Engino Discovering Stem Building Kit For Young Engineers!


Engino Discovering Stem: Levers, Linkages & Structures Building Kit

Oftentimes, the most memorable scientific concepts are the ones that are most practical and applied in our everyday lives. All around us are fruits of engineering, from the houses we live in to the cars that take us from place to place. Young minds often pick up concepts quickly, especially when they are taught sneakily, through fun ways. And for many, few things are as fun and engaging as building sets, like Legos for example. Engino puts a twist on the building set by including pieces teaching you how to build, using simple and complex assemblies, moving sets that use leverage and and torque to make creations that can move objects. The Engino building help teach some of the underlying principles of mechanics as well.


Through playing with kits like this, children are internalizing how forces can be used to move things, concepts that play big roles when learning classical physics. It is a great way to develop a child’s creativity, while also priming them for bigger thinking later on in life.


This kit comes with building parts, and also a booklet with instructions and also plenty of information on engineering concepts and related info. There’s even a quiz included to test your knowledge. A great companion piece to an already impressive set.


Create a Rube Goldberg-style Lego Sequence with Klutz’s Chain Reaction!


Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit

Legos are a long-standing favorite here among the Scientist Approved team. Being able to build a lego Batmobile or Star Wars Death Star makes Lego transcen81rw4Bh+NAL._SL1500_d ages. Of course, some of those sets are pretty expensive, and the truly best part about Legos is the ability to make your own creations with the parts available to you, where your imagination is the limit. If you ever feel you or your kids hitting a wall with your Lego building, check out this Chain Reactions kit from Klutz. Taking inspiration from the creative, yet complex, creations of Rube Goldberg, expand your imagination with some clever engineering to generate machine sequences of your own with Legos! String together some of the ‘reactions’ in this kit to create sequences that will wow your friends and family.  This kit comes with instructions for several examples, paper ramps, string, lego pieces, and anything else you’ll need to create creations to spur the imagination. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Classic TV Series Batmobile


At-Home Experiments: Fun kits to try

When my girls were younger, one of my favorite boredom killers/fun activities to do was conduct fun experiments. I wasn’t necessarily teaching the heavy duty science but, they did learn some cool concepts by doing these experiments with me. One of my favorite kits has to be the Be Amazing Lab-in-a-Bag Test Tube Wonders! It was relatively cheap and came with 15 possible experiments. The bag does say it is for ages 8 and up but from experience I can say it works best for kids between 5 – 8 years of age. After 8, these simple experiments aren’t going to be as fascinating.

Be Amazing Lab-in-a-Bag Test Tube Wonders

This kit comes with polyacrylamide beads that turn into awesome crystals. The girls really enjoyed waking up the next day and seeing their tiny beads turn into huge crystals.

Drying their crystals!

You can also make fake snow, a lava test tube, and play with the magic sand that stays dry no in water. My favorite thing about this set is that several, not all, of the experiments, can be saved to use again at a later time. The girls would bring out the kit anytime they had playdates. I highly recommend this set! You can buy it on Amazon.

They also have a kit that contains more activities. If my girls were still between 5-8, I would definitely try this out.


Be Amazing Toys Big Bag Of Science +70 Activities

Another cool kit to try is the Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science kit. It is in between the two I mentioned above in that, you get 20 experiments similar to the ones you would find in Lab in a bag , the first kit I mentioned.

Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science

Find more fun activities for you kids here

At-home Experiment: Alter Your Taste Perception

Looking for a cool science experiment to do at home or for an outreach project? Try mberry Fruit Tablets!

mBerries are a product made from ‘miracle berries’. These berries contain miraculin. This protein selectively binds to sweet receptors on the tongue and cause fruits that would normally be sour, actually taste sweet. The effect is reported to last up to an hour, but in our experience, it lasts about a half hour and can be affected by drinking water after having them.

Materials needed:papillae-of-tongue-e1458050293421

mberry Fruit Tablets

Foods that are bitter, sour, or sweet (lemon, lime, cheese, grapefruit, pineapple, kiwi)

Cups of water to drink


  1. Cut foods into pieces and have kid(s) try each one and classify the taste. Is it sweet? Bitter?
  2. Be sure to record observations!
  3. Follow instructions on mberry Fruit Tablets packet: Place one pill on the tongue and let it dissolve. NO CHEWING!!
  4. Once dissolved, have kid(s) try foods again and re-classify the taste. Make sure they drink WATER between each food. Their answers should be different!


How do we taste?

Receptors inside the taste buds on our tongues catch chemicals from things we eat.

There are different types of receptors.


These receptors send signals to our brains to tell us exactly what kind of taste we are experiencing.

How do mberry Fruit Tablets change our taste?

Chemicals from the pill get stuck to the sweet receptors and take a long time to come off. This way, your tongue is only tasting the sweet receptor, no matter what you eat!

Try this fun experiment with your kids! You can buy mberry Fruit Tablets on Amazon!

*We have done this activity several times during out outreach events. It is safe for kids!

Toys that Teach – Ages 24 Months and Under

VTech Click and Count Remote is a nifty device to keep the lil one entertained by giving them lights to look at, buttons to press, and sounds to listen to. However, how will this most likely be used? As a chew toy. That’s what babies typically do with these flashy things. There is a “Limited Edition” of this chew toy,I mean learning device, available. It plays over 45 songs and given that it is shaped like a tv remote, which admittingly irked me when I first saw it, there are 9 channels to “surf” through. Why did this irk me? I originally felt like it was encouraging kids to learn how to use the tv but, toddlers naturally want to play with adult toys, i.e. remote control, cell phone, or wine glass…

LeapFrog Scout’s Learning Lights Remote is a similar product and essentially performs the same functions and serves the same purpose but THIS one come with 65 songs! As a mom of former toddlers, I can guarantee that doesn’t really matter since kids tend to fixate on 1 or 2 songs and play those on repeat for HOURS.

What if you have a kid who seems to think your cell phone is the most interesting thing in the world, second only to their feet?

VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone is similar to the two products above but allows kids to imitate mom and/or dad using their “super cool talk box with people inside” (this is what my daughter used to call it). It’s touch screen. One problem I eventually had with my tiny scientists is, they figured out this phone was a ruse! I tried to trick them by changing it up and purchasing the Fisher-Price Elmo’s World Talking Cell Phone which resembles a flip phone and they loved it! Something about flipping open a phone delighted them. However, this was also when Elmo’s World was super popular. So if you want a play phone that is a bit more realistic, go for the VTech Call and Chat Learning Phone. Kids can add up to 5 family members into their phonebook to “pretend” call. There are also 10 realistic apps which might just trick the smartest of little einsteins into using their own phone and learn numbers and letter.

Who doesn’t love magnets! I was fascinated with them as a kid! What would have blown my mind more than Magnetic Building Blocks?!?813Ui7OnPuL._SL1500_

Not only does this toy teach kids about magnetic forces, it encourages their creativity, a trait that is vital in the STEM field. There is a misconception that science doesn’t require creativity but, that is WRONG. The great thing about these is that toddlers, kids, and adults will want to build crazy contraptions with these.

Find more options for your toddler here

Nerdy Gift Ideas!

I always have people tell me that it is hard to buy gifts for me science I have quirky tastes and I’m a scientist. Do you have a person like that in your life? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered!

STEM Gifts I Cook Meals Periodically Math Science Funny Periodic Table Chemist Gifts Trivet Set 2-Pack Wooden Hot Pads
Purchase on Amazon

I know your first thought is “No way! This is too cheesy!” But take it from me, I would love to have this in my kitchen to proudly display my quirkiness! It includes 2 100% bamboo trivets! Cutting boards are usually boring, so why not get some that will put a smile on your someone’s face? Each trivet measures 6.5 inches square and approximately 0.3 inches thick. Engraving color may vary slightly, as each piece of wood is unique.

Barbuzzo Chemist Approved Stemless Wine Glass, 21 oz, Clear
Purchase on Amazon

I had to include a wine glass! Look at it! It’s covered in the molecular structure for ethanol!

Science Flask Salt and Pepper Shakers
Purchase on Amazon

If your person is anything like my me, she has salt and pepper shakers on the dinner table at all times. With these flasks, now those boring shakers are conversation starters. Sure, it would have been better if the salt shaker was labeled Na for sodium but, they’re so cute, I can’t fault them!

DNA Pendant, Gift Box Edition – Double Helix Necklace – Gifts for Science Lovers Nurses Medical Gifts
Purchase on Amazon

I have a DNA double helix necklace and I wear it practically every day! It’s fun, cute, and lets everyone know I’m a science nerd without ever saying a word. This necklace comes with a nice DNA dictionary mini book.

The  DNA Necklace 16 inch sterling silver chain is also available from Amazon and is incredibly beautiful! Sterling Silver DNA Necklace 18 Inch Chain and DNA Earrings (Pewter) sterling silver leverbacks are options as well!

If your mom is more of a physics nerd, then you can get her this awesome necklace!

Science Symbol Necklace
Purchase on Amazon

Other science nerd jewelry options are the  Caffeine Molecule Necklace in Silver Tone Alloy by Silver Phantom Jewelry, both available on Amazon. Each necklace arrives in a black velvet bag for safe keeping.
or if you mom isn’t a big coffee drinker, you can get her the Happiness Serotonin Molecule Necklace for Pursuit of Happiness and Wish for Well-being, Unique Nerdy Science DNA Chemical Pendant Necklaces (Silver Tone).

If you are looking to splurge a bit, check out these beautiful pieces of jewelry!

Creativity – Dopamine Serotonin Acetylcholine – Molecule Necklace in sterling silver gives you 3 neurotransmitter on one bracelet! I love this bracelet. It’s elegant enough to wear for special events. If mom loves chocolate, get the classy Theobromine Chocolate Molecule Necklace in sterling silver.
Equally as gorgeous is the DNA Bases Molecular Charm Bracelet in sterling silver.

Book: Kitchen Science Lab for Kids!

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family Friendly Experiments from Around the House (Lab Series)

Science stimulates curiosity and sparks the imagination at any age. Especially with this nifty lab manual that brings research to the kitchen. Your scientist-in-training will analyze a variety of amusing experiments enriching their creativity.

One deterrent for kids jumping into science headfirst is fear of the unfamiliar. As a kid, I did not have the highest opinion of science. At-home Chemical Reactions Kit didn’t appeal to me as much as an Easy Bake Oven! However, If I had the Kitchen Science Lab Book I would have discovered my love for science much earlier! This

This book brings science to the kitchen and offers inexpensive and fun experiments using ingredients you probably have lying around in your kitchen. The best part about this is that it encourages kids to keep a lab journal to record their observations. This book says it is best for kids ages 8-12 and parental guidance is encouraged. Learn and eat science with your curious kid!

Rating: 5c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d3174985c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d3174985c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d3174985c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d317498

Find other educational options for your tiny Einstein

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books for Tiny Wonderers

For older children, stimulating interest in the sciences can be difficult, as by those ages the topics become intimidating and a chore. As with most things, its best to get started early, by exposing children to topics with wide appeal that lead towards STEM. Space, animals, and dinosaurs, are all things we are frequently fascinated with as children and it is often these things that drive us to explore the world through books and knowledge. The National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book series is a great way to get children reading and learning about all sorts of things. Watch as they wow you with facts ranging from dinosaurs to black holes!

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
Price*: $9.79 Hardcover (Amazon)

As a parent, those questions about why something is this or that are often the ones that can stump you. Why is sky blue? Why do planes fly when they are so big? Maybe you know the answer, but sometimes it can be difficult to explain to a young one. The Big Book of Why tackles many of these questions in a way that is easy to digest for young children. Who knows, odds are there will be something to learn for even adults within these pages!

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of How (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
Price*: $10.00 Hardcover (Amazon)

Like the Big Book of Why, the Big Book of How takes on the question of how things work, and with children there are many! Knowledge is power, and empowering children with knowing how things work can inspire confidence in both their schoolwork and life, as it takes out some of the world’s uncertainty. Written to be engaging and funny, kids will be looking over this one over and over.

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
Price*: $9.52 Hardcover (Amazon)

On this Earth, few things are as mysterious as the ocean, and this book helps dispel some of these mysteries by shedding light on the expansive environments that make up the ocean waters. Learning about both well-known and obscure creatures will rouse any child’s curiosity about this exciting world!

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Animals (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
Price*: $9.52 Hardcover (Amazon)

For those with a passion for animals, they might want to begin with Big Book of Animals! With information on several animals from all walks of life, these books are informative and easy to read, and this instance makes a great entry into the series.

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
Price*: $12.61 Hardcover (Amazon)

How many of us spent time outdoors searching for ladybugs and roly polys? For those with an interest in the creepy and crawly, check out the Big Book of Bugs!

National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)1
Price*: $9.77 Hardcover (Amazon)

Learning about the universe can be humbling and also inherently magical, as some concepts, such as the size of some planets, distances between galaxies, and how far comets travel can be mind-boggling. This book helps make some of these concepts accessible and fun. After going through the Big Book of Space, your child will be the acting astronomer in your household!

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
Price*: $9.22 Hardcover (Amazon)

Back when I was a child, I couldn’t get enough of dinosaurs. And if this book were around, it’d definitely be a part of my collection! The Big Book of Dinosaurs will teach children about many dinosaurs, including teaching you how to pronounce some of those difficult names (I sure had difficulty with some of those names). A great gift for any young dinosaur fanatic.

Best Microscopes to Buy For Kids!!

The invention of the microscope changed the way we look at our world. By allowing us to see what we could not with our naked eye, it was as though a new universe were unveiled. In our modern world, we now have entire fields of science devoted to studying this tiny world, with a multitude of microscope types to help view it. With microscopes nowadays being more accessible than ever, with several affordable options and applications, you too can get a glimpse of the microscopic world.

When looking at microscopes, it is helpful to know what makes it work. Typically, one looks through an eyepiece, which is linked to an objective lens, the component which does the magnifying. Microscopes can come in compound, stereo, or digital varieties, which differ in how these pieces are arranged. In compound microscopes, there are either one or two eyepieces that look through the same objective lens. They are the most common type of microscope, many allowing for very high magnification, mostly suited to viewing items on glass slides or petri/culture dishes. Stereo microscopes use two objective lenses, one for each eyepiece, giving you depth perception you can’t get with a compound microscope. Stereo microscopes are also known as dissecting microscopes, as their low magnification and dual-objective perspective makes them ideal for magnifying larger objects which you’d like to see in more detail. Digital microscopes are used to display an image on a monitor, rather than looking through a lens.

Here we compiled a some great options for entry-level microscopes that will allow you to look at the world on the tiniest of levels.

My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope – MFL-06
Purchase on Amazon

The Duo-Scope from My First Lab is a compound microscope that comes with 3 objective lenses allowing for different levels of magnification (40x, 100x, 400x). It can be converted to function like a dissecting scope (like stereo microscopes), allowing you to view larger, whole objects not on slides. With no cords, it offers portability and it also comes with several accessor903513_10200741849766571_2094569790_oies such as blank slides and cover slips, along with stains, and more to allowing you to prepare your own samples for viewing under the microscope. Makes a great microscope starter.

My girls absolutely loved it! Purchased it as a birthday gift and it was the hit of the party!

AMSCOPE-KIDS M30-ABS-KT2-W Microscope Kit with Metal Arm and Base, 6 Magnifications from 20x to 1200x, Includes 52-Piece Accessory Set and Case, Awarded The 2016 Top Pick of Microscopes For Beginners
Purchase on Amazon

The Kids M30-ABS-KT2-W Microscope from AmScope is a compound microscope with 3 available objectives allowing for magnification up to 300x, 600x, and 1200x. This microscope, along with providing levels of high magnification, also comes with a huge amount of accessories to expand your use of the microscope. From blank slides, already prepared slides with stained samples, and even brine shrimp (Sea Monkeys!) eggs for you to watch hatch and grow, it provides several ways for you to enjoy your microscope. A fantastic value.


AMSCOPE-KIDS M30-ABS-KT51 120x-1200x 6-Powers Metal Frame & Base with 52-pc Accessories, Among the TOP 3 PICKS of the Best Student Beginner Microscope Kit in 2016, Recommended by Multi Organizations
Purchase on Amazon

And it also comes in black!

AmScope AWARDED 2016 BEST STUDENT MICROSCOPE 40X-1000X Dual Light Optical Glass Lens All-Metal Framework Student Microscope + Microscope Prepared and Blank Slides
Purchase on Amazon

Another entry level compound microscope, this kit comes with 3 objective lenses, and two levels of eyepiece magnification, giving you up to 5 levels of magnification (40x, 100x, 250x, 400x, & 1000x). In addition, has several accessories, such as 5 blank and 5 prepared sample slides, to allow you full enjoyment of your microscope. It also comes with a book with information about microscopes to help spur your imagination and open the microscopic possibilities available to you.

AMSCOPE-KIDS SE100ZZ-LED Portable LED Stereo Microscope with 20X and 50X Magnifications

So far all the microscopes we have presented have been of the compound variety, with a single objective, although some also come with lighting options to allow you to use them as in a manner similar to stereo microscopes. However, the AmScope SE100ZZ is a true stereo microscope, with two objective lenses, and 2 levels of magnification (20x and 50x), allowing you to view greater detail of objects that aren’t suited to being mounted under a slide coverslip. Take just about anything that fits on the microscope stage and get a new perspective that you’d is sure to expand your mind. Ideal for those with high levels of curiosity about the world around them, this quality microscope is a great entry level alternative to a compound scope.

Making rocks fun, this ROCK ON! Game will challenge and dazzle you with Geology!

When you look at rocks, what do you see? Chunks of dirt? Pieces of the ground that just take up space? How about elemental time capsules that are almost as old as the planet itself? Whatever the case, rocks can often spur the curiosity of young minds, as they are easily accessible and often can be very pretty, shining and sparkling with all sorts of colors. To those who find themselves wanting to learn more about stones and their importance, geology is the field of choice! And what better way to learn some geology than with a game!?

ROCK ON! Geology Game with Rock & Mineral Collection – Connect with Our Magnificent Earth via an Educational Science Kit
Price: $26.95 (Amazon)

The ROCK ON! Geology Game comes jam packed with mineral specimens that span the spectrum in both color and type. You’re guaranteed stones from each of the igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary classes, so just as a matter of collection, this package delivers. However what sets this apart is the game that comes with it, which requires players to be able to identify stones by their type, will teach children geology basics, as well as observational skills. While some types of rocks are very distinctive, others require a more scrupulous eye to tell them apart. This makes the game, which comes with five levels, challenging and educational. And while we know kids can be pretty messy, this all comes in a nice carry case which makes transporting all those rocks a simple matter. Future geologists of the world would definitely appreciate a game like this!

 Rating: 5c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d3174985c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d3174985c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d3174985c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d317498

Board Game that Teaches Coding to Kids Who Love Minecraft!

Code Master Programming Logic Game
Available on  Amazon

If you know someone who loves puzzles, Code Master makes a wonderful gift, for people of all ages! This unique game teaches you coding basics, using simple commands to form complex actions to complete objectives. In this game, you control an avatar, who traverses maps to reach a temple, while collecting crystals along the way. The game contains 10 maps, with 6 levels of difficulty (and complexity) for each map, making this a game with a high replayability (60 levels!). The commands available to you control how you move, but care must be taken as you’re only allowed a certain number of moves (this feature frustrated my daughter but forced to be creative)! As you learn to play the game, programming basics will become second nature, as you learn how computers solve and analyze problems. A fun introduction to coding which teaches critical thinking and problem-solving in a non-traditional way. My girls loved it!

Best Board Games to Teach Kids Coding

What’s so important about coding?

Coding literally means the transformation of data into a form understandable by a computer – basically, telling the computer what you want it to do. Coding also factors into some everyday tasks that people perform without a second thought: for instance, programming a microwave to heat yesterday’s leftovers, or entering numbers into a calculator in a specific order. Coding today may not always look like the routine programming of the past. It can be active, visual, engaging, and most importantly, fun!

Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set
Purchase on Amazon

If you’re looking to introduce your children to coding concepts at an early age, this Robot Mouse set is perfect for kids as young as 5 years old! With it, they will begin to understand how to implement the logic of coding rules to guide Colby, a programmable robot mouse, through a maze of your own creation. Mazes come chock full of obstacles that you will have to get around. Can be combined with other sets, and with multiple sets children will be able to challenge others to mouse maze races and other activities.  Colby can be programmed to follow up to 40 steps, allowing for great flexibility and creative options. A great introduction to coding for children!

ROBOT WARS Coding Board Game – Learn and Play with Computer Programming. Geeky STEM Toy and Gift for Boys and Girls ages 7 years and up. No Prior Coding Skills Required

Purchase on Amazon

Understanding programming languages and the logic they use is a very valuable skill to develop in today’s world. Growing up surrounded by computers, many will take to wanting to get a better handle on programs and apps work. With ROBOT WARS, both kids and adults can get introduced to programming logic and coding basics!

ROBOT WARS is a board game which utilizes Java commands, in plain English, to control robots, which are used to destroy opposing robots and gain control of the board. With gameplay for up to 4 players, it is a great board game to enjoy while also picking up coding principles. As it requires a strategy for success, this game is best suited to ages 7 and up.


Littlecodr – Kids Coding Game
Purchase on Amazon

This card game began its life as a Kickstarter project. This simple game uses programming and coding concepts to program friends and family to do all sorts of fun crazy actions! A great game for all ages, with something to learn for everyone.

Robot Turtles Game
Purchase on Amazon

Another Kickstarter game, this board game is one of the first to pioneer coding concepts in a fun package to allow kids to learn programming while also having fun. Using cards, kids will write programs to control turtles, and there is great replayability with several game difficulties and levels of code complexity. With gameplay for up to 5 players, this is a game the whole family can enjoy, while also learning something new.


CodingFarmers by MathAndCoding.org
Purchase on Amazon

Coding Farmers is board game which, like ROBOT WARS, utilizes Java language to create a game that is both engaging and challenging. With several difficulties to choose from, children will understand how to use programming language and how it can make software programs function. Each action in this game is a Java command, meaning with repeated play, players will become proficient in simple programming language! This makes it especially fun for not just children, but adults also interested in learning alongside their kids.

Best Books to Inspire Young Girls to Pursue STEM!

Did you know that only a small percentage of teen girls want to become scientists? As a female scientist with two young daughters, this upsets me! Girls are just as capable as boys in STEM fields so why are a majority of books geared towards girls all about princesses? Below I’ve listed some kick-ass books profiling amazing women in STEM that aim to inspire and captivate young girls and get them thinking about science!

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
Purchase Hardcover on Amazon

This title is one of my absolute favorites! The illustrations are creative and captivating while the information is intriguing and awe-inspiring. I fully understand why this was a New York Times bestseller! Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty incredible women in every field of STEM spanning decades.

One of my favorite things about this is the infographics that teach girls about lab equipment and scientific concepts. Not only are girls learning about the powerful women that came before them, they are learning the tools needed to get there!

As soon as I heard about this book, I immediately ordered one for my girls.

A great companion book:                   

I Love Science: A Journal for Self-Discovery and Big Ideas will help young female scientific thinkers organize their thoughts and foster new ideas through inspirational quotes and examples.

Hidden Figures Young Readers Edition
Paperback (Amazon)

New York Times bestselling author Margot Lee Shetterly’s book is now available in a new edition perfect for young readers. My daughters loved the movie and wanted to learn more and this book is perfect for kids 8-12. The amazing true story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped launch our space program into greatness is one every young girl should read. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. These women sure didn’t!

Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
Paperback (Amazon)

If Hidden Figures has you itching to learn more about the women who worked in the space program, pick up Nathalia Holt’s lively, immensely readable history, Rise of the Rocket Girls.” —Entertainment Weekly

The women in Hidden Figures were not the only pioneers in the space program. This book tells the captivating true story of the women of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who launched America into space. I grew up fifteen minutes from JPL and visited it frequently which is why I was originally drawn to this book. It is nice to have a book that discusses the women who made a critical difference in the race to space.

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World
Paperback (Amazon)

One word my mother always used to describe me was “headstrong”. I never understood if that was a compliment or not until my headstrong personality helped me fight through the stereotypes and negative stigmas I encountered working in science. So when I saw this book, I was thrilled to see the title of this book! Headstrong chronicles the courageous and inspiring journey’s of 52 strong women and discusses their accomplishments, challenges, and impact on the world. These profiles will encourage young girls to engage in their interests in STEM without holding back!

Magnificent Minds: 16 Pioneering Women in Science and Medicine
Paperback (Amazon)

A notable mention is Magnificent Minds, which highlights the contributions of 16 women to the advancement of Science and Medicine. I love that it gives details that are typically overlooked when these women are profiled. Such as, Florence Nightengale’s contribution to the use of statistics in public health. This book is not only a celebration of these brilliant minds but, it also empowers girls to pursue uncharted territory in STEM.



Best Snap Circuit Kits

What are snap circuits?

In today’s age, having a grasp of electricity and how it is utilized by the machines we use every day is a valuable skill that is often overlooked. Electricity is harnessed in circuits, where an electrical stream flows, guided by switches and detours to power our phones and turn inputs, like keyboard presses, into action. Snap circuit kits teach the most basic principles underlying this machinery, showing children how to build a path for electricity to flow, how to utilize switches and sensors to create sound or ignite a lightbulb. The best part about these kits is that often there is much to learn from parents as well. We hope you’ll enjoy these as much as we do!



Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit
Purchase on Amazon

This kit is extremely popular amongst STEM educators. We have used them on several occasions during outreach events or STEM workshops! This kit comes with 30 parts that have the potential of creating 100 projects for kids in grades 2 and up to engage in. This kit will provide hands-on experience and give kids the chance to snap together parts to create a photo sensor, flashing light, and more. It does require 2 AA batteries (sold separately).

This was awarded The National Parenting Center-Seal of Approval, Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products, and Dr Toy Best Educational Products.

here is also a 300 piece kit available


Snap Circuits Motion Electronics Discovery Kit
Purchace on Amazon

Another incredible kit from Snap Circuits. This kit takes the original kit and puts the focus on physics and motion. 50 parts can turn into 165 educational projects, such as creating an Optical Theremin, a Voice changer, air fountain and more. You can even connect this unit to your smart phone or iPod!

The best part about this kit is that you can use snap parts from other Snap Circuit kits. This will really allow your child’s imagination to fly!

Recommended for kids ages 8 and up.  Requires four AA batteries (sold separately).


Elenco SCL-175B Snap Circuits Lights Electronics Discovery Kit
Purchase on Amazon

This kit allows you to create over 175 projects including a glow-in-the-dark propeller, color changing LED light, strobe light and more. Honestly, out of all of the Snap Circuits kits, this is the one that draws the most attention during STEM outreach events. Who doesn’t love things that light up or glow-in-the-dark??!

Ages 8 and up and requires four AA batteries, not included.

Snap Circuits Alternative Energy Green
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We think this kit is really cool! Not only do you get to learn about circuits but education concerning renewable energy is included as well! This eco-conscious kit includes 40 parts, combines to make over 125 projects! This kit can also be combined with other kits from Elenco.

From the Manufacturer

Snap Circuits Alternative Energy Kit makes learning about electricity and alternate energy FUN. With over 125 projects to build, youngsters will have endless hours of fun while learning about circuits, electricity, geothermal power and lots more. Contains over 40 parts, including the award-winning Snap Circuits, plus an instruction manual and educational manual that show step-by-step instructions for all the cool stuff you can do. For ages 8-108. Warning: Choking hazard, small parts. For ages 8 and up.



Best Unique Crystal Growing Kits

Our earlier post on crystals featured several great products allowing you to grow them. Here we spotlight a few items more focused on their geological nature, rather than chemical. Many crystals can be found in the ground of our own backyards, with quartz commonly found in many parts of the country. Some of the more brilliantly colored crystals, like amethyst, are more difficult to find. Here we feature some products that take you through the process of digging for your own crystal treasures, perhaps an inspiration to take the experience to the natural world.

4M Volcano and Crystal Mining Science Kit
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Several crystals are formed and found following volcanic eruptions, as volcanos often spew superheated gasses creating pockets in the mineral rich lava. With this fascinating kit, you get led through the process of crystal formation and discovery by constructing an artificial volcano to simulate lava eruptions and a clay block you can excavate to unearth a variety of crystals. Makes for a great introduction to geology, with a dig right in your own home.


4M Crystal Mining Kit
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This kit also allows you to dig for your own crystals, and also comes with a nice display case to show off the treasures you find. A great gift for children 5 and up, you can find up to 8 crystals in this faux plaster rock. You can further examine your loot with a magnifying glass, allowing you get a good look at the unique features of each crystal. Definitely, a fun way to spend time with your children learning about geology!

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Uncle Milton – Star Wars Science – Lightsaber Crystal Growing Lab
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For the little Star Wars fan in our lives (or within ourselves) we have here a melding of science fact and fiction. Many Star Wars geeks will be aware that lightsabers require a crystal to work. Well with this you can grow one of your own! It has all you need to grow large crystal in a sweet display case which also produces lightsaber sounds. You can even choose to channel the light or dark side, with a blue or red display light. This kit includes information on actual crystals and how they are formed, and also some lore on the crystals used for lightsabers, making it both fun and educational.

The Science Book: Everything You Need to Know About the World and How It Works

A beautiful 462 paged book full of information about the universe around us. The Science Book: Everything You Need to Know About the World and How It Works is the perfect guide for the kid that has to know it all!

Scientist Comments: I’ve been an avid reader of National Geographic my whole life. I used to get my hands on each issue by stealing them from my father’s collection. I’d devour the knowledge on each page and even took notes on index cards for “lectures” I would give to my stuffed-toy audience. I am so happy that National Geographic is going strong and putting out quality books that I can now share with my own kids, as well as students that I meet during outreach events.

This book covers multiple facets of science ranging from chemistry and biology to ecology and ethology. It’s important to expose kids to all areas of science to allow them to learn, explore, and develop their own interest in STEM. This book is particularly useful to have on-hand to answer those tough questions younger kids often ask that can stump you.

I highly recommend The Science Book: Everything You Need to Know About the World and How It Works for kids ages 10+.

Rating:   5c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d3174985c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d3174985c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d3174985c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d3174985c845abc32aca598facfcb6a0d317498


Best Crystal Growing Kits for All Ages

Crystals are amongst the most visually striking structures in the natural world, and with good reason! Crystals are in essence a purified substance that has self-assembled into one giant molecular structure. Diamonds are carbon crystals, and water crystals we call ice. Many crystals form when extremely hot water full of dissolved minerals cool, which then leads to the minerals becoming solids again. During this step, they assemble into a regular repeating pattern, which partly explains why crystals often have dramatic and almost hand-sculpted geometry.

We hope with these products you and your family will learn about the chemistry and geology behind crystals and the structures they make, and what they tell you about where they are found.


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National Geographic Break Open 10 Geodes and Explore Crystals Science Kit

Break Open 10 Premium Geodes!


While most people might not find rocks exciting, the gorgeous crystal crusts of geodes almost always inspire wonder. Geodes, which can be formed in volcanic eruptions when gas pockets are filled with minerals and water, are fascinating windows to the geological world. Often you find geodes already halved letting you see the crystals inside, but in this kit you will be the first to lay eyes on the treasures within 10 geodes! Bring your family together and discover wonderous space within these unknown treasures! Included is a guide which will teach you about geode formation, where they were sourced and the types of crystals you can observe in them.


4M Crystal Growing Experiment

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Crystal Growing Experimental Kit

If you want a kit with several colorful crystals to grow, you can’t go wrong with this one. With material to make up to 7 different crystals, you can have a load of fun learning about how crystals are formed with this kit. As an added bonus, each crystal is grown in its own display case, making them double great as great decor. This science kit contains all the materials needed to perform seven different crystal growth demonstrations.

Also available in a 3-crystal kit 4M Crystal Growing Kit, Price: $9.09 (Amazon)


Mega Crystal Growing Lab – 8 Colors to Grow with Night Light Display Stand!

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Mega Crystal Growing Lab

The products offered by National Geographic are often just as informative as they are fun. This kid allows you to grow crystals in up to 8 colors, and also includes actual gemstones (which are themselves crystals), giving you examples of colorful crystals found in nature. It even comes with light-up display to illuminate your crystals. Makes a great gift for youth interested in geology, as it also gives them a head start on a mineral/rock collection!


The Magic School Bus Growing Crazy Crystals Science Kit

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The Magic School Bus Growing Crazy Crystals Kit

This Magic School Bus themed kit allows young investigators to learn about the crystals that pass unnoticed all around us, such as salt and sugar crystals. Kids will be able to track crystal growth in true experimental fashion, grow crystals in artistic shapes and structure, and even create a geode! For those who enjoy practical variety, this kit is sure to entertain a broad range of interests


Space Age Crystal Growing Kit: 4 Crystals (Quartz, Emerald, Amethyst)
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Space Age Crystal Growing Kit

Those of us who looked for pretty rocks as kids often found rocks of quartz, which often looked like jewels. In this kit, you have the chance to grow your own quartz crystals, in addition to false emerald and amethyst crystals. Up to 4-inch crystals can be grown with this kit, making them a nice option for those interested in growing larger crystals. The kit comes with all the necessary materials for up to 4 crystals.

4M KidzLabs Crystal Science Kit

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This kit from KidzLabs will allow you to grow up to three different crystals, each grown in a uniquely fun way! Like growing crystals on a paper tree to make a crystal tree! A fun way to grow crystals with kids as young as 10.

Glow in the Dark Crystal Growing Science Kit

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Glow in the Dark Crystal Growing Kit

Some of the most impressive crystals on earth are found in the darkness caves. But imagine that darkness was illuminated by glowing crystals? Imagine no more! With this kit, you combine the concepts of phosphorescence with crystallization to create glow-in-the-dark crystals. Complete with materials to explain the process of crystal formation and the glow-in-the-dark effects of phosphorescence, this kit is a nice mixture of fun and education, while providing a unique and novel end-result that is sure to be enjoyed for many dark nights.