Do you have young scientists in your family? Here are some gifts I'm considering this holiday season.
--Doyle and Fossey Science Detective Books: Think about Encyclopedia Brown doing science experiments, and you get Drake Doyle and Nell Fossey. These fifth grade science detectives use real science to solve mysteries like why is the garbage can burping, who faked the ghost in the cemetery, and who wrote the mysterious love letter (I especially liked this one because it uses chromatography.) Each story has instructions for an experiment kids can try themselves. With a degree in microbiology, years of lab experience, and several children's books in publication, Torrey knows both her science and her audience. My daughter enjoyed these books, and I'm wondering if my son is ready for them.
--Potato Chip Science: I haven't tried this one out yet because I hid it until it's time to wrap presents. (Don't tell my kids!) According to the package, it has instructions and equipment for several experiments including a potato clock. If nothing else, the packaging is genius--they've enclosed it in a crackly plastic potato chip bag.
--Candy Experiments Kit: If I get surprised by a sudden need for a holiday gift (somehow I can never tell when get-togethers and playdates are going to erupt into spontaneous gift exchanges), I'll package up some candy experiment kits. To make your own kit, print out the set of 8 experiment cards from my Printables page, which includes experiments for Life Saver Lights, Pop Rocks, Floating Letters, Acid Test, and others. Tape the appropriate candy to each card, wrap it up in a nice box, and decorate with a bow. Nobody'll ever know it was a last minute scramble.