We all know a good education is a fundamental foundation to success in life. We also know that it's important to start from a young age, and to continually support your child's interests and development. Not many kids would be excited over getting a book of times table problems to fill in, but a lot more would get excited for a times tables computer game, where you had to solve the puzzles to level up.
It's important to not only provide educational content, but to have that content delivered in an engaging way.
This list outlines our top 7 favorite science toys that are interactive and engaging.
This 3D printing pen will teach your kids about changes of state, material structures and extrusion. They can learn about the differences between liquids and solids, and the important role that temperature plays in it. It can teach them about extrusion, a powerful manufacturing tool, and making new objects from potentially recycled materials.
This product requires supervision from an adult at all times. Here's a video of some 3D printing pens in action.
The Newton's Cradle has been around forever, and for good reason! This toy is great at teaching your kids about the 3rd law of physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. They might ask, but if the reaction is equal, then why do the balls eventually stop? Well, they just stumbled upon friction and drag forces.
The Galileo thermometer is another great science toy, teaching your kids about the weather, temperature, density, mass and pressure. The thermometer is calibrated so different balls have different densities at certain temperatures. Watch the glass ball's liquid rise to indicate rain is coming.
Checkout this video to see an in-depth explanation, and see it in action.
Another great toy that introduces basic physics principles is the metal gyroscope. Learn about axes, rotation, and angular momentum without the textbooks.
Maybe your kids are too young to have seen The Simpsons episode with this in it, but this drinking bird toy has also been around forever. Here's a quick explanation of how it works.
- Water evaporates from the birds head, causing it to cool
- This decrease in temperature creates a decrease in pressure
- This decrease in pressure causes the fluid to rise up the tube
- As the fluid rises up the tube, this causes the head to tip, as it is not properly balanced
- As the head tips, vapor bubbles travel to the head, forcing the liquid back down into the bottom chamber
- The process repeats
This perpetual motion toy really does go forever (or close to it). How, you ask? Batteries! Of course real perpetual motion does not exist, however this toy will act as if it does.
The battery powers the magnet in the base, giving the moving magnets a small boost with every pass, to overcome the effects of drag and friction. The amount of battery energy required is very small, so if the toy is stopped after each use, the battery should last for a very long time.
Lucky last on the list is this magnetic hourglass. Watch the iron filings fall to the bottom, and get attracted to the magnet in the wooden base. To see this in action checkout the video below.