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Science Toys

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.

small picture of balancing bird Balancing Bird

A plastic bird that is balanced by its beak (Main Concept: Center of gravity)

small picture of balsa glider Balsa Glider

A very lightweight toy plane made of balsa wood. Fun to throw around and watch it fly (Main Concept: Aerodynamics)

small picture of boomerang Boomerang

An object that returns to you after it's thrown (Main Concept: Aerodynamics)

small picture of chaos tower Chaos Tower

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)

small picture of diffraction glasses Diffraction Glasses

Allow you to see the color spectrum from different light sources. It can really enhance a fireworks experience (Main Concept: Optics)

small picture of drinking bird Drinking Bird

A plastic bird which dips forward and back due to the action of an expanding liquid (Main Concept: Thermodynamics)

small picture of dynamo torch Dynamo Torch

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)

small picture of eulers disk Euler's Disk

A spinning disk which gains speed the more it falls (Main Concept: Mechanics)

small picture of fly stick Fly Stick

A "magic" stick which levitates objects (Main Concept: Static Electricity)

small picture of galileo thermometer Galileo Thermometer

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)

small picture of gyro ring Gyro Ring

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)

small picture of hand boiler Hand Boiler

Demonstrates a liquid that boils using only the heat of your hand (Main Concept: The boiling of liquids)

small picture of hoberman sphere Hoberman Sphere

A large sphere that folds down to a much smaller compact size (Main Concept: Geometry)

small picture of kaleidoscope Kaleidoscope

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)

small picture of levitron Levitron

A device in which a spinning top floats above a magnet. It looks like an anti-gravity machine! (Main Concepts: Gyroscopic effect and magnetism)

small picture of mirascope Mirascope

Creates an image that looks completely real, but is not (Main Concept: Optics)

small picture of moon in my room 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)

small picture of newtons cradle Newton's Cradle

Consists of a frame and colliding metal balls that demonstrate momentum and energy transfer (Main Concepts: Momentum and energy)

small picture of ooze tube Ooze Tube

A tube containing slow moving liquid which oozes down in a mesmerizing fashion (Main Concept: Fluid viscosity)

small picture of plasma ball Plasma Ball

Creates colorful filaments of electricity inside a glass sphere (Main Concepts: Electricity and magnetism)

small picture of potato clock Potato Clock

A clock which runs using electricity generated with potatoes (Main Concept: Electrochemistry)

small picture of prism Prism

Separates white light into its component colors, similar to a rainbow (Main Concept: Refraction of light)

small picture of radiometer Radiometer

Uses the light of the sun to spin vanes (Main Concept: Electromagnetic radiation)

small picture of rainbow in my room Rainbow In My Room

A nightlight which shines rainbow light onto the wall of a room. Looks very cool (Main Concept: Optics)

small picture of rattleback Rattleback

You give this a spin, it slows down and then spins in the other direction (Main Concept: Mechanics)

small picture of salt water fuel cell car Salt Water Fuel Cell Car

You place a drop of salt water in this toy car and it runs (Main Concept: Fuel cells)

small picture of a slinky Slinky

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)

small picture of solar bag Solar Bag

An air filled bag heated up by the sun, which floats in air (Main Concept: Buoyancy)

small picture of spinning top Spinning Top

You give it a spin and it keeps going and going, without falling over, appearing to defy gravity (Main Concept: Gyroscopic effect)

small picture of stomp rocket Stomp Rocket

Step on an air filled bladder and the resulting air pressure shoots a rocket up at high speed (Main Concept: Air pressure)

small picture of thunder tube Thunder Tube

Creates a realistic thunder sound using a hollow tube closed on one end, and a flexible spring (Main Concept: Sound waves)

small picture of tim bird Tim Bird

A flapping mechanical bird that uses a wound up rubber band to power its flight (Main Concept: Aerodynamics)

small picture of tippe top Tippe Top

A spinning top that, when spun, flips upside down and continues spinning (Main Concept: Gyroscopic effect)

small picture of tornado tube Tornado Tube

Creates a vortex inside a bottle, using water. It looks like a tornado (Main Concept: Rotation of liquids)

small picture of toy gyroscope Toy Gyroscope

A wheel which rotates on a pivoted base without falling down due to gravity (Main Concept: Gyroscopic effect)

small picture of toy hovercraft Toy Hovercraft

A vehicle that can float and move around on a cushion of air (Main Concept: Air pressure)

small picture of toy microscope Toy Microscope

Magnifies very small objects so you can see them clearly (Main Concept: Optics)

small picture of toy telescope Toy Telescope

Allows you to see far away objects that you can't normally see (Main Concept: Optics)

small picture of ufo ball UFO Ball

A ball that emits colorful lights and makes eerie alien sounds when the circuit is closed using your body (Main Concept: Electrical circuits)

small picture of water rocket Water Rocket

Uses compressed air and water to launch a bottle rocket straight up (Main Concept: Newton's Third Law)

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