Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (2024)

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (1)

You might not realize it, but you’ve probably been teaching your child science their whole life. Maybe they’ve watched you cook, or you pointed out a frozen puddle during a winter stroll. Science is all around us, waiting to be explored. But if you want to continue those lessons more purposefully, the best science kits for kids can help.

Even without your help, children are natural scientists, constantly observing, inquiring, discovering, testing, and problem-solving, according to Rachel Robertson, vice president of education development at Bright Horizons. “They’re masters at cause-and-effect experiments. They ask lots of questions. They make mistakes and try again. These are all valuable aspects of any STEM learning.”

Science kits can be a great addition to these instinctual learning experiences. “[Kits] tap into a child’s curiosity and provide a hands-on learning experience that can deepen their understanding of scientific concepts and provide opportunities for them to build, be creative, have fun, and explore new things,” says Michelle Felder, LCSW, MA, a parenting therapist and founder of Parenting Pathfinders. Not only does a good kit make abstract scientific concepts more tangible, enjoyable, and easier to understand, it can also boost a child’s confidence. “Science kits [let them] develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they make observations, engage in experiments, and explore how one thing can impact another.”

Whether they’re watching a volcano explode with foam “lava,” completing circuits that light up a room, or churning ice cream (yes, that’s science), playing with our favorite science kits can ignite your child’s love of learning. While we used our own kids’ experiences and consulted experts to create this list, every child is unique in their needs, development, skill set, and preferences. Choosing a kit that’s safe, fun, and reflective of their interests is key. Ultimately, one of these can spark your child’s curiosity and deepen their understanding of science.

Our Favorites

Best for Preschoolers: Learning Resources Mix and Measure Activity Kit

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (2)

If your 3-year-old always grabs at your measuring cups when you’re cooking, you might have a budding scientist on your hands. Why not let them experiment with their own? Measuring and mixing builds early math and science skills. The chunky, colorful tools in this set are contoured for little hands, and the activity cards introduce children to measurement while making mystery goo, puffy paint, slime, and more. For ages 3 and up.

Best for Pretend Play: Just Play Ada Twist, Scientist On the Go Lab Set

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (3)

Consider this portable play with a side of learning. Based on the children’s book by Andrea Beatty, which gained more fame through a Michelle and Barack Obama-produced Netflix show, this kit inspires young children to view science as something fun and exciting. The colorful wheely case opens up to reveal test tubes, a beaker, safety goggles, a working scale, and other tools. Grownups can help conduct kid-friendly experiments with six instruction cards, or little ones can do them on their own. For ages 3 and up.

Best First Experiments: Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Deluxe Set

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (4)

Spark a preschooler’s imagination with more hands-on science investigation. Curious kids can conduct 20 “experiments” such as shining pennies, making a homemade volcano, and mixing colors with this kit. We love that it fosters independence through easy-to-understand instructions and real science tools such as test tubes, eye droppers, funnels, flasks, a magnifying scope, safety glasses, and more, all sized for little hands and made from durable plastic. For ages 3 and up.

The Best Toys for 4-Year-Olds to Match Their Creative, Passionate Spirits

Most Delicious: KiwiCo Science of Cooking: Ice Cream

While KiwiCo's subscription kits are great for a monthly dose of STEM, this one-off purchase by the company makes science literally cool. Your little scientist will learn about crystals, freezing points, and food stabilizers as they mix and shake, shake, shake their way into making delicious frozen desserts to share with the family. Instructions and equipment are included, but buying the ingredients is up to you. For ages 5 and up.

Best Bubbles: Dr. Zigs Magical Frozen Bubbles Kit

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (6)

When you’re looking for a fun activity on a chilly day, this frozen bubbles kit does the trick. Thanks to the bamboo cup and straw and a sustainable and biodegradable bubble solution, you can add a bit of hands-on magic to the science of crystal formation. When used outdoors in temps 23 degrees Fahrenheit or below, watch crystals slowly form on bubbles right in front of your eyes. Don’t feel like a trip outside? Use the kit in your freezer, though it will take 20 minutes. Your young artist or photographer will also love capturing the crystals on paper or in a photo. For ages 5 and up.

The Best Toys for 5-Year-Olds as They Become Curious Social Butterflies

Best for Magic Lovers: ALEX Toys Scientific Explorer Magic Science Kit

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (7)

This kit allows any wizard- or witch-obsessed kiddo to master “magic” by understanding the science behind it. To up their sorcery skills, Magic Science contains activities that teach them tricks using chemical reactions, such as making ordinary powders mystically foam and change color, creating test tube crystal balls, and more. The kit includes several of the chemicals needed (for example, citric acid, baking soda, vegetable oil, and red cabbage powder), so kids don’t have to raid the pantry to complete these experiments. It also has test tubes, a tube wand, measuring scoops, star stickers, and an activity guide. For ages 6 and up.

Best for Art Lovers: Crayola Color Chemistry Set

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (8)

Color us impressed: Crayola never ceases to keep kiddos entertained, whether it's with an iconic box of 64 crayons or this chemistry set that’s just as colorful. The easy-to-read instruction booklet contains 50 colorful science activities and crafts to try out at home, including a tornado in a bottle, glow worms, and watercolor ice. They’ll love knowing these projects were developed by the same Crayola scientists who helped develop their favorite art supplies. For ages 7 and up.

The 25 Best Lego Sets for Builders of All Ages and Fandoms

Best Planetary Model: Thames & Kosmos Bouncing Planets

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (9)

Under adult supervision, a little space cadet can create five colorful, rubbery planet models in just minutes using a spherical mold and polymer granules. Masquerading as a fun craft project, the real lesson of this experiment actually covers weighty topics such as matter (how and why the balls form) and why elasticity causes things to bounce. They’ll leave the table with science and planet know-how, as well as a bunch of bouncy balls for future play. Word to the wise: For quicker set time, use hot water. For ages 8 and up.

Best for 8 and Up: Abacus Brands Bill Nye VR Science Kit

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (10)

While having Bill Nye over for an in-person science lesson would be the best gift ever, the VR headset in this science kit provides the next best thing. Download an app to your phone, place it in the headset, and Nye will pop out of the spiral-bound project book to explain the scientific principles behind each of the 30 science projects included in the kit. After all, he’s the Science Guy, so his explanations are probably better than most could provide. Much of the necessary equipment for each experiment is included, but you will need to use some typical household items as well. This kit got heavy use by one of our editor’s kids through the pandemic, and she still recommends it to everyone who asks. For ages 8 to 12.

Best for Space Lovers: Abacus Brands Bill Nye VR Space Lab

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (11)

Like the general science kit above, this Space Lab kit uses hands-free virtual reality goggles to bring everyone’s favorite Science Guy right into your home for an immersive learning experience about space and time. Just point the phone at a picture in the 96-page interactive book, and it will turn into a video that takes viewers through an exploration of our planet, solar system, galaxy, universe, and more. The activities and physical crafts throughout the book are out of this world. For ages 8 to 13.

Grossest: National Geographic Super Gross Chemistry Set

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (12)

Kids can be gross. And usually, when you promise an experiment that’s full of yucky fun, they’re all ears. National Geographic harnesses some of that tendency in this kit that contains instructions and equipment for 15 different gross experiments with themes like boiling boogers, farting slime, bursting blood cells, eyeballs, and test-tube vomit. The bonus guide also has instructions for an additional 30 experiments, for those whose scientific curiosity keeps on going, no matter how disgusting. For ages 8 and up.

Best About Weather4M Green Science Weather Science Kit

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (13)

With all eyes on the younger generation to fight climate change, this mini-observatory aids in understanding how our weather works. Your up-and-coming meteorologist can experiment with static electricity for lightning, build a desktop water cycle model to learn about the greenhouse effect, attempt to grow seeds in “acid” rain, and even make clouds in their palm. For ages 8 and up.

Best Microscope: Omano JuniorScope Microscope

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (14)

Introduce a child to the world that’s invisible to the naked eye with this high-quality microscope kit. The glass objective lenses provide young scientists with crystal-clear views all the way up to 400x magnification level. They can study both solid objects (such as hair strands and leaves) and transparent specimens (blood cells, bacteria). It comes with DIY slides and petri dishes, as well as prepared slides. All they need is a lab coat and they’ll feel like real research professionals! For ages 8 to 12.

Best Electricity: Think Fun Circuit Maze Electric Current Logic Game

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (15)

When it comes to a stealth learning experience, you can’t beat a puzzle, especially one with light-up LED circuits you create yourself. Electrify a boring rainy day or weekend alone time with this single-person game that comes with 60 challenges of varying levels, all with the goal of arranging the tokens to create a real circuit that lights up the different colored beacons. For ages 8 and up.

Best Crystals: 4M Crystal Growing Experimental Kit

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (16)

Most adults would be hard-pressed to explain how crystals form—that is unless they too had a crystal-growing kit when they were younger. It is definitely one of the most aesthetically pleasing science projects kids can do. This kit comes with the compounds, containers, and dyes to make seven dishes of crystals that will form over the course of just a week. The display domes allow them to keep and show off their projects too. (Then maybe they can explain this magic to the rest of us.) For ages 10 and up.

Best Science Subscription: MEL Science Luminescence

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (17)

Shine a little light on their love of science with a MEL Science subscription. This company offers STEM, Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine science kit subscriptions, and each is appropriate for a different age range. Our editor and her child have enjoyed building experiments following simple instructions along with the accompanying immersive VR lessons for some of the kits. For example, the Luminescence set from the Physics subscription creates loads of fun with light. You’ll build a fluorescent liquid night-light, create mysterious pictures with light, and make ink for special invisible notes. For ages 5 and up.

Wonder Workshop Dash Robot Wonder Pack

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (18)

This friendly-looking little robot is powerful in all the right ways: Paired with one of four free apps, it teaches kids about block coding and how it can work in the real, three-dimensional world. The robot comes with accessories that let it draw, pick things up, and even launch objects in the air. It also has connectors that are compatible with Lego bricks, for kids who really want to customize its look. For ages 6 and up.

Our Review Process

We handpicked all of the products on our list of the best science kits by considering entertainment value, safety, instructions, materials included, and challenge level to provide an exciting mix of science exploration for different interests and ages. We included chemistry, physics, and microbiology sets, along with engineering, STEM, STEAM, and robotic kits, many of which our own children have tried at home. And since what engages a 4-year-old with pretty colors and foam might bore a robotics-ready teen, we included kits for a wide range of ages.

Our Experts

To find out how science kits can enhance a child’s development and education, we interviewed the following experts:

  • Michelle Felder, LCSW, MA,parenting therapist, founder of Parenting Pathfinders, and a member of the Parents Review Board
  • Rachel Robertson, vice president of education development at Bright Horizons
  • Marianne Szymanski, founder and president of Toy Tips Inc., whose son created an entire “science lab” in her basem*nt when he was 7 years old

Factors to Consider When Buying a Science Kit for Kids

  • Educational Benefits: Bringing this type of fun and engaging educational play into the home can ignite a child’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and math from an early age. “When STEM learning happens at home, it can also provide parents and caregivers a chance to spend time with their child engaging in a creative activity, [which is] an effective way of cultivating a connection through learning and exploring together,” says Felder.
  • Recommended Age: Age level is especially important when choosing science kits, says Szymanski. Following manufacturer guidelines ensures both safety and enjoyment. “Parts and pieces that are too small to operate, are messy, or easily lost may frustrate a child and parent, while science kits with small print instructions that are hard to read may [discourage] reading, which can turn into a safety issue,” she cautions. Felder agrees. “Consider if [your child] has the necessary skills to engage with the kit as it’s intended and how much grown-up involvement they’ll need, as some kits are designed to be done independently, while others require adult guidance.”
  • Type of Kit: While initially determined by the subject matter and age range, the kit you choose might include chemicals for fun reactions; kid-friendly versions of scientific tools such as beakers, test tubes, and microscopes; STEM-based circuits; and/or robotic elements. Kits for toddler age typically have simple familiar items, such as measuring cups, coloring agents, and activity booklets with stickers. Some kits are solely made of physical materials and paper manuals while others pair with apps and VR headsets for additional instruction.
  • Safety: Safety should come first, whether you’re a young learner just starting out or an actual scientist by trade. Be sure that the kit you choose has the correct safety measures in place for a child, such as goggles for chemical reactions, gloves for messy parts, and non-breakable tools. Always pay attention to whether any experiments require adult supervision.
  • Price: How much you spend on a science kit can vary from $11 to a few hundred dollars, based on the level of equipment included, as well as how technical and involved the kit is. Robotics and STEM kits are typically more expensive than simple chemistry and biology sets.

Your Questions, Answered

Why are science kits good for kids?

Science kits can be wonderful learning tools for kids, as they create opportunities for them to engage with scientific concepts through experiments and activities. “Playing with science can foster a sense of curiosity and a desire to explore their world,” says Felder. “The ability to analyze and solve problems is a skill, and playing with science helps to hone this skill, even in young children.” Playing with science can also provide kids with examples of cause and effect, and opportunities to explore how different elements are connected and interact with each other. Learning through play can make the concepts explored more memorable and enjoyable.

What does a science kit usually contain?

Science kits incorporate tools to interact and make discoveries about the planet, physics, the human body, weather, biology, chemistry, interesting reactions, and scientific facts. That could mean anything from beakers and funnels to materials for magic growing crystals and robotics.

According to Felder, there are some common components that you would typically expect to find in a science kit for kids, such as an instruction manual, experiment materials, child-friendly and non-toxic chemicals for experiments, and easy-to-use tools.

Are science kits worth the money?

While they’re fun and a great intro to science, a one-time use kit might not give your kiddo the full science experience, according to Robertson. “If a child follows a few steps and completes the kit, they didn’t really experience a true STEM activity,” she explains. “They need to have an opportunity to actively engage and use their natural curiosity and ingenuity.” For those interested in a more in-depth journey through the science world, focus on kits that result in something that can last over a longer period of time or be reused.

When should I introduce science to my child?

It’s never too soon to introduce science to kids. “Science is all around us and woven into all facets of our lives,” says Felder. Although a child’s understanding of different concepts typically deepens as they grow, it can be beneficial to plant the seed of scientific learning, curiosity, and exploration early on.”

Who We Are

Cheryl Fenton is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle writer who has enjoyed a 30-year career of bylining in both national magazines and popular websites, as well as authoring a book or two. As the daughter of a retired microbiologist in molecular genetics and a retired cardiovascular physiologist, science was clearly in her DNA but not in her future, as she decided on a career path with the creative arts over the experimental kind.

Let There Be STEM! These Science Kits for Kids Start at Just $11 (2024)


What is a STEM science kit? ›

What is a STEM Kit? A STEM Kit is a box of tools and activities designed specifically to teach Scientific Inquiry and the Nature of Science. Think of them in terms of those side bars in textbooks – really cool extensions to the main goal of the chapter!

Why are science kits good for kids? ›

Educational science kits and science experiment books are the best way for kids to learn science. Studies reveal that kids learn concepts and skills more quickly, retain in memory longer, and have more fun, when they learn with practical experiments rather than simply reading about them in text books.

How stem toys help kids? ›

Boost cognitive skills and creative thinking

As STEM toys get more difficult and intricate, children's cognitive skills, decision-making, problem-solving and memory are challenged and improved. To solve almost any STEM toy, creative thinking is something that needs to be developed.

Is STEM really worth it? ›

Is a STEM degree worth it? For many people, the answer is yes. Here are just some of the benefits of STEM career: Increased Salary – People employed in STEM occupations earn over double the median income according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (USBLS).

What is in a science kit? ›

Safety is our top priority, so the Ultimate Science Kit for kids includes all the necessary safety equipment and materials. Everything is included, from child-safe chemicals to test tubes, beakers, and measuring tools to ensure a safe, enjoyable & hassle-free learning experience.

Why are science kits good? ›

These kits are a great help for parents who teach their children at home by themselves and want to make the topics interesting. Science kits make use of real life investigations that help kids to think about what they have learnt and how to apply it when they go outside to discover, or while they are in the classroom.

Why are science kits important? ›

Educational science kits make learning more effective for students. Another crucial benefit of using educational science kits is that they make learning, a great fun. Classroom learning is believed to be boring because kids get bored listening to long classroom lectures.

Is science good for kids? ›

Helping your child learn science gives them the ability to communicate, remain organised and focused, and even lets them form their own opinions based on observation; they hone analytic, problem-solving and fine motor skills in the process too.

Why do kids love STEM? ›

STEM Learning Reinforces the Idea of School as Exciting

Instead, it's about discovery. Making “Aha!” moments happen occurs regularly in STEM education. It's a key reason why so many children fall in love with STEM teaching methods.

Why do kids like STEM? ›

STEM activities provide hands-on and minds-on lessons for the student. Making math and science both fun and interesting helps the student to do much more than just learn.

What do STEM toys stand for? ›

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and is an important category of STEM Toys. The best definition of STEM Toys is learning toys developed with an educational concept for use in learning purposes.

What is the purpose of a science kit? ›

Science experiment kits are innovative kits that are designed exclusively to mix and blend education and fun. These kits are mainly designed to impart knowledge because they provide detailed and subtle facts on various aspects of life and physical sciences.

What do you do in STEM science? ›

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs open the door to many different careers, including opportunities in engineering, science, and research. STEM professionals can explore diverse fields like aeronautics and biochemistry.

What do you need in a STEM lab? ›

Understanding the Essential STEM Supplies

Tools like scissors, tape, and glue enable students to bring their ideas to life. Additionally, incorporating electronics, such as microcontrollers and circuit components, into your STEM lessons allows for more advanced exploration.

What do you do in a STEM lab? ›

Simply put, STEM labs are educational spaces that encourage active learning and problem solving! In these STEM laboratories, students can develop their science, engineering and mathematics skills by using technology to create, collaborate and complete projects - learning and applying knowledge to find new solutions.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 5584

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Birthday: 2001-07-17

Address: Suite 794 53887 Geri Spring, West Cristentown, KY 54855

Phone: +5934435460663

Job: Central Hospitality Director

Hobby: Yoga, Electronics, Rafting, Lockpicking, Inline skating, Puzzles, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Clemencia Bogisich Ret, I am a super, outstanding, graceful, friendly, vast, comfortable, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.