Not sure what to get your budding naturalist this year? Here’s a list of some of my favorite science and nature gifts for kids.
Microscopes enable kids to really examine their finds up close. Looking at rocks, insects, leaves—just about any specimen—up close opens up a whole new world of discovery and learning for budding scientists. Although a little pricier, metal microscopes are a worthwhile investment. They last longer and will hold up better when life’s little bumps happen.
If you want to pair the microscope with a little something extra, consider a prepared slide combo set. Kids love examining the details and intricacies of animal, plant, insect, textile, and pollen specimens.
Geodes are amazing natural wonders. These hollow rocks have beautiful crystals inside. I have to say, I enjoy these as much as my son. Give them a good whack with a hammer to expose crystals. I like this kit because it includes a magnifying glass, adventure guide, activity booklet, two display stands, and safety goggles (yes, you must wear the goggles!).
This is so cool, I might even include it on my list to Santa. The WonderBubble is a mini habitat that can be used as a betta fish bowl, a habitat for a frog or toad, and even some reptiles and amphibians. I love the egg shape because it gives you a full view of habitat from all angles.
My son received this as a gift a few years ago and we still look at it often. This set includes a collection of 10 real insects, beautifully preserved in clear resin blocks. Use a microscope, or the magnifying lens that’s included with the kit, to study the tiny creatures up close. The set typically includes scorpions, beetles, and bumblebees.
Speaking of bugs, this is another gift that’s gotten a lot of play over the years. This bug catcher lets you vacuum up insects and check them out with the built in magnifier. You can also put your catch in the small habitat that’s included. Cool feature: a bright green LED laser so you can go bug hunting day or night.
This kit contains 15 fossils, including iridescent ammonites from Madagascar (they look like rainbow-colored holograms), trilobites from Morocco, sliced and polished ammonites (so you can see what’s inside these fossils), mosasaur teeth, and a polished orthoceras (ocean fossil). This kit also includes a 16-page fossil identification guide with tons of cool science facts about each of the specimens in this kit.
Can you tell we like exploring up close?
There seems to be a million different options—and vastly differing price ranges—when it comes to telescopes. It’s hard to know which one to buy.
I like this telescope in particular because it’s reasonable priced, relatively easy to use, and is designed for both astronomical objects and the outdoors.
I wouldn’t call myself a birdwatcher, but it’s actually been kind of fun getting to know that little creature who chirps me awake on Saturday mornings in the summer.
These binoculars were designed and engineered with children in mind. They’re coated with durable shock-proof rubber material, compact, and light enough to support by hand.
The National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America is also highly recommended. This book features 100 species of birds from coast to coast. Fifty of the country’s most popular birds are laid out in two-page spreads that include information such as their range, the sounds they make, and the food they like to eat. Each profile also includes a cool or weird fun fact, and a feature called “A Closer Look,” which digs deeper into once aspect of the bird’s life (eating habits, birdsongs, etc.).
This is one in a series of books that showcase the world’s finest collections of objects—from natural history to art. Each title in this series is organized into galleries that display more than 200 full-color specimens accompanied by lively, informative text.
This particular book contains gorgeous illustrations and information about the animal kingdom. It reminds me of vintage science books.
10. Weslandia by Paul Fleischman
The story is about a young boy named Wesley and his summer vacation project. Wesley is somewhat awkward, and doesn’t always fit in, but when he decides to plant a garden and ends up starting his own civilization, his neighbors and classmates are amazed and quickly join Wesley in his pursuits.
There you have it. Our top ten best gifts for kids who love science, nature and the great outdoors. I hope you find this list helpful. Feel free to drop me a line if you have suggestions you’d like to add to the list: firstname.lastname@example.org