Science toys help kids become interested in science, while also being a source of entertainment. They can plant the seeds for future scientific exploration and even a career in the sciences. In addition to being very educational, the right toy can mesmerize a child for hours as they learn how it works and figure out the nuances of its operation. It can definitely help give them that all important head start in school as they begin their studies in science.
Science based toys are a great way to teach kids about basic scientific principles. The most interesting and engaging science toys are usually based on principles in the branch of science known as physics. Physics typically involves physical motion and/or physical interaction between objects in an observable way. Hence, physics based toys are a great way for the visual learner to understand physics.
Fortunately, I have done much of the investigative work for you and have made available many different toy listings at your finger tips. I describe how these toys work and include videos showing their operation. All you have to do is look at the different toys and find the one that appeals to you or your child. You can even show the videos of the different toys to your child and let him or her tell you which one they would like to have.
The science toys listed here are primarily physics based and altogether they enable kids of all ages to learn a lot about physics. They are really cool toys! And if you're a teacher, they are great for science classroom demonstrations.
I chose science toys which readily show a specific physical process, or processes, at work. They are fun toys to look at and play with for hours, and many of the toys are already very popular among kids. They might even be the perfect gift for those kids that are "hard to buy for".
A brief description of the science toys is given below, along with the main concepts that the toys illustrate. To learn more about these toys click on the links below.
A plastic bird that is balanced by its beak (Main Concept: Center of gravity)
A very lightweight toy plane made of balsa wood. Fun to throw around and watch it fly (Main Concept: Aerodynamics)
An object that returns to you after it's thrown (Main Concept: Aerodynamics)
A tower that you create in which a falling ball travels down though various physical obstacles, of your design, before reaching the bottom (Main Concepts: Geometry and mechanics)
Allow you to see the color spectrum from different light sources. It can really enhance a fireworks experience (Main Concept: Optics)
A plastic bird which dips forward and back due to the action of an expanding liquid (Main Concept: Thermodynamics)
A light that is turned on by a hand cranked generator. The faster you crank it, the more it lights up (Main Concepts: Electricity and magnetism)
A spinning disk which gains speed the more it falls (Main Concept: Mechanics)
A "magic" stick which levitates objects (Main Concept: Static Electricity)
Gives you the temperature of the room using bulbs suspended in a liquid inside a tube, which move up or down depending on the room temperature (Main Concepts: Density and buoyancy)
Washers can be made to spin continuously around a big ring, just by turning the ring a certain way (Main Concepts: Gyroscopic effect and friction)
Demonstrates a liquid that boils using only the heat of your hand (Main Concept: The boiling of liquids)
A large sphere that folds down to a much smaller compact size (Main Concept: Geometry)
This is one of the oldest science toys. It creates a beautiful and mesmerizing display of images created by the reflection of light, using multiple mirrors (Main Concept: Optics)
A device in which a spinning top floats above a magnet. It looks like an anti-gravity machine! (Main Concepts: Gyroscopic effect and magnetism)
Creates an image that looks completely real, but is not (Main Concept: Optics)
Moon In My Room
This is a fun nightlight designed to look like the moon. It lights up to show the different phases of the moon (Main Concept: Astronomy)
Consists of a frame and colliding metal balls that demonstrate momentum and energy transfer (Main Concepts: Momentum and energy)
A tube containing slow moving liquid which oozes down in a mesmerizing fashion (Main Concept: Fluid viscosity)
Creates colorful filaments of electricity inside a glass sphere (Main Concepts: Electricity and magnetism)
A clock which runs using electricity generated with potatoes (Main Concept: Electrochemistry)
Separates white light into its component colors, similar to a rainbow (Main Concept: Refraction of light)
Uses the light of the sun to spin vanes (Main Concept: Electromagnetic radiation)
Rainbow In My Room
A nightlight which shines rainbow light onto the wall of a room. Looks very cool (Main Concept: Optics)
You give this a spin, it slows down and then spins in the other direction (Main Concept: Mechanics)
Salt Water Fuel Cell Car
You place a drop of salt water in this toy car and it runs (Main Concept: Fuel cells)
This is one of those science toys that everyone has heard of! It's a flexible spring which can go down a flight of stairs, or appear to levitate (Main Concept: Waves)
An air filled bag heated up by the sun, which floats in air (Main Concept: Buoyancy)
You give it a spin and it keeps going and going, without falling over, appearing to defy gravity (Main Concept: Gyroscopic effect)
Step on an air filled bladder and the resulting air pressure shoots a rocket up at high speed (Main Concept: Air pressure)
Creates a realistic thunder sound using a hollow tube closed on one end, and a flexible spring (Main Concept: Sound waves)
A flapping mechanical bird that uses a wound up rubber band to power its flight (Main Concept: Aerodynamics)
A spinning top that, when spun, flips upside down and continues spinning (Main Concept: Gyroscopic effect)
Creates a vortex inside a bottle, using water. It looks like a tornado (Main Concept: Rotation of liquids)
A wheel which rotates on a pivoted base without falling down due to gravity (Main Concept: Gyroscopic effect)
A vehicle that can float and move around on a cushion of air (Main Concept: Air pressure)
Magnifies very small objects so you can see them clearly (Main Concept: Optics)
Allows you to see far away objects that you can't normally see (Main Concept: Optics)
A ball that emits colorful lights and makes eerie alien sounds when the circuit is closed using your body (Main Concept: Electrical circuits)
Uses compressed air and water to launch a bottle rocket straight up (Main Concept: Newton's Third Law)
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