Science and Discovery gifts will be well received by tweens ages 8-12 years if you understand what form of science in which they are naturally interested. An interest in a budding zoology field will require a different gift then someone interested in a chemistry or astronomy field. Look for the signs and offer gifts that challenge them to discover more. The following list ideas for gifts from the different science areas.
BIOLOGY GIFT IDEAS
For instance, the Harry Potter fan may be interested in learning about the insects in the books. These include dung beetles, fleas, spiders, moths, lacewing, wasp and midges. To learn about these bugs a good place to start is with the book Pet Bugs: A Kid's Guide to Catching and Keeping Touchable Insects by Sally Kneidel ($12). This informative book will answer questions about insects and show how to catch and keep insects. It also shows how insects interact with each other and the role they play in our environment. Ant farms have always been a popular kit to receive also. They come in an array of styles. Who knows the exploration in bugs may lead to an interest in Entomology (the study of bugs) like Gil Grissom in the popular TV show CSI.
A budding biologist will be interested in discovering what things look like under a microscope. Looking at bugs, plants and swamp water will help them discover the smaller parts that make up life. Microscopes can be found in a wide range of prices and age appropriate options. Is there a medical researcher or lab technian in the future?
CHEMISTRY GIFT IDEAS
Making your own makeup and soap from kits will naturally encourage chemistry skills and give the tween a product to use on them self. Start with the Perfume Science Kit-the art and science of making scents or the Creative Cosmetics-the science of skin care kit (about $55 each).
Offer the gift of a chemistry kit such as the one by Thames & Kosinos for ages 10 and up; Chemistry Kit CHEM C1000 ($75). It makes chemistry fun by learning how to identify chemical substances with a flame test and learning some chemistry magic tricks.
PHYSICS GIFT IDEAS
Tweens that enjoy learning about electricity, alternative energy, or radios will welcome the alternative of learning from test books to the hands on experiments they will be able to do with the Milestone in Science Kit made in Germany ($80). The Tween 10 years and older can expect to learn about the great scientist and then use the kit to actually perform the science. The kit comes with the science tools, experiment books and information on famous scientist such as Einstein, Darwin and Copernicus.
A Discovery Hydrogen Fuel Rocket ($40) will provide lessons in physics and alternative energy.
COMPUTER SCIENCE GIFT IDEA
Encourage an inventive tween who dreams of an easier life (don't we all) or someone who enjoys Sci-Fi movies and books to learn how a computer works with the Winner of the 2007 Parent's Choice Silver Award, the Microcontroller Computer Kit ($150).This is designed to teach ages 12 and up to build circuits and write programs to a number of digital gadgets. Give them the power to change the world by learning what a computer is capable of helping them to do, when they understand how to use it. Who knows, they may make a noise meter that will shut off the music of their older sisters radio when it reaches a certain level. Or perhaps a volt meter to test for shorts in electrical cords or appliances.
ASTRONOMY GIFT IDEAS
A gift of a telescope will encourage a budding astronomer in the discovery of space. Being able to search for a star named after them with that telescope will make them feel special. There are numerous books on star constellation and planet discovery. Pick one that has good pictures or one that will glow in the dark so you can follow it while you are in the dark. If seeing the stars is a problem, Make the stars shine with the Discovery Star Theater ($25). It projects a night sky onto the walls that is realistic.
Lastly, don't be left in the dark about gift certificates for admittance to science museums, zoos, planetariums and nature centers either. They offer hands on experiences and the time can be shared with the gift giver. Another idea is to check with National and State Park nature programs and colleges that offer summer camps to encourage exploration into the science fields. Camp tuition or tickets wrapped up in a brochure or tucked in a book will be something with which to look forward.
Looking forward to giving the gift of science and discovery should be easy and rewarding, when you have an understanding of the different studies in the fields and the recipient. This is just a short list to get you thinking. Find these types of gifts and more at DiscoveryChannel.com and DiscoverThis.com or visit science museum gift shops in your area.