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Science Gifts For Kids?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the explosives-always-go-over-well dept.

Science 368

beernutmark writes "I have two science-loving kids ages 7 and 9. My youngest knew Neil deGrasse Tyson's name at age 4. With the holidays coming up, I am looking to get them some quality science-related tools. Two items on the list are a quality microscope and/or a real rock-hounding kit. I am looking for any other gift suggestions for this year or future years (or even for younger kids for other readers) and hints on good sources."

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First Post.... (-1, Offtopic)

mortal-geek (1697010) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406230)

Mod me down boy!

Anonymous Coward (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406232)

Think Geek

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Munk (59689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406378)

Definitely agree with ThinkGeek. They have great stuff. I just ordered 3 things from them yesterday for various kids that I have to buy for (including my own).

Re:Anonymous Coward (0, Offtopic)

buswolley (591500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406506)

By kids, you mean your friends? Right? jk

Re:Anonymous Coward (3, Funny)

beernutmark (1274132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406678)

Ha. Nope they are mine (or at least I am told so). We tried natural parenting [xkcd.com] and then...

Re:Anonymous Coward (4, Informative)

arogier (1250960) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406510)

What ever kit or instruments you procure them for Christmas, accompany it with a good notebook and some durable pens. The experiment is the cool stuff, but the recording of the story of how you explain the consequences it the real value you can bring to early explorations of science. A real lab notebook with numbered and permanently bound pages for your young scientist to record their adventures, possibly from a university bookstore with a university logo on it may do something to increase its appeal. Comparisons to a Captain's log might help your sell, but saying its like a diary might hurt your case.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

inflamed (1156277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406744)

Wrong. I am a scientist and hate writing in my note book. I much prefer digital multimedia documentation of my experiments.

Re:Anonymous Coward (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406500)

I would have to agree. They have a very nice USB microscope that would allow your kids to take pictures and even movies of what they see. It's much more interactive than an ordinary microscope.

Matt

Re:Anonymous Coward (2, Informative)

TheCycoONE (913189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406504)

I agree Think Geek is a good place to go for ideas, but once you've found something check the websites of the neighborhood box stores. I've often found that I can find the same thing at Canadian Tire or some other shop for a lot less money and no wait.

Re:Anonymous Coward (4, Interesting)

andyring (100627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406688)

I had earlier versions of these:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3814337# [radioshack.com]

as a kid and learned a ton. Loved those kits!

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

eepoke (976885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406734)

Along the same lines, Snap Circuits are a little easier to work with, though less capable. I also had earlier versions of your link, and absolutely loved them.

Telescope (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406254)

If they Dig astronomy that is

Re:Telescope (5, Insightful)

middlemen (765373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406306)

And if you have a hot neighbor as well ;)

Re:Telescope (1)

global_diffusion (540737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406482)

Yes. This is perfect. You get the magic of the stars, planets and moon, as well as the fun of optics. This is a gift that will be used for years. Mod Parent Up!!!

Re:Telescope (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406494)

Seconding the telescope option. But don't do it if you're getting them a crappy one - it's easy to get discouraged with garbage. Do some research and don't get sucked in by marketing ploys advertising 99999999x magnification or whatever. Get a decent reflector with a useable aperture and good eyepieces.

And yes, IAAA (I am an astronomer).

Re:Telescope (1)

beernutmark (1274132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406656)

Agree about the quality telescope. In fact we already have a 10" Orion Dob that we love.

The point about quality is what really made me think about posting to /. A family member recently purchased a p.o.s. microscope which the oldest was super excited about but was used for exactly 1 hour before being put on the shelf never to be used again. I couldn't see s**t though it myself.

Re:Telescope (3, Informative)

atomistic (1678742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406694)

If you get a telescope for them, be sure to make it a decent reflector. One of the biggest ways people go wrong getting into stargazing is by getting a cheap telescope that is worse than a pair of binoculars. Not only is the result blurry, but you can't get enough light to see the fainter objects that are the most interesting. Contact your local astronomical society for a good deal on a used scope. You might even be able to get a mount for a digital camera so your kids can photograph what they see and send it to relatives or post online. A photo they take of the moon or Jupiter will really make them smile and be encouraged. If you get REALLY into it, you can check out some of the amateur research requests on AAVSO. :) But little steps at first.

Try sparkfun.com (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406262)

they have some cool kits.

Get 'Em a Dead Cat in a Box (4, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406264)

Maybe they'll grow up to be Quantum Physicists.

...or really, really disturbed...

Get them a box with no cat (4, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406388)

Maybe they'll grow up to be Quantum Physicists.

Goddammit, the deadness of a dead cat can be determined classically. Like with a stick, say.

Way to kill the kids' dreams.

Actually, the way physics has gotten so fucking esoteric, Schrodinger's cat is passe. What you do is get them a box with no cat in it. Then they can argue about whether there is a parallel box in the next county that does have a cat in it, or whether there is currently a dark, unobservable cat in the box. Or whether there is actually a box at all, or if we've invented the whole thing.

Before you know it, they'll come up with something so dumb they'll be offered tenure.

Re:Get them a box with no cat (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406462)

Before you know it, they'll come up with something so dumb they'll be offered tenure.

That the cat is a lie?

You'll never know which (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406538)

Until you look.

Re:Get 'Em a Dead Cat in a Box (1)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406578)

The point is that a live cat is put into the box...

Re:Get 'Em a Dead Cat in a Box (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406738)

I fail to understand your usage of the word 'or' in that context.

Lots of things (5, Interesting)

spribyl (175893) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406282)

Try

Think Geek
American Science and surplus.
HobbyTron(Ramsey)

Some gifts
Lego
      Mind Storms.
    Any thing with gears and wheels.
Lincoln logs
Erector Sets

Re:Lots of things (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406708)

while browsing for those links I also found Exploratorium [exploratorium.edu] (Perplexus [exploratorium.edu] looks good)

This is a dangerous question here (0, Offtopic)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406284)

I'd suggest some large caliber firearms, but I don't think you'll go for that. How about a real chemistry set? Add some extras that don't come with the kit. Or an electronics kit. Or do they still make those? Bah, just buy them guns. They'll be better off when the zombies come.

knowledge = danger (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406356)

Didn't you know, you can't have a real chemistry set anymore. Only terrorists would want to buy them. Are you trying to raise terrorists?

If you give them electronics, you're obviously trying to raise evil hackers.

If you give them a popular science biology book and some fruit flies to play with, obviously you're equipping them for making biological weapons.

Instead, you should get them a Nintendo and sit them in front of the TV like the good little sheep they should become.

Nintendo = danger (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406390)

Instead, you should get them a Nintendo and sit them in front of the TV like the good little sheep they should become.

Get them a Nintendo console and you may turn them into copyright infringers. Eventually, they'll want to cheat at the games, which leads to homebrew, which (in the console makers' opinion) leads to piracy.

Re:Nintendo = danger (1)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406420)

So it seems firearms are a safer bet? Hey, they can learn physics and chemistry at the same time!

Re:Nintendo = danger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406624)

Not to mention biology when things go awry!

Re:Nintendo = danger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406668)

And, if they're lucky, basic first aid, too!

A few are good... (3, Informative)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406288)

legos are good for modular design, infinite re-use--but you might stay away from the technical or specialty sets, as they tend to be more problematic and less re-usable; capsuela is good for basic gears and so on, and modularity; We also played with BASIC a bit at that age, IIRC. Oh, and Rocky's boots. You must get rocky's boots. Digital Logic for kids.

Some of these may have modern equivalents...

Re:A few are good... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406436)

Oh, and Rocky's boots. You must get rocky's boots. Digital Logic for kids.

That's available only for long-outdated platforms. You might have a better chance of getting Widget Workshop or KLogic running.

Bacteria kit (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406290)

Think Geek has a bacteria science kit that I thought looked fun. More for the >12 group. Particularly good if you are trying to get them to wash up more.

Re:Bacteria kit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406474)

Or just spent the $30 to rent them a hooker for an hour ... they'll get all the bateria they need

Kid's love uranium! (4, Funny)

ZuchinniOne (1617763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406292)

You can buy it here [unitednuclear.com]

You could help them build a processing plant to purify it and then eventually have your own little nuclear reactor. All the other kids in the neighborhood will be soooo jealous!

Re:Kid's love uranium! (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406660)

All the other kids in the neighborhood will be soooo jealous!

And Irradiated!

Re:Kid's love uranium! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406666)

True dat! That gift's the bomb!

Growing up... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406294)

I was always a fan of the sciences. I remember my first science experiment kit, complete with book showing how to set up various experiments and explaining why they were important.

But the one thing I always wanted was a telescope. What is more cool than observing the heavens? And kids don't necessarily need to look at stars when we have the moon right there for easy observations. Not to mention, its a tool that everyone can use together... think of it as another thing to use on a family night!

Re:Growing up... (0, Troll)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406382)

Especially for watching the hot neighbor undress. Real family fun there!

Re:Growing up... (4, Informative)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406592)

Don't just go out and get a telescope without a good book to go with it.

I've been using one of David Levy's books with my kids... something similar to:
David Levy's Guide to the Night Sky
that I found in the bargain bin some time ago. It has great introduction and background, plus points of interest to look for in every constellation. Much better than the rudimentary charts that come packaged with most telescopes.

Also, it recommends first starting with a good pair of binoculars before moving on to telescopes. Which are also more practical for virtually any other kind of natural sciences pursuit as well.

Plutonium (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406296)

Every kid loves plutonium. get some of that from the libians, they will be crying GREAT SCOTT christmas morning.

Actually that's not his name (2, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406298)

I'd never heard of him, but apparently his name is actually "Neil deGrasse Tyson".

And knowing the names of scientists is more to do with history than actual science.

[/complaining]

Re:Actually that's not his name (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406714)

He's a fairly popular astrophysicist who makes fairly regular appearances on the History channel's "Universe" series and has been on the Colbert Report more than any other guest [wikipedia.org] . He's also the director of the Hayden Planetarium and was one of the most vocal supporters of the position that Pluto should not be classified as a planet. He is also a member of the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry [wikipedia.org]

Fleshlight (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406304)

Because they are going to need it when they become linux users.

Give US some hints, dude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406312)

Just the word "science" is very very broad. If you want actual usable suggestion, I suggest you let us know what areas of science your kids actually like? Plants (botony)? Stars (astronomy)? Meth-labs (chemistry)? etc ... get the point?

Some ideas (3, Informative)

fliptout (9217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406322)

A crystal radio kit. A Radio Shack 101 experiments in one. A basic Stamp kit. Mindstorms. A chemistry set. Magnets. Rocket kit.

Even something more technical that a parent or grandparent would enjoy doing as a project together with the kid. I've got fond memories of designing circuits with my father, building things with my grandfather, etc.

Re:Some ideas (1)

ikedasquid (1177957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406596)

I had a Radio Shack 60 in 1 when I was 10. That thing changed my life! I literally played with it every day for years. Anecdotal evidence warning: I'm a electrical eng now. I don't think they are as straightforward now as they were back in the early 90s, regardless I have a 5 year old niece that will get one when she turns 9. Anyhow if you do go that route, RS also has a cheap book about basic electricity and electronics that is great for kids - the author's name is F. Mimms. It looks hand-written but it's super simple and has some circuits in it WITH explanations of how they work. Also, science picture encyclopedias are pretty inexpensive.

Electronics Set (3, Interesting)

emandres (857332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406336)

This isn't exactly astronomy related like Niel deGrass Tyson's stuff, but when I was a kid I got an electronics set, complete with a bread-board, several LED's, a rheostat, heaps and heaps of resistors and capacitors, and several other things having to do with digital and analog circuitry. That was one of the best Christmas presents I ever got, and still from time to time wish I had it to pull out and tinker with. I remember one time I probably could have burned the house down had I not smelled the melting plastic on the set. What happened was that I had learned at school how to make an electromagnet out of a battery, a coil of wire, and a nail. Well, I did the same thing with the set when I got home, but then left it on for about an hour. As you well may know, connecting the two terminals of a battery without any resistor can cause the batteries to overheat, and most likely rupture. I think I probably caught the thing just before the batteries broke, because they were very hot. Anyway, I'm rambling, but you get the idea: I learned to love tinkering with electronics as a kid, and now am majoring in Computer Science.

Re:Electronics Set (1)

Again (1351325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406630)

This isn't exactly astronomy related like Niel deGrass Tyson's stuff, but when I was a kid I got an electronics set, complete with a bread-board, several LED's, a rheostat, heaps and heaps of resistors and capacitors, and several other things having to do with digital and analog circuitry. That was one of the best Christmas presents I ever got, and still from time to time wish I had it to pull out and tinker with. I remember one time I probably could have burned the house down had I not smelled the melting plastic on the set. What happened was that I had learned at school how to make an electromagnet out of a battery, a coil of wire, and a nail. Well, I did the same thing with the set when I got home, but then left it on for about an hour. As you well may know, connecting the two terminals of a battery without any resistor can cause the batteries to overheat, and most likely rupture. I think I probably caught the thing just before the batteries broke, because they were very hot. Anyway, I'm rambling, but you get the idea: I learned to love tinkering with electronics as a kid, and now am majoring in Computer Science.

So that's what happened. I exploded a battery when I was a kid. Luckily no fire started and I wasn't in the room so I was safe. Of course, that battery that exploded was just a small watch battery but it made a pretty loud sound considering.

newtons laws are still good for practical purposes (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406340)

Get one of them a pan balance. learn about mass, density, gravity. Compare quantities of things. I'll bet it gets a fair amount of use.

Re:newtons laws are still good for practical purpo (3, Insightful)

CodeHog (666724) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406568)

And if things don't work out in the science field, they can use it to weigh their drugs.

buy them a bunch of smoke detectors (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406342)

and challenge them to make a working breeder reactor. I hear they do that sort of thing in the boy scouts.

Rubber vagina and a dildo (1, Funny)

middlemen (765373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406344)

Teaching the reproductive system is one of the most enjoyable experiences not to forget learning experiences. I know I enjoyed learning about the vagina and what my penis could do. ;)

Re:Rubber vagina and a dildo (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406434)

"Kids, I want you to be nice on the remainder of the trip to grandmas. And quit comparing your father's penis to your disturbingly large purple dildo".

Telescope (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406354)

The Galileoscope is a high-quality, low-cost telescope kit developed for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by a team of leading astronomers, optical engineers, and science educators. No matter where you live, with this easy-to-assemble, 50-mm (2-inch) diameter, 25- to 50-power achromatic refractor, you can see the celestial wonders that Galileo Galilei first glimpsed 400 years ago

priced at U.S. $20 each plus shipping

https://www.galileoscope.org/

Science toys/projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406360)

http://scitoys.com/ [scitoys.com]

After the Microscope and Rock Kit... (4, Funny)

jqweezy (1459231) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406362)

Get them self defense classes.

For Physics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406384)

A chronometer (stopwatch), Rangefinder (meter stick), and mass balance (scale) can help you do practically any laboratory for Newtonian Physics.

Re:For Physics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406486)

A kid could save up their allowance and get the watch or the meter stick, but a decent scale is Mom and Dad money. However, shelling out for a decent scale enables chemistry fun as well.

Snap Circuits (5, Informative)

CognitiveFusion (602570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406386)

Snap Circuit Kits make good introductions to electronics. Think circuitry LEGOs.

http://www.elenco.com/snapcircuits.html [elenco.com]

Re:Snap Circuits (4, Informative)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406520)

Completely Agree. My son has a set and loves it. It's far superior to the Radio Shack 200-in-1 kit that I had as a kid. Those used wires and springs, and were a total pain. This new set is a heck of a lot easier and just as entertaining.

Do they still make those "electronic project kits" (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406394)

Because I had one of those Radio Shack 150-in-one project kits and I played with that for years. I can't claim that it helped me in my digital logic and system design class, but still...

Re:Do they still make those "electronic project ki (1)

compumike (454538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406524)

I too had one of those as a kid -- the ones where you follow the book to connect the various spring terminals! While I might be able to go back and learn some more from it now, I can't really say I learned much from it at the time. It was very much focused on just following the step-by-step directions, with little emphasis on creativity / customization / concepts. So after finishing my Masters in EECS from MIT, I decided to build my own electronics kits for the "digital generation" [nerdkits.com] , with a tremendous focus on creativity / customization / concepts. Check us out :-)

Re:Do they still make those "electronic project ki (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406558)

They sure do, but they're much nicer now [electronickits.com] . My 9- and 8-year-old kids get the kit out, unprompted, to build stuff pretty often.

A few ideas... (1)

garg0yle (208225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406398)

Electronics/logic kits are good. Kits that allow the kids to make something and learn at the same time are good - like the "make your own chewing gun" or "make your own chocolate" kits. Bug-hunting (as in entomology, not Aliens/Starship Troopers) kits? A decent telescope and a night sky manual (or even an electronic starfinder)?

As for where to buy, that depends on where you are. Someone already mentioned ThinkGeek. If you're in Canada, Efston Science is a good place to shop, as is the "Scholar's Choice" chain of stores.

Another alternative is to eschew the pre-produced kits, get a good science book (hard to find, but they exist), and buy a few key components the kids would need to perform experiments in the book. The "Evil Genius" line of books can be spotty, but sometimes have interesting ideas.

HST (3, Informative)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406416)

I've had good luck and good service from http://www.hometrainingtools.com/ [hometrainingtools.com] Home Science Tools. I got presents for my nephews there this year, they have all sorts of fun kits and things, (including a very nice rockhound kit) and the prices seemed pretty competitive. Even ordering last week I got the stuff pretty quickly.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way, just a satisfied customer.

My fav sciency gifts as a kid: (1)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406422)

Some of my favs, in no particular order:
1) Chemistry set
2) Electronics set
3) Rocket kit (build and launch)
4) RC Plane kit (build and fly)
5) One really cool gift was a big kit with a toolbox, various wood, paint, and a book of all the different things you can build. Things like a wooden clock (it included the electronics part, you just built the face and painted it). A bird house.

Check out http://scientificsonline.com/ [scientificsonline.com] for more ideas

Mythbusters experiment sets (1)

bpfinn (557273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406426)

The Mythbusters exerpiment sets [thinkgeek.com] look like fun to me, but if your kids already know NdGT, the sets might be a little below their level.

Help them get started with electronics+programming (5, Informative)

compumike (454538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406428)

Whatever you do, find something where there's real teaching and interactivity and creative thinking going on -- not just polishing some rocks or a step-by-step Lego project. And furthermore, interacting with your child while they're using whatever science gift you pick is also extremely valuable.

Ages 7 and 9 may be a bit young... but we know that 11-year olds do well with getting introduced to electronics and programming, and the interaction that it offers with the physical world through various sensors and actuators. In our experience at NerdKits electronics kits [nerdkits.com] , our youngest customers tend to learn the fastest, because they are the most fearless! They're able to try building something, get something wrong, but just keep working at it until they succeed. Our various free video tutorials [nerdkits.com] help teach various electronics and programming concepts as well.

Here's an 11-year-old's NerdKits "Kid Review" in Make Magazine [make-digital.com] , or a reading by the author of the review [youtube.com] .

Challenge them a bit -- with a bit of guidance, they're capable of taking on more than you might think!

Re:Help them get started with electronics+programm (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406496)

Mod this up - I completely agree.

Even if they are too young to grasp the idea of programming, getting them going with electric motors and such circuitry you find in various toys, (Lego Technic comes to mind) will go a long way in leading them down pretty useful skills in the future.

Smart Ideas (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406446)

Give them what I'm giving my kids this year, a slide rule. They'l love it!

Re:Smart Ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406576)

A slide rule is the poor man's Curta.

American Science & Surplus (1)

molo (94384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406456)

Look for simplicity (1)

melansp (1517129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406464)

If you spent time explaining the history and mathematics behind certain concepts, something as simple as... - Wooden Tower of Hanoi - Rubik's Cube - Pegopolis - Sudoku, Kakuro, ... puzzle books

Eyeclops bionic eye (2, Informative)

nizo (81281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406470)

A decent microscope that you plug into your TV. The kids have had theirs for a year and still play with it all the time.

Uh, ask them? (2, Insightful)

snarfies (115214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406488)

Why are you asking Slashdot? Have you tried, like, asking THEM? I know you're nerds and all, but geez.

Don't overthink this (3, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406498)

Swiss army knife
Magnifying glass.
Soldering iron.

Not plastic (3, Insightful)

goober (120298) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406546)

Don't fall for anything made of plastic that says "Educational!" on the package. Science toys don't teach kids anything. Parents do! Look for something that you can do and learn together. Steer towards gifts that have wider applications, e.g. don't get a telescope, get binoculars! Don't get a microscope, get a hand magnifying glass! Don't get a nature DVD, get a bird book!

EE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406550)

If they're interested in electronics, those 120-in-1 kits that they used to sell at radio shack (and now sell at jameco and digikey) are invaluable.

Too late (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406552)

Seriously you are asking this question after Thanksgiving?

All the good stuff is sold out already.

Here Comes Science (2, Informative)

Brett Diamond (1266964) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406562)

You should check out They Might Be Giants' newest album "Here Comes Science" (a CD/DVD combo, available at Amazon for $13).

Chemistry Set! (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406586)

Like this old-fashioned one [instructables.com] !

Basic Lab Glassware Set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406588)

There are some cheap and solid sets around to help them begin setting up their first chemistry lab. It should provide a lot of fun, and it will spare your kitchen from basic scientific shenanigans.

The old 50 in 1 or 100 in 1 Electronics kit (1)

lunchlady55 (471982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406604)

It sparked my interest in all things electronic.

microscope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406626)

A microscope is a good gift but be prepared to spend $250 to $300 for a real student model. When I was a kid I had a metal toy microscope that was made in Germany. It really worked but they don't make those any more. The plastic things sold in toy stores are junk. Plastic wiggles too much. Mine even came with a mechanical slide stage, a necessity if you want to chase Paramecium around the slide. One of those will cost $40.

scitoys.com (1)

e3m4n (947977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406636)

http://scitoys.com/ [scitoys.com] lots of great activities and kits here

Simple, Fun, Clean (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406640)

A 7 year old should enjoy classic bits like gyroscope, prism, and magnets. The Levitron and ROMP (random oscillating magnetic pendulum) are inexpensive and fun.

Na plus a book (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406664)

Let's give all 12 year olds 1 lb of sodium metal, plus a short book explaining it.

The average IQ of our country's kids would double in one week!

how about (1)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406672)

subscription to slashdot ? that science enough for ya ?

maybe a robot kit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406674)

that way they will have at least one friend

Definitely a Chemistry Set (1)

Auction_God (1056590) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406684)

You can still get a reasonable chemistry set on e-bay. Any new ones don't have much more than litmus paper, baking powder, and other non-toxic stuff. You can find cooler stuff just digging around under the kitchen sink!

A Magazine? (1)

mim (535591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406696)

Engage the mind and the rest will follow. I loved Omni Magazine when I was a kid, but not sure if anything now comes quite close...maybe Popular Science or Wired, which might be a bit much unless your kids are precocious readers, but still wouldn't incorporate the full-spectrum of topics that Omni covered including really good sci-fi (not syfy!) and an amazing selection of original artwork.

I can't believe nobody has suggested this so far.. (1)

argyle77 (1656803) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406706)

In the spirit of "Uncle Tungsten", get them spectroscopes.
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