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    #200122 - 09/05/14 10:27 AM science & engineering toys for young kids
    Aufilia Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/25/14
    Posts: 336
    Loc: Washington
    DS is turning 5 in October and I'm looking for some good suggestions for presents. He really enjoys science & engineering type activities.

    This entire year he's been super into the Magic School Bus books. He's very interested in the solar system/space, gravity, electricity/energy. And he likes to take things apart and put them back together.

    He loves our 2 kits of Snap Circuits (the general jr kit, and the radio kit). We have a couple cars you can take apart and put back together, but they've been around while and are too simple now. He would enjoy them more if they had motors and electricity, for example, but they are just plastic pieces. We have some legos (just plain blocks, hand-me-downs from when my little brother was young), Magnatiles, and wood blocks that all get played with sometimes.

    I think he would love some toys he could take apart, put back together, and that would DO something. Sorta like Snap Circuits, except we already have those and need Something Else.

    I would also love suggestions for actual devices that it would be safe for him to take apart, that could be gotten cheap at a thrift store or something. Last week we had to take our Roomba all apart after it sucked up cat barf (ewww) and he was in heaven.

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    #200140 - 09/05/14 12:00 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2513
    My son is the same--his favourite activity is disassembling mechanical equipment!

    Mecano and Lego Technic are some toys I have my eye on for my son (now 2.10) as his dexterity matures.

    I have this miniature combustion engine kit in mind for my son for Christmas as a project we work on jointly; your son might be able to construct the engine more or less independently.

    http://www.fatbraintoys.com/toy_companies/perisphere_and_trylon/haynes_combustion_engine.cfm

    As for machines to take apart and rebuild together: electric kettles, toasters, clocks, computers, inexpensive electric toothbrushes (you can buy new ones for $5-10), hair dryers, computer printers, handheld electric kitchen mixers, fans, and vacuum cleaners are good ideas. My son enjoys plumbing, so we've taken apart the pipes to our toilets, dishwasher, sinks, and showers to show him how they function.

    These are interesting sites for engineering/construction projects:

    http://m.instructables.com/id/Project-Based-Engineering-for-Kids

    http://www-tc.pbskids.org/designsquad/pdf/parentseducators/DS_Act_Guide_complete.pdf

    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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    #200146 - 09/05/14 01:08 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    cmguy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/30/14
    Posts: 387
    I remember Capsela let you build your own vehicles. If you search this at Amazon related toys will also pop up.

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    #200148 - 09/05/14 01:30 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    Zen Scanner Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/13/12
    Posts: 1478
    Loc: NC
    Search Amazon for Physics in Toys and Games. The Thames & Kosmos brand has nicely thought out experiments that require builds to test, explore, and experiment. We got some decent mileage out of their "Physics Discovery" kit.

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    #200149 - 09/05/14 01:57 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    ohmathmom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/27/13
    Posts: 161
    Loc: Ohio
    There's a list of toys, games, and puzzles in this Math Enrichment Family Resource book. Many have a science/engineering bent. You can download the pdf for free.

    Hoagies also has a list.

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    #200154 - 09/05/14 04:48 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    EmeraldCity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/04/13
    Posts: 100
    My DS4 is also similar - born scientist/engineer.

    While I have not tried the tinkering sites/activities listed below yet, the sites might provide ideas or materials for your DS. One is relatively nearby in Tacoma.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/gever_tulley_s_tinkering_school_in_action
    http://www.tinkeringschool.com/what-is-tinkering-school/
    http://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/about
    http://tinkertopia.com/

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    #200160 - 09/05/14 07:20 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    momoftwins Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/27/13
    Posts: 156
    Maybe get some of the more advanced snap circuit kits? The one with the fan is usually a big hit even with kids who don't like snap circuits. And Snap Circuits Lights is really fun for kids.

    I'm embarrassed to admit my DS7 has almost all of the snap circuit kits; but when he was five and six it was one of his main activities. Now 7, he can create extremely complicated circuits that really are quite cool.

    We also bought a set of Little Bits - he has asked for more of those.

    Also, there is a magic school bus science kit subscription. Right now there is a groupon for it. http://www.groupon.com/deals/gg-young-scientists-magic-school-bus

    If your son likes science - it is amazing to me how much my son enjoyed mixing vinegar and baking soda together at that age. He would change the amount of the materials, and sometimes add soap, water or dye; but he really enjoyed watching the reaction. He did it over and over and over and over and over and over....... I think it was because I let him do it by himself - all the other chemistry experiments required adult assistance. Then again, he still enjoys experiments that bubble over...(mixing alka-seltzer with different liquids is his new thing....) LOL


    Edited by momoftwins (09/05/14 07:27 PM)

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    #200166 - 09/05/14 09:47 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    Aufilia Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/25/14
    Posts: 336
    Loc: Washington
    Thanks for the ideas, everyone. These are great! My budget is pretty low but I'm seeing some things here that might be great for now, and some others that we can build up to.

    We do have the Magic School Bus science kit subscription already, though we've only gotten the first kit (the water experiments).

    EmeraldCity, some of those look quite cool. We were in SF this summer for work+vacation and my daughter got to go to the Exploratorium with a local daycamp, but DS was too young for the same camp and never got to see it.

    I don't know if it's still there but that Tinkertopia place puts me in mind of a place we went to in Edmonds when my daughter was in preschool. I don't know if it's still there. They just had a lot of totally random parts 'n' stuff you could make things out of. I have no idea what it's called or if it's still open.

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    #200168 - 09/05/14 10:15 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    Mana Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/17/12
    Posts: 882
    Thank you for asking this question.

    My DD gets a lot of nature and gardening at her school but one thing she says she really wishes she could do more science so I've been meaning to supplement at home.

    I'm going to check out the subscription. smile

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    #200176 - 09/06/14 07:00 AM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    Flyingmouse Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/10/14
    Posts: 116
    Not a toy, but my kids have loved Ask and the other science magazines produced by the publishers of Cricket: http://www.cricketmag.com/ASK-ASK-Magazine-for-Kids-ages-6-9

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    #202914 - 10/07/14 12:31 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    cmguy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/30/14
    Posts: 387
    Bumping - we have found "BanBao" (a chinese lego clone) to be less costly than legos and still a lot of fun.

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    #202943 - 10/07/14 07:09 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 675
    Loc: Canada
    MagFormers, for the visual types. Beyond expensive, but for us, super-cheap on a cost-per-hour used basis (Grandma built up the collection over a couple years of birthdays and Christmas). Basically, you lay out your figure in 2D magnets, pick it up from the right spot, and voila, a 3D shape. Mr. Spatial loved to torment me - "Mommy, guess what shape this will be!!!". Linear me: "uh.... a rocket?". Him: "Oh Mommy, how can you not see this will be a dodecahedron?"

    Looks like all the other magnet building toys out there, but really gets used differently. And still weekly (DS10 and DD7).

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    #203909 - 10/20/14 04:39 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    Madoosa Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/20/11
    Posts: 710
    Loc: South Africa
    The Elenco range (snap circuit guys) includes robotic sets (with and without soldering), a very cool detectolab for forensics kinda stuff, chemical crystal growing kits, microscopes etc.

    My favourite combo thus far is a microscope with the USBORNE book on how to use a microscope. fabulous combo gift

    Another one is to get different experiment books - start with basic kitchen science and then move on to chemistry. What about building a magnets kit?

    I find that it's often in putting these things together that the kids find so much joy!

    Try subscribing to superchargedscience.com newsletter - you get some free experiments and links, and special offers for science curriculum dvd's that are quite fabulous - kid watches the video clip, gathers the materials required and does the experiment. They ahve online classes as well that are sometimes offered for free.

    We will one day buy their full curriculum, but for now we have enough to go on with our snap circuits, our freebies every now and then, a microscope, dissecting kit and a bunch of science books.

    Also check out steve spangler science website.
    _________________________
    Mom to 3 gorgeous boys: Aiden (8), Nathan (7) and Dylan (4)

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    #203910 - 10/20/14 04:41 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    Madoosa Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/20/11
    Posts: 710
    Loc: South Africa
    for engineering - in LEGO look at the WeDo set (intro to robotics and loads of gears, levers, pulley type activities for engineering principles)

    There are some places that sell mini construction kits of buildings etc as well.
    _________________________
    Mom to 3 gorgeous boys: Aiden (8), Nathan (7) and Dylan (4)

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    #204659 - 10/31/14 01:10 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    cmguy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/30/14
    Posts: 387
    Not sure if this was mentioned but we have had a great time with good old fashioned paper airplanes (I was lazy and got a book - lots of free designs are floating around the web).

    Anyway we had a lot of fun making (folding?) it and now it's DS4's favorite toy (for now).

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    #204671 - 11/01/14 06:51 AM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    KTPie Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/13/14
    Posts: 253
    We are big into origami at the moment.
    _________________________
    http://www.my-little-poppies.com

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    #204691 - 11/01/14 09:06 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1453
    Loc: NJ
    I just got my DD a soldering kit and a Make Raspberry Pi kit for Christmas from Radio Shack this afternoon. She will need some parental guidance and supervision (safety will be a paramount concern) to start with but she has been making some pretty intricate Rainbow Loom designs over the past couple of years so I think she now has the dexterity required.

    She will be starting the AoPS Intro to Python class next February so putting a computer together from components and learning to program ought to give her a solid footing. If she takes to this we will try some Arduino boards. I'll let you all now how it goes...
    _________________________
    Become what you are

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    #206706 - 12/01/14 04:15 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    KayEhm Offline
    New Member

    Registered: 12/01/14
    Posts: 1
    My little guy is exactly the same! Loves taking things apart and putting them back together - but oy what a mess that can make! (I saw someone mentioned an incident with a Roomba.. agh!) Our new favorite toy (yes, OUR favorite, because it keeps his attention without creating a mess wink ) is this thing called a Vertical Vortex, which is basically like a flow toy that's perpetually in motion.. it basically disassembles and reassembles itself so long as he keeps it moving! Good way to teach kinetics to a young'un, while also being a little artsy as well lol

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    #248499 - 04/02/21 10:20 AM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2513
    A few updates on this thread from age 8-9:

    Turing tumble - marble based mazes / logic puzzles
    https://www.turingtumble.com/

    Rush hour game - logic based puzzles
    https://www.thinkfun.com/products/rush-hour/

    Tinker crates You'll want to pick through these, as some topics are far better than others, but DS enjoyed some of the Tinker crates around age 7-8:
    https://www.kiwico.com/tinker?utm_source...hhoCMzAQAvD_BwE

    Foldscope - a portable, virtually indestructible pocket microscope
    https://www.foldscope.com/

    Terrific field guides for biology - because books ARE games and toys in our household...

    Mycology / foraging:
    • Roger Phillips - "Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America"
    • Gary Lincoff - "National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms"
    • Kikkerland - Foragers Playing Cards

    Entomology:
    • Joseph Wilson & Olivia Carril - "The Bees in Your Backyard"

    Lego power systems design books
    • Yoshihito Isogawa - "The Lego Power Functions Idea Book - Machines and Mechanisms"
    • Yoshihito Isogawa - "The Lego Power Functions Idea Book - Cars and Contraptions"


    Great digital resources we've used - a motley mix of YouTube(YT) and other resources


    ...whew! I'll drop back in with edits if I can think of more go-tos. As you can see, the pandemic has treated us well wrt science play.



    Edited by aquinas (04/02/21 12:10 PM)
    Edit Reason: more ideas!
    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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    #249380 - 11/19/21 10:02 AM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    timeout Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/13/21
    Posts: 9
    I have looked into Turing Tumble based on aquinas's suggestion

    It is a bit pricy at $70+shipping but it's certainly quite unique.

    Has anyone tried it out and would be willing to share?

    Thanks

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    #249401 - 12/04/21 08:59 AM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3974
    On the airplane and origami theme...ours loved the plane-a-day tear-off calendars. There are similar -a-day calendars for origami, crossword puzzles, sudoku, brainteasers, etc.

    You can also design your own and send them in to see if they will include them in future editions.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #249765 - 05/18/22 08:05 PM Re: science & engineering toys for young kids [Re: Aufilia]
    millersb02 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/16/19
    Posts: 20
    I have never seen a post that I was more qualified to respond to. My son at 3 took everything apart, broke things to see how they worked, was so hard on our house. Eventually I realized he needed to put together and take apart and now all of his favorite toys are building materials. Here’s his fav materials:

    Picasso blocks
    Brain flakes
    Zoobs
    Legos
    Knex
    Boxes/scrap paper/tape
    Outdoors he likes buckets, water, sticks, etc
    Marble ramps are fun, but you can build them out of everything, u don’t need a special set.

    Look up “loose parts play” and “tinkering trays” for more inspiration

    This book is also good for 4-5 yo: what do people do all day by Richard scarry. It shows how a bunch of things work in a little kid friendly way.

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