Making the Best of Science

What better way to start off a new year than by learning about art, science, and building?

Just Add Milk Science and Art Kit (Griddly Games)

griddly just add milkWhile it’s definitely possible to do some of the experiments in this kit by adding nothing more than milk, if you want to do them all, you’ll need a few other items from your cupboard, including glue, a bottle of cola, white vinegar, and baking soda. Once you’ve got all your ingredients together, you’re ready to start learning about the science of art (or is it the art of science?). You’ll experiment with natural reactions (such as what happens when you drop food coloring into milk and then add a drop of soap), watch how colors explode, and create tie-die-type designs that you can turn into mouse pads and other real works of art. $15.95. Ages 5+ (adult supervision recommended).

Just Add Glue (Griddly Games)

griddly just add glueLike Just Add Milk, this clever science kit comes with almost everything you need to perform a variety of artistic science experiments. The focus of this chemistry-based kit is on liquids and polymers and creating putty that you can poke, roll, bounce, squish, and sculpt into a variety of objects and craft projects, including crystals and window clings. Just Add Glue will truly stretch your imagination. Under $25. For ages 6+ (adult supervision recommended)

Forensic Science (Little Passports)

little passports forensic scienceThanks to those CSI TV shows, just about everyone knows (or thinks they do) about forensic science. But there’s a lot more to it than solving murders and catching bad guys (which real CSI techs don’t do). Using the ingredients in this kit, plus a few additional items from home, you and your young CSI sleuths will learn about fingerprints, handwriting analysis, and spatter science (looking at drops of liquid to determine how high they were dropped from and whether and how fast the person that dropped them was moving). But best of all, you’ll actually be able to extract DNA—which you can see and touch!—from a vegetable or piece of fruit. It’s fascinating, engaging, and wonderfully educational. Prices vary. Ages 9+.

Strawbees Inventor Kit (Strawbees)

strawbeesStrawbees isn’t just another building system. Strawbees are special connectors that let you connect straws and cardboard to build anything you can think of, from a pixie to a robot. But in our view, what makes Strawbees so unique is that they’ve created engaging, challenging projects for a variety of age groups, from kindergarteners through teens. The company has also focused on the education market and has lesson plans and activities designed to teach a variety of STEAM topics (using Strawbees, of course) in the classroom. The Inventor Kit is their mid-range product; smaller and larger kits are available. All include Strawbees connectors, straws, and instructions for how to build a dazzling array of structures. Prices range from $30 to Over $100. Ages 5+.

Space Racers (Laurence King)

space racersSpace Racers contains everything you need to press out and make sturdy paper models of 10 rockets (eight are historically accurate and range from the earliest rockets to the futuristic, two are imaginary). In addition to the instructions, there’s a separate, fact-filled booklet (by Isabel Thomas) that explores rocket science and space exploration. If you’re fascinated by space, rocket ships, and the science that makes it all possible, you’ll love this kit. Under $19. Ages 7+.

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