There are so many science kits for kids on the market, it’s hard to separate the ones that are educational and fun from the ones that are duds. Here are my picks for the top science kits on the market for 2016. I’ve added links so you can compare prices for the kits online, but many of these sets are also sold at stores, like Toys R Us, Michaels, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
Tips for Choosing a Good Science Kit for Kids
- To some extent, you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean an inexpensive kit is necessarily horrible. Usually, price is a big indication of how many uses you’ll get from a kit or the quantity of material. For more advanced kits, this indicates some pricey chemicals may have been used.
- Check to see what materials you need to supply. This also ties in with price. Some science kits keep costs down by expecting you to bring some common household materials to the project. If you have these materials, great! If not, look for an all-inclusive type of set.
- Certain brands are more reliable than others. Kits made by Smithsonian, Thames & Kosmos, and Steve Spangler are sure to offer fun as well as education. If you don’t recognize a brand name, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad science kit, but it’s a good idea to read reviews to help you decide whether the product offers what you need.
Overall Science Projects Top Pick – Smithsonian Mega Science Lab
What I like about this kit is that it offers something for everyone. You can build a chemical volcano, grow crystals, make an Earth model, explore the weather, dig for dino bones, and explore microscopic science. Smithsonian also offers each of these projects separately, but the mega kit is an excellent choice for the well-rounded young scientist. I’ve had great experiences with all of their kits because the instructions are reliable and easy to follow and there is a lot of good information about the why and how, not just steps to follow.
Best Chemistry Kits – Thames and Kosmos Chemistry Kit
Thames and Kosmos makes chemistry kits for the kid (or adult) who wants to perform real chemistry experiments. All of their kits are good. The difference between the kits is the amount of materials and lab equipment included. Note these kits are not suitable for young children. This is real science, targeted to the pre-teen, teen, and adult crowd. If you’re looking for a true chemistry kit, these are the people who make them. I bought one of their higher-end kits for my own home chemistry lab. There are lots of experiments you can do!
Top Science Kit for Girls – Spa’mazing Science Kit
Sure, all the other kits are great for girls, too. This is the kit my science-oriented daughter recommends, because it combines science with fun and useful bath products. This is a great kit for a slumber party or a get-together with friends. It’s made by Scientific Explorer. I’ve had good experiences with their kits. You get enough materials to make lots of fun stuff, plus you learn how ingredients combine to make the products. Another excellent science kit targeted for girls is a perfume kit. These sets are also wonderful, but may cause problems if someone in the house is sensitive to fragrances. The spa kit is easier on the nose.
I’ve got more kits to add to this post, but other duties call. Look for updates! I’m especially psyched about a glowing crystal set I’ve tried.