apiece. Watch as Sir David rhapsodizes about flowers! See him recklessly endanger his own life! Watch as wasps relentlessly hump wasp-shaped flowers!
Note: This was made in the UK, so be careful to buy the right region of DVD for where you live.
10. Scientist bobblehead dolls
How cool is it to have Marie Curie benevolently watch over your high schooler while he works on his Chem I homework each night? “I know stoichiometry is hard,” her wise visage says. “But at least working on it won’t give you leukemia. Ahem.”
Bonus: A gift for the Science Mom or Science Dad
After Mom and Dad have cleaned up the dirt from the herbarium, put away all the rocket-construction tools, and stepped on approximately eight million tiny Lego pieces, they deserves a chance to unwind, and they can do it with the Chemist’s Cocktail Set from ThinkGeek. Buying a set like this is cool, science-y, and much less likely to kill your parents than making your own cocktail set out of glassware poached from your school’s chemistry lab – just ask Madame Curie up there about her radioactive cookbooks.