Toys come and go, but science is forever. Are you looking to inspire a little intellectual curiosity in your kids along with the usual Christmas magic? It can be hard to shop for fun science-inspired gifts: chemistry sets these days are sad, neutered rip-offs, and of course our old friend Barbie has been known to let us down when it comes to science girl-power. Let the official Science Mom gift guide help you out, with ten ideas on how to give your kids the gift of ‘Eureka!’ this Christmas.
1. Just plain Legos
These are increasingly hard to find – most of the boxes on the Lego aisle at the toy store are themed building kits revolving around superheroes, Harry Potter, or The Hobbit. Skip the directions-included, no-imagination-required themed sets and go for the plain old bucket of Legos, which has endless building possibilities and just might accidentally inspire some creativity in your child.
Unless your kid really likes looking at blurred smears, you’ll probably want to avoid cheap plastic models and save up for a sturdier model – look for the words “rack and pinion” in product descriptions to make sure you’re getting a microscope that’ll be easy to focus. Throw in some blank slides, too, because I’d be willing to bet your nine-year-old’s fingerprints, boogers, and tongue-print will be far more fascinating to her than anything that might come mounted as part of a standard slide set.
3. Minimalist ‘Women in Science‘ t-shirt
Artist Hydrogene created a line of minimalist designs showcasing the groundbreaking ideas of female scientists, including Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, Rachel Carson, and Rosalind Franklin. You can get these beautiful designs printed on t-shirts (including kids’ sizes) as well as posters, and I have to stop looking at these now before I go on a Pokemon-style gotta-catch-’em-all rampage.
4. Root Vue
For the budding young botanist, why not give the gift of a green Christmas? Root Vue is probably the best DIY grow-kit I’ve seen, because it lets your little gardener take a peek at what’s happening under the soil – a trick that should help prevent him from uprooting those tiny carrots to see if they’re ready yet.
5. Giant Microbes
Giant Microbes are adorable plush models of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, human body cells, and all kinds of other creepy crawlies. (Depending on how old your child is, you may want to steer clear of the selection of venereal diseases.) Each of the 50-odd different options comes with a card explaining its biological background, and they are equal parts cute and curiosity-sating.