**UPDATE: to see how we are enjoying some of these science toys in the New Year, click here**
Do you have a budding scientist at home? I have a couple at my house, and I love to find fun and “secretly educational” toys and activities for Christmas gifts! Most of the items I have listed on this post have been tested and approved by myself and my two little scientists at home.
For reference, my children are 7 and 8 years old, and my preschool science students range in age from 2.5 to 5 years old. All gifts listed are recommended for ages 3 and up, unless otherwise stated. Use your judgement, you know your child best! Let’s start with the stocking…
**Although all of these science toys are designed for use by children, adult supervision is needed for safety and to ensure that young scientists get the most out of their new toys!**
10 Super Science Stocking Stuffers
Nature Sand Dinosaur Fossil
The Nature Sand Dinosaur Fossil is a miniature version of my son’s Dinosaur Dig. After your child has used the provided tools to dig out the dinosaur fossils, they can reconstruct their own dinosaur skeleton. (Ages 4+)
Your child can dissect a sanitary owl pellet which contains the skeletal remains of an owl meal. There is a bone chart included, so your child can identify the bones. Both of my children dissected owl pellets at school, and were fascinated. My son has begged for another pellet to dissect at home! (Ages 5+)
Drop a spider ball in water and watch as many multicolored balls burst out of the green sac and grow up to 100x their size (perhaps water beads?). Okay, I am intrigued- I purchased 2 sets for my kids’ stockings. Looking forward to watching these in action!
Hatching Dinosaur Eggs
Too busy to make your own dinosaur eggs? Try these! When placed in water, a baby dinosaur hatches from its egg and then grows 10x its original size. There are also informational cards about each dinosaur.
We have had HEXBUGS at our house for many years. They provide hours of entertainment- just make sure you purchase extra batteries, we learned that lesson the hard way. This year, I am buying the HEXBUG Aquabot for extra fun water play.
Color Bath Dropz
Fizzy bath time, plus rainbow colors? Count me in! Not only can you explain to your child about the chemical reaction making the bath drops fizz (read this – it is the same chemical reaction as the erupting dinosaur eggs), but you can work together to mix colors and create new ones! I am buying these bath drops for my kids this year – especially for those days when dirty kids don’t feel up to taking their bath!
Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set
These tweezers, scoopers, and droppers build fine motor skills, strengthen hands for handwriting, and are perfect for scientific exploration!
Play doh is wonderful for many types of imaginative play. It is also excellent for fossil making! (Ages 2+)
Mess-free bubble fun! Impress your kids with these awesome indoor bubble activities. (Ages 2+)
There are many ways to experiment with water beads, and they are an amazing sensory experience. (Ages 4+)
5 Big Science Gifts
We have several different sets of Magformers magnets at our house. They have held up beautifully over the past 5 years, and are still played with every week. I bring our Magformers magnets to my preschool science class during the magnet unit, and the Magformers are easily one of the most popular things we do all year long in preschool science!
My son is a big fan of rocks and minerals. He has an entire bag of geodes (plus some on display) that he broke open on Christmas last year. He has already requested more geodes this year. It is really amazing to see the beauty hiding within a seemingly ugly grey rock!
I have already purchased 2 big containers of insta-snow for my children and for my preschool class. Such a cool sensory experience for when the children are very anxious to play in the snow, and the weather is not cooperating. Or for the times when Mom would rather stay inside with a hot cup of coffee while watching her children play in the snow! (Ages 4+)
Mind-Blowing Science Kit
The Mind-Blowing Science kit was the first science kit in our house. The science experiments range from erupting a color-changing volcano to growing colorful, jiggly crystals. Kids learn about basic principles behind the science including the difference between acids and bases, and how to use a test tube and pipette. I still use the provided test tubes almost every week for fun science experiments! (Ages 6+)
GeoSafari Lab Set
Fantastic introduction to scientific exploration with this 6-piece, animal-themed science set. Fun animal-shaped scientific tools introduce preschoolers to science, and 10 hands-on activity cards offer simple experiment ideas using ingredients found in your kitchen or backyard! I do not yet own this kit, but it is on my wish list.
**If you want to check out my top 5 magical gifts, click here!
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