Kids can wire a boombox, design a mansion, solve mysteries, and more with the 12 best science toys for 2012 - released just in time for Christmas. Dig up artifacts, send treasures into the future, and pan for gold like an old-timey prospector.
Toys on the list have educational and innovative features that increase engagement in learning and set them apart from other toys. These new products are sure to engage and excite your family and friends this holiday season.
1. DJ Rock Dock (SmartLab): Kids learn about circuitry by wiring and assembling a mini-boom box sound dock that works with any MP3 player. Two boom box designs are included so kids can match it to their personal style. ($17.99)
2. Young Architect (Poof-Slinky): By designing floorplans, tracing furniture templates, and building large 3D models, kids learn the basics or architecture. Kids can create plans for enormous houses or simply build various structures with the see-through pieces. This is a big science kit with an incredible amount of replay value. ($79.99)
3. Pan for Gold (Dr. Cool): Little prospectors use a 10 inch pan to seek out their fortunes. 2 difficulty levels are included with a large display piece of Fool’s Gold. The manual is filled with background information on the uses of gold and the California Gold Rush. ($19.95)
4. Archaeology Pyramid Dig (Thames & Kosmos): As an updated release of a classic TK kit, this pyramid requires excavation and is filled with fun experiments and knowledge. Everything starts with children deciphering hieroglyphics to find the secret mechanism that reveals the entrance to the pharaoh’s tomb. ($22.40)
5. Time Capsule (Smithsonian): Even though the true enjoyment of this toy comes 10 or 20 years down the road, this should be standard issue for every child and every classroom. Keep memories safe in this water and dirt resistant canister. It has a plaque marker to indicate where it’s buried and locks with a key. ($34.95)
6. Ant Farm Revolution (Uncle Milton): A whole new twist on the ant farm. Featuring a cylindrical design and a light in the base, the Revolution actually projects shadows of the ants crawling around inside it onto the ceiling. It makes for a truly unique nightlight as well. ($34.99)
7. Crime Catchers Spy Kit (Poof-Slinky): Two incredible mysteries are contained in this kit, and kids will have to engage in multiple science experiments to solve them. This science kit has a great story line and keeps kids actively engaged in trying to solve the mysteries with science. ($19.99)
8. Climate & Weather (Thames & Kosmos): 23 science experiments identify key elements of climate and weather events. Kids build a globe to explain the seasons and even use ice cubes on the poles, incense, and a lamp to demonstrate the global wind system. ($28.70)
9. 7 in 1 Solar Transformers (OWI): Kids can build 7 different snap together models that can all use the included rechargeable solar-powered motor. Some are designed for power and others for speed, and kids are sure to love setting them up and racing them over the included ramp. ($25.95)
10. Micro Wiz (C & A Scientific): A digital microscope that is perfect for smaller hands. It can be used like a traditional microscope, or the head slides off the base for viewing everyday objects around the house. It takes pictures, video, and connects to computers via USB. ($194.99)
11. Dinosaur Dig Kit (Dr. Cool): Not your standard square brick full of prizes. The brick is shaped like a T-Rex head and the prizes are real artifacts; a piece of dinosaur bone, dinosaur tooth, and even some petrified dinosaur poop. ($14.95)
12. Sprout House (SmartLab): For the younger crowd whose thumbs may not be quite the right shade of green yet. This greenhouse features a self-watering system for easy plant care, and there is a set of mystery seeds that children must plant, grow, and analyze to identify what they are. ($13.49)