Science toys, for the
discoverer in your child.
Science. It has fascinated, intrigued, mesmerized, amazed, and wowed generations.
Science toys do that with today's kids. There are so many amazing toys available today that if you are willing to invest a little time to look around, you'll be amazed at the size and the variety of the offering.
Choosing the right science toys can be very rewarding as you watch your child's eyes light up at the cool experiments and learn about the world we live in while having fun. They can make a huge difference in how your child perceives the world and the concept of learning. Properly chosen toys can do just that. They make learning fun.
So how do you go about choosing the right one? There are a few things to consider.
Science toy for kid. The way to go.
Picking the right ones can be a daunting task. Reading the back of the boxes won't help much if you're not familiar with science yourself.
In fact, reading 10 boxes on similar themes will probably get you more confused as they all claim to be the best.
And the fact is it's very hard to pin point "the best science toys" simply because everyone's reason for its purchase will be different. We'll cover more of this a bit later on.
What shouldn't I buy?
I really don't like to use the word "never", but I must in this case. Never, ever buy a toy only based on the salesperson's recommendations. It's not a matter of their knowledge or sincerity.
You must buy the right toy for your child. The toy must fit his/her learning style, current knowledge level, interests, play style (e.g., gentle vs. aggressive, etc...) and other individual factors.
We'll cover some of these below.
On that note, let's move onto seeing some of the different types of science toys available on the market today.
Your local educational toy store may have different categories, but some general ones include:
- Crystals: Gaining in popularity in recent years.
- Light: Prisms, construction flashlight, etc...
- Sound: Listening devices, electronic sound boards, etc...
- Life study: Charts, books, simple experiments, bug catchers, ant farms, etc...
- Outdoor: Bugs, plants, environmental, etc... (See this site for good information on outdoor and nature)
- Models: Human body, Solar system, etc...
- Optical effects: 3D holographic images (this one always gets great reaction), light wands, etc...
- Spy kits: Listening devices, small telescopes, sound alarm, motion alarm, voice recorders, voice changer, forensic kits, finger print kits, secret messages, etc...
- Space: Books, models, rockets (outdoor use only), etc...
- Volcano: Usually uses baking soda and vinegar. This will need some cleaning up.
- Chemistry: Simple chemical reactions, kits, home experiments, etc...
- Vehicles: Kits on making and understanding vehicles, models, etc...
- Flight: Kits designed to teach the 4 forces of flight (drag, thrust, lift, gravity) possibly with simple experiments.
- Electricity: Kits with simple experiments on electricity.
- Magnetism: Kits with simple experiments on magnetism.
- Dig kits: Blocks of sand grains or plaster with dinosaur bones, shark teeth, buried treasures, arrow heads, and others meant to be dug out or excavated by the children. Some, especially the dinosaur bones, might offer multiple steps including, building and painting for increased play value.
For your consideration...
Before you go shopping for science toys, have a read through below and ask yourself some 'discovery' questions. Be honest with yourself and you'll have a better chance at ending up with a winning toy that both you and your child will enjoy.
Until recently, science toys were not best known for their durability. Some were built to mimic their 'grown up' counterparts and nothing more. It wasn't too unusual to hear of these toys breaking within days or weeks of usage.
But in the recent years, toy manufacturers have become increasingly aware of their shortcomings and have eliminated such worrisome issues. Most well chosen toys, just like any others, will stand the test of time and even be durable enough to be passed on from the older sibling to the younger siblings.
Like the durability issue, this is something that has seen significant improvements in the recent years. More and more science toys are trying to focus more on the 'toy' part of the equation, leading to multiple uses for the given toy.
But of course, having multiple uses is not always the best thing or the right thing. Sometimes, a science toy needs to be just one thing and one thing only. One such example is a telescope or a microscope. To try and make these into multiple use toys will either increase the cost too much or end up bringing down their quality.
Theme or topic
Don't expect the science toys section to cover all areas of science. Some areas don't lend themselves too well to toys and some areas are just too advanced to have toys explain their concepts. Keep in mind of your child's level, interest and the fact that you are looking for toys, not hardcore scientific equipments.
Simple put, this means how much a particular toy excites the child. The more WOW factor it has, the more attention it will receive from a child.
Why is this important enough for me to mention here? It's because typically, a toy with more WOW factor will get more use out of them. Moreover, these toys will be received with more enthusiasm by the children. And that's a good thing. In fact, having a child enthused about a toy can make all the difference in the world.
That's why it's so important to find out the child's interests before shopping for a this kind of toy. Most children like imaginative toys and outdoor toys, but science toys have a much more selective audience. To get the most for your purchase, you need to have a fairly clear idea of what will engage and motivate your child.
This isn't much of an issue these days, but I've seen some toys on rare occasions that were made to be one time use only. These were mostly in the form of experiments that needed special materials that wasn't reusable.
Now, more often than not, you will see that most manufacturers include at the very least extra pieces for repeated use of the toy. In most cases, the experiments or toys will be reusable or are designed to work with common household items.
I hope this has helped you in clarifying your goal in terms of finding the right science toys for your child. Have fun with your... I mean your child's science toys.
"education at play"
Return from Science toys to BuddingScholars homepage