8 Science Classics Everyone Should Own at Some Point in Their Life

Since starting as Scientifics Direct, I quickly discovered that there’s quite a list of classic science products. Packed with fun and brimming with nostalgia, these scientific demonstrations are hard to resist. Whether a perfect addition to your desk or the tool to unlock scientific curiosity in young minds, this is a section you don’t want to miss.

With so many options, it’s hard to decide between them, especially as they holiday season is approaching; these science classics are the perfect addition to any gift. That’s why I compiled this list of 8 must have science classics – you’re not going to want to miss these.

Take a look:

The Famous Drink Bird (2 Pack)

This might be my favorite product on this list. The Drinking Bird is a pure ‘70s throwback, plus a fantastic demonstration of thermodynamics. Fun for adults and child, this bird will periodically dip its head into a glass of water placed in front of it. Using properties of thermodynamics, converting thermal energy into mechanical energy, you’ll see the liquid within the bird’s body slowly rising right until it takes its sip.

Note, this isn’t for small children as the chemicals within will stain but it’s perfect for any desktop decoration.

We actually have a Drinking Bird going constantly in the marketing department. It’s become our mascot named Alphonso and is constantly running. When we set the Drinking Bird up, we weren’t expecting much, but since we’ve had Alphonso drinking up for over a month, the expectations have been surpassed.

The Famous Drinking Bird (2 Pack) #3053617


Wave Form Helix

Cue the jingle: “Who walks the stairs without a care; it shoots so high in the sky. EVERYONE knows it’s…” Yes, everyone whose childhood home had a staircase owned this classic spring toy (and sang that song: “…Fun for a girl or a boy!”). Try one today, though, and you’ll be disappointed. They just don’t make them like they used to! But we, at Scientifics, do!

Scientifically known as a ‘Wave Form Helix’, our metal helix is designed with a higher spring rate constant than others on the market meaning it performs just like it did back when we were kids!

I’ll be honest, hate the jingle, but I love the product. It’s one of the most fun ways to demonstrate Newton’s laws and wave motion. Whether you send it tumbling down the stairs or work with the helix on a table, it’s a great demonstration to show to show off – laughs guaranteed.


Wave Form Helix (#3152914)


Hand Boiler

These looped and twisted glass sculptures do more than just look cool. This thermodynamic display shows Charles’s Law and vapor-liquid equilibrium in a way that children can understand. As you hold your hand over the bottom of the boiler, the liquid will heat up and appear to boil. The liquid condenses into gas, causing it to rise before condensing again.

Although this isn’t for small children, the Hand Boiler is serious fun! They create a fascinating science toy and an incredible demonstration. Show this to the little ones and they’ll be “oh-ing” and “ah-ing” the whole time. You’ll want one in every color – I sure do.


Hand Boiler (#3052382)


Chrome Newton’s Cradle

This is truly iconic. When I think of science desk toys and physics demonstrations, Newton’s cradles come to mind. Seen on desks everywhere, this demonstration has never gone out of style. From the days of Mad Men to the offices and workplaces of today, you’ll still see Newton’s cradles. This is my go-to gift for anyone starting their first office job (it’s become a running joke at this point).

This executive desk toy is an excellent way to show the conservation of momentum and energy. Just pull back one or more of the balls and watch them all swing, clicking back and forth until they stop. It’s a perfect science demonstration to show off the well-known Laws of Motion. Make physics come to life with the swing of a chrome ball.


Chrome Newton’s Cradle (#3156861)


Astronaut Ice Cream Sandwich

For the little kids aspiring to be an astronaut in space I couldn’t imagine a more perfect gift. This freeze-dried ice cream treat requires no refrigeration and is just like the food they eat in space. Plus, it tastes just like ice cream (I can’t believe it either, but it’s true)!

Do astronauts really eat ice cream sandwiches in space? Only NASA could say for sure, but you’ll feel like a member of NASA’s team eating one (my nephews and I did). You’ll want to get extra; as you give them out you won’t be able to resist trying one for yourself. It’s like buying candy – always buy extra for yourself.


Astronaut Ice Cream Sandwich (#3157356)

8” Plasma Lightning Ball

This light-up sphere never ceases to amaze. Art and science meet in this Lightning Ball producing one of the coolest science demonstrations around. Touch this lightning-filled sphere’s glass surface to watch colored bolts of light that follow your fingertips (or tip of your tongue if you’re a little bolder).

Filled with a specially formulated blend of inert gases to create the dramatic display of lights inside, this isn’t a toy. It’s an exhilarating science display that keeps every engaged. In my 7th grade science class, we used one of these for the lesson and it was easily one of the best classes of the year. We all had a chance to go up and see how it reacted while the rest of the class would watch and laugh. And yes, someone in my class touched their tongue to the Plasma Ball.


8” Plasma Lightning Ball (#3081803)


DC Motor Kit

This hands-on science demonstration is the first step toward understanding the mechanics of the world. You’ll be able to assemble the small motor and then see how it works. Work with a motor you build yourself, an experience no longer seen in most intro shop classes or physics lessons.

At first, I didn’t really understand the big deal about the DC Motor Kit. Then I gave it to my oldest niece to test out. She learned so much during it, and my dad saw it; he went on about engines for a good 30 minutes. It pulled the nostalgia out of him. It really became a good bonding moment for him and his granddaughter.


DC Motor Kit (#3157611)


Scientifics® Famous Star and Planet Locator

This professionally calibrated tool is a must have for any aspiring astronomer. Whether already or a master of the sky or just learning to read the stars, this locater and 16-page, illustrated booklet is the key to unlocking and understanding the cosmos.

This locater makes it easy to pinpoint the position of 500 stars and the Planets. It’s an easy to use and easy to understand roadmap of the sky! And it’s updated every 4 years so it’ll always match the space above.

I brought this over to my sister’s house for her family to use with their telescope. Pardon the pun, but it was like night and day once they started using the Locator. Nothing’s better than using the telescope and actually knowing what you’re looking at. Now with confidence they can find the constellations of everyone’s zodiac sign and that small, bright crescent is Venus.


Star & Planet Locater (#3009227)


Classics are Classics for a Reason

For science enthusiasts, there’s nothing like a classic scientific demonstration that’ll have you brimming with nostalgia. And this list definitely does that while touching on the applied sciences, reminding us all of why we love them so much.

While the Famous Drinking Bird is my personal favorite, there’s some amazing products on this list that I can’t get enough of. They’d make any science lover excited to open a gift with any of these 8 tools and demonstrations.

But if there’s something else you’re looking for, check out our Science Classics page with dozens of products that didn’t make it to the list.