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Best Overall: Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit at Amazon
"Lets kids eight and up build a series of moving machines that can be set off in complex chain reactions, teaching children about physics."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Snap Circuits Electronics Discovery Kit at Walmart
"Comes with 30 color-coded circuit components that kids can easily snap together to create real electrical systems."
Best STEM: The Original Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow at Amazon
"Children will have a blast seeing how high they can send their rockets...learning about concepts like gravity, force and trajectory."
"Ideal for children eight and up, and it includes everything they’ll need to transform ugly rocks into beautiful treasures."
Best Lab Set: Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Set at Amazon
"This 12-piece set includes essential science tools like a beaker, magnifying glass, funnel, tweezers and test tubes."
Best for Outdoors: Nature Bound Bug Bucket Habitat Nature Set at Amazon
"This Nature Set will surely be a hit with children who are fascinated by bugs and other creepy-crawly critters."
Best Telescope: Gskyer Travel Refractor Telescope for Kids at Amazon
"Comes with multiple eyepieces, a tripod, and a carrying case, so you can easily take it camping or to different locations."
Best Microscope: Educational Insights GeoSafari Microscope Set at Amazon
"In addition to a kid-friendly microscope with up to 600x magnification, the kit includes tweezers, petri dishes, empty slides and vials."
Best for Dinosaur Lovers: National Geographic Dinosaur Dig Kit at Amazon
"Kids will feel like real paleontologists as they carefully excavate objects from their brick, each of which includes three real fossils."
Best DIY: Mega Crystal Growing Lab at Amazon
"Eight different colors of growing powder and eight rock seeds, as well as four growing chambers and a light-up crystal display stand."
Best Overall: Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit
This kit is perfect for kids who love LEGOs. The Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit lets kids eight and up build a series of moving machines that can be set off in complex chain reactions, teaching children about physics.
The Chain Reactions Craft kit includes directions and materials to build 10 different “machines,” including a seesaw and ramp, a falling hammer and elevator ramps. Kids will learn about physics as they assemble the various machines, then arrange them to complete a desired action, such as tossing a wrapper in the trash, ringing a bell, and more. It might sound complicated, but the detailed instruction manual provides lots of helpful tips and tricks, as well as explanations about the science behind each machine.
It’s worth noting that this toy is best for kids who already have a collection of LEGOs, as many of the projects require additional blocks.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit
This award-winning toy is designed to teach kids eight and older about electrical circuits as they complete more than 100 different projects. The Snap Circuits Jr. Electronics Discovery Kit will keep young inventors entertained for hours with its easy-to-use circuits, which explains why it has more than 4,000 5-star reviews!
The Snap Circuits Electronics Discovery Kit comes with 30 color-coded circuit components that kids can easily snap together to create real electrical systems. There’s no soldering or tools required—just snap the pieces onto the plastic base and they’re good to go! The kit’s manual includes dozens of fun projects for kids to tackle, and if they get it right, they can light up a police siren, create a musical doorbell and much more.
Another great thing about the Snap Circuits Jr. Kit is that upgrade packs are available for even more electric exploration! Because it grows with kids, this toy could very well be a household staple for years to come.
Best STEM: The Original Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow
The Original Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow is so much fun that kids won’t even realize they’re learning. With this toy, children ages three and up will explore STEM concepts like physics as they launch glow-in-the-dark rockets high in the air.
The Stomp Rocket Jr. is easy to assemble and even easier for kids to master. All they have to do is run, jump, and stomp on the launch pad to send the glowing foam rockets flying into the sky—up to 100 feet!
Children will have a blast seeing how high they can send their rockets, and all the while, they’ll be learning about concepts like gravity, force and trajectory. Who knew learning STEM skills could be so fun and interactive?
Best Retro: National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit
Some toys are simply classics, and rock tumblers definitely qualify. The National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler is just like the one you used when you were young, as it turns rough stones into smooth, shiny gems using grit.
This Rock Tumbler kit is ideal for children eight and up, and it includes everything they’ll need to transform ugly rocks into beautiful treasures. The tumbler itself has an automatic shut-off timer and a noise-reducing barrel, and the kit includes rough gemstones to get kids started, four polishing grits, jewelry fastenings, and instructions.
Kids will love seeing how jagged rocks transform, and they have everything they need to turn their favorite pieces into jewelry! Once they’ve used up the rocks included in the kit, they can explore their backyard for more, keeping them occupied for hours.
Best Lab Set: Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Activity Set
Kids will feel like mad scientists with this activity set. The Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Activity Set has everything children four and up need to conduct exciting at-home experiments and learn all about chemistry.
This 12-piece set includes essential science tools like a beaker, magnifying glass, funnel, tweezers and test tubes. Every piece is designed for little hands and durable enough for playtime. The kit also includes 10 activity cards with beginner experiments like mixing colors and examining insects. Youngsters will have a blast donning their safety goggles and conducting their very own scientific investigations, all while learning essential science processes and principles.
Best for Outdoors: Nature Bound Bug Bucket Habitat Nature Set
This Nature Set will surely be a hit with children who are fascinated by bugs and other creepy-crawly critters. Kids ages three and up can use the Nature Bound Bug Bucket Habitat Nature Set to explore their backyard, catching and examining bugs up close.
The 7-piece set includes a bug bucket, tweezers, tongs, a net and a magnifying glass. With these tools at their disposal, children can catch all sorts of bugs without touching them and safely store them for observation. Use the magnifying glass to take a closer look at insects, or learn about different kinds of bugs from the included activity booklet.
There’s no better way to learn about nature than with this hands-on kit—the only problem you’ll have is stopping kids from bringing bugs into the house!
Best Telescope: Gskyer Travel Refractor Telescope for Kids
There’s a huge universe out there, and with the Gskyer Travel Refractor Telescope, children can get a closer look at what’s going on in the sky. This entry-level telescope lets young scientists stargaze or bird watch, and we bet their parents won’t mind playing with it, either!
The Gskyer Travel Refractor Telescope is specially designed for students, and it’s easy to put together, even if you know nothing about telescopes. The telescope comes with multiple eyepieces, a tripod, and a carrying case, so you can easily take it camping or to different locations.
This cool astronomy gadget is easy to use, too. Simply adjust the focusing tube to bring objects into focus. Plus, there’s an optical coating on the lens to protect kids' eyes. Thanks to its beginner-friendly features, the Gskyer Travel Refractor Telescope is an affordable gift option for young scientists.
Best Microscope: Educational Insights GeoSafari 48-Piece Microscope Set
As kids start learning about biology and chemistry, chances are they’ll become curious about what different objects are made of. There’s no better way to help them learn and explore than with their very own microscope, which is why the GeoSafari MicroPro Microscope Kit makes a wonderful gift.
This 48-piece set is best for children eight and up, as it lets them get a closer look at, well, anything! In addition to a kid-friendly microscope with up to 600x magnification, the kit includes tweezers, petri dishes, empty slides and vials. Plus, there are even a few prepared slides with cool specimens to get kids started!
Overall, the MicroPro Microscope Kit is an engaging, hands-on way to boost STEM skills. Don’t worry about kids getting bored, either, as the kit comes with a guide including several fun activities to encourage them to explore.
Best for Dinosaur Lovers: National Geographic Dinosaur Dig Kit
You don’t have to travel across the world to excavate dinosaur fossils. With the National Geographic Dinosaur Dig Kit, children over six can dig for real dinosaur remains while they learn all about archaeology.
The Dinosaur Dig Kit comes with a “digging brick,” as well as digging tools, a magnifying glass, and a learning guide. Kids will feel like real paleontologists as they carefully excavate objects from their brick, each of which includes three real fossils. Once they’ve separated out the fossils, children will be able to identify their discoveries using the learning guide.
Bottom line? Young dino lovers or aspiring paleontologists will love this kit, which is sure to get them excited about science and history.
Best DIY: Mega Crystal Growing Lab
The only thing cooler than growing crystals is growing multi-colored crystals! The Mega Crystal Growing Lab, designed for kids six and up, teaches about chemistry and crystal formation through hands-on experiments.
The Mega Crystal Growing Lab has everything kids need to grow beautiful crystals in fun colors like blue, green, purple and orange. They’ll get eight different colors of growing powder and eight rock seeds, as well as four growing chambers and a light-up crystal display stand. The STEM learning guide walks children through the crystal-growing process, and while they wait for their own rocks to form, they can examine the five real crystals—quartz, rose quartz, fluorite, calcite, and amethyst—that come with the lab.
This hands-on kit will undoubtedly get kids excited about science, and they’ll love putting their best colorful crystals on display with the included light-up stand.