Chemistry experiments really are one of the best ways to get children interested in science. Plus, chemistry kits make fun gifts that kids love, rarely realizing how much they’re learning.
Once you’ve decided to go the chemistry kit route, it’s just a matter of what kit to get – which is definitely the hardest part (especially if you’re indecisive – speaking from experience). I did the heavy lifting and ended up with a list of 6 (okay, 7) chemistry kits that make the perfect gift.
I picked a few categories, focusing on the different types of kits and chemical reactions. I went through dozens of options, weighing the merits of each chemistry kit, looking at the learning outcomes, the experiment quality and the overall fun factor. There were some close calls, but I managed to keep the list short and sweet.
The results are in and the superlatives are ready to be announced on our favorite chemistry kits for this year. Meet your winners:
Chem C1000 Chemistry Experiment Kit (& the C3000 Chemistry Experiment Kit)
for the C1000 –OR– for the C3000
I’m going to start right off and say yes, this has 2 winners. And I’ll tell you why. They are both high quality, foundational kits teaching science incorporated into their school curriculum at their age. The C1000 is perfect for late elementary school and early middle school, while the C3000 Kit picks up at late middle school and early high school instruction.
These kits include chemicals, labware and the best and most in-depth instruction manuals that include a detailed interpretation of experiment results. Your child will perform hundreds of experiments with each kit. They’ll be able to use these kits to build a strong foundation in chemistry with hands on experience.
There’s a reason these kits have been around for over a decade. It is such a strong learning tool! I remember when I started here, the marketing manager had to bring in his son for the day and we busted out the C1000 and did a few experiments out of it. Not only was he entertained, but it put him ahead for the science lessons his class started a few months later.
Chem C1000 Chemistry Experiment Kit (#3152699) & C3000 Chemistry Experiment Kit (#3152701)
14-in-1 Classroom Chemistry Lab Kit
This kit is literally the classroom experience at home. The 14 experiments incorporated into this kit are science labs commonly performed in elementary and middle schools throughout the US. The instruction manual is detailed, explaining not just the experiment but the concept behind it. Plus, it includes enough supplies to perform each experiment – and see the results – more than once (my favorite part of this kit).
I do want to note that you will need to provide a few common household products for some experiments – like a little bit of bleach or some plastic cups. All the labware is included, though.
I couldn’t imagine having not picked this kit for the Best Classroom-Like Experience. It recreates the experiments performed in class, lining up with the curriculum! It’s the real deal. Some of these kits are in real classrooms, even. Plus, it offers easy-to-understand explanations of the concepts. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good experiment if the children performing the experiment don’t understand it.
14-in-1 Classroom Chemistry Lab Kit (#3157476)
Yummy Rainbow Lip Balm Lab
We have a lot of great kits in this realm, but this is my favorite for the learning experience just as much as for the product you create during the experiments. With this kit, your little one will be able to make a variety of colorful and flavorful lip balms and glosses. And as they’re walked through each step of the process, they’ll be able to learn about the chemistry of it, the biology of skin and nails and simple lab techniques. Plus, the included lab station is fun and cute to decorate.
It’s a great way to make chemistry fun using something your little one is already interested in. And with winter coming up, it’s a great choice for the incoming chapped lips. Perfect for boys, girls and the whole family, it’s a great activity on a cold winter weekend. It isn’t a stretch for me to see my sister’s family – including her husband – getting involved in this project.
Yummy Rainbow Lip Balm Lab (#3157432)
Steve Spangler’s String Slime MEGA Kit
This unique take on slime is science they’ll want to share. Coming out in long, fluorescent noodles, it has major WOW factor. Gooey slime is inside. The strings can be torn, revealing the gooey bit and then resealed.
It’s also not as messy as normal slime (a parent win right there) and doesn’t require any glue or borax. It’s how I’ve managed to reintroduce slime into my oldest sister’s household.
When I brought this kit over to my sister’s house, my nieces and nephews were all over it. We made so many noodles, and we didn’t even make everything the kit was able to (120’ of slime noodles) – it’s a lot of slime. My one nephew made a special request that I bring it with me the next time I came by the house. I have a sneaking suspicion I got at least one of them hooked on science that afternoon.
Steve Spangler’s String Slime MEGA Kit (#3157030)
Groovy Glowing Candy Lab
I want to start by saying this one is super fun. Also, I’m biased because I really love candy. This kit allows you’re little one to make candy that glows. Using a small amount of a natural ingredient (riboflavin, aka vitamin B2) these gummies will glow under a blue light. And it’s not just gummies; you can grow rock candy too! Yum!
As your little one walks through the steps of the 16-page manual, they’ll be able to learn about the chemistry of glowing materials and pigments. There’re even some physics concepts touched on, discussing light and electromagnetic waves.
Not only is this a fun and tasty learning experience, but it’s easy to digest for young minds. I gave this to my sister to do with her kindergarten-aged daughter, and you could tell she learned so much. I was also informed that the treats tasted fantastic, especially the fruit punch flavor.
Groovy Glowing Candy Lab (#3157428)
Chemical Monsters Kit
This is the kit to go with if your little one is hesitant and maybe even a little afraid of science. The Chemical Monsters Kit is specially designed with those concerns in mind. The instruction manual incorporates teachings of Carl Jung meant to aid parents and child care providers with strategies and methods to encourage children while addressing fears and frustrations.
You’ll be able to help your little one as they experiment with polymers, slimes, fluorescence and more. It’s a great step into the shallow end of the scientific world before diving into a more serious kit. And bonus, the test-tube-holding monster is really cute.
When I was still in elementary school, this would’ve been perfect for me. Science was never my favorite subject in school, and it really intimidated me in grade school. I really think this would have helped ease the intimidation that seemed to shroud science in a thick layer of scary mystery.
Chemical Monsters Kit (#3157473)
For the Final Reaction
I’ve had a chance to test out most of these kits in some form, and I honestly love each one. They offer an amazing learning experience in a fun and digestible way for young minds and they encourage curiosity. That said, I do have a favorite: the Yummy Rainbow Lip Balm Lab. It’s a great way to introduce young minds to science using something they already like.
I’d highly recommend pairing a more serious, school-inspired kit with a more fun one, though. That way you’d get the perfect fix of educational, foundation building with a wow-factor that kids are eager to show off. It’s a powerful way to get them hooked on science, and even excited for it!
While these are my favorite kits, they may just be your starting point for gift-giving inspiration. If that’s the case, check out our Chemistry Kits section for even more ideas.