Photo of Michael Lampert

Michael Lampert

Professional Education Expert

Best Science Projects for Elementary & Best Science Experiments

Featured On:

  • Disney
  • USAToday
  • PBS
All science starts with exploration and there is no better way than to play with toys to understand science. In my classroom, I have a whole drawer labeled “physics toys” just to spice up the lesson when my kids are feeling down. I especially like teaching the younger kids by visiting them in the elementary schools. I hope parents recognize the importance of playing with your children. Toys can be a lot more if you spend the time and explain the science behind them. I selected toys that are some of my favorites, some that I have had success with in classrooms, and some that are not regulars in toy stores.

Kids will love the best science projects for elementary age students. Choose from the best science experiments and best educational toys for hours of the best fun science around.

Best Science Toys Elementary by Michael Lampert

The Best You Can Get

  • UV Beads

    Michael says: I simply love these beads. They contain a pigment inside the plastic that changes color when exposed to ultra violet light. I used them to teach about the ozone hole above Antarctica when I was down there. Make sure to purchase an assortment of colors along with leather straps to make necklaces. You can carry these with you while you hike and look at the intensity of UV radiation at higher altitudes. You can experiment with different tanning lotions to see if they really block UV light or try them in the car and see if the window blocks UV. While these are appropriate for elementary age kids, adults will love to string a few on their coat zippers while they go for a hike. I highly recommend these beads as a way of getting kids to think about science in a fun and artistic way.

    • Inexpensive
    • Colorful
    • Explores ultra-violet spectrum
  • Airzooka

    Michael says: I blast my students thirty feet down the hall when they are late to class. These really work! It is amazing that air can travel like this. The science principle behind the Airzooka is that a toroid of air can travel in a straight line much like a smoke ring that you may have seen old cigar smokers blow in movies. While the science and math behind such movement is very complicated, the toy is less so. In the old days, people would make these out of trash cans, but this toy is so inexpensive, it is well worth buying one. It is very fun to blow out candles from across the room or just simply surprise someone with a blast of air. This is one toy that kids cannot put down because of the fun. There are many websites that explain the physics behind this wonderful toy. Other models have smoke rings which are fun to watch but they do not travel as far as an Airzooka.

    • Sturdy
    • Endless fun
    • Explores air vortices
  • Antworks Blue Gel Ant Farm

    Michael says: I had this in my room for several months while the ants made their tunnels. This is a far cry better than the old ant farms that I had when I was a child. It is very simple to use, just place the ants in and close the lid; there is nothing more to do. The bottom of the unit has some blue LEDs to give it a futuristic color and the gel the ants dig in is actually their food. You will need to order this before winter or pay extra for a heated delivery to ensure the ants survive through the mail. I like this product because it visually shows how ants tunnel and it is fun to watch them seemingly talk to each other as they congregate in clusters here and there. An added bonus is that the farm is a great night-light. This toy really works exactly as advertised, I highly recommend it.

    • Great night-light
    • Simple to use
    • Explore insect behavior
  • Boom Whackers

    Michael says: While all music is science in action, this particular instrument is exceptional in getting kids motivated to play and learn. I use it while teaching about standing waves in physics and other properties of sound. When a student has a birthday in my class, I pass out the tubes and project the happy birthday song on the overhead so everyone can play, it is an instant hit. The tubes come with plastic caps so that you can change the frequency at which they resonate. This is a great party toy, very entertaining and it has excellent value in teaching science. Don’t forget to pick up the song book that goes with it.

    • Entertaining
    • Creative
    • Explore the science of standing waves
  • Bill Nye’s Extreme Gyroscope

    Michael says: I have used this gyroscope at many science shows for elementary students. Parents have often asked me where they can get one because it is so fun for kids. After twenty years of teaching, I can truthfully say that this one is sturdy enough to recommend for even the toughest kid. It comes with a pull cord and a nice box with instructions from Bill Nye the Science Guy, every student’s science hero. The Gyro will spin for at least a minute or more giving you plenty of time to balance it on another gyro or even on your nose. The gyro demonstrates the conservation of angular momentum. Its ability to maintain direction makes it an essential part of all rockets and missiles. I highly recommend this product.

    • Sturdy
    • Hands-on science
    • Explore the physics of angular momentum

You will be happy with any of these

  • Deluxe Spirograph

    Michael says: This old favorite subtly teaches about gears and mathematical relationships. It was one of my favorites as a child and it has stood the test of time as kids still delight in the artistic patterns they can create. What is good about this toy is that kids can see how gears rotate on each other, and can relate that to how bicycles use gears for mechanical advantage. Kids can see how circles roll inside other circles making hypo cycloids and other other fanciful mathematical forms, all the basis for wonderful science later on in life.

    • Artistic
    • Mathematical
    • Explore math and gears
  • Newton’s Cradle

    Michael says: This toy is one with which I just can’t get my kids to stop playing. They love to make it click and clack back and forth. I use it in class to demonstrate conservation of momentum and energy. It is interesting to ask the question, “When you lift two balls and let go, only two come out the other end, why not one ball at twice the speed.” That leads to interesting discussions on how nature has set up her conservation laws. Kids love this, it is great to place on your desk, and it is a toy that always gets played with. The strings can be fragile if they are pulled on, so be careful to swing it gently.

    • Nice metal design
    • Intriguing
    • Explores the physics of momentum and energy
  • Genecon Hand Generator

    Michael says: I love this toy. It comes separately or as part of a kit with lights and other electrical parts. It is amazingly sturdy and built out of strong plastic. Kids love turning the crank as fast as they can and lighting up LEDs or turning motors. If you buy the kit you can charge up capacitors and then use them to power a night-light. There are so many possibilities with this product. I like it mostly because kids see instantly that you have to do work in order to generate electricity, the handle becomes noticeably harder to turn when hooked up to a light. This lesson alone is something that stays with my students forever. The old adage; you can’t get something for nothing is scientifically true here.

    • Generate electricity
    • Very sturdy
    • Explore how mechanical energy is converted to electrical energy
  • Erector Set

    Michael says: I would be remiss not to recommend this wonderful engineering toy, especially since it was invented by A.C. Gilbert who grew up in my hometown. I played for hours with the old sets as a kid. I know students who often play with Legos like the true nuts and bolts feel of erector sets. The science here is all about levers, gears, and pulleys. For the budding mechanical engineer, I really feel this is a worthy toy to invest in. There are many different specialty kits available but I like the feel of the tool box idea that has lots of parts to explore and build with.

    • Hands-on
    • Build working models
    • Explore the science of levers, gears, and pulleys
  • Digital Blue Microscope

    Michael says: I tested one of the earlier versions of this microscope and I was impressed with its ease of use, the ability to make a time lapsed sequence of photos, and the reasonable optics for the price of the scope. Admittedly this is for the older crowd, but with kids making movies at early ages now, I really think a studious six grader could find this very entertaining. I especially think this is a great alternative to computer games! Parents should look into this, especially those who are not aware of the remarkable advances in digital microscopy. I had a student do a wonderful project using polarized filters and I think the young crowd would generally like to play with this scope. Digital blue makes other education products you might be interested in, too.

    • Interfaces with your computer
    • Makes time lapse videos
    • Explores microscopic science

Related Articles

With the best science projects for elementary kids, your little ones can't help but fall in love with science. Choose from the best science experiments and best educational toys that inspire kids to investigate the world around them. The best fun science, these science projects recommendations could help create the next Einstein.