- Education and Science
Nature and Science Gifts For Kids and Teens
Looking for a nature or science gift for a child or teen?
Science has always been one of my families interests. Even from a very early age, my children loved listening to me read science related books to them, exploring nature, and doing a variety of hands on science experiments and activities.
On this site, you'll find a selection of science or nature gifts for kids and teens. These include live animal habitats, robot kits, nature journals, flower and leaf presses, lego mindstorms, and more.
I've included information about my family's personal experiences with most of these nature and science gifts.
Live Animal Habitats, Kits, and Books
Explore the life cycle and habits of animals by watching them grow!
What better way to learn about nature?
Raising live animals teaches children so much more about the animals, their habits and various stages, than reading books alone. It's a fabulous experience!
My son and I were there, watching, as our painted lady butterflies came out of their chrysalises and began to dry their wings. We observed tiny frog eggs become swimming tadpoles and then slowly grow legs. We watched as our little frogs began one by one to leave the water and crawl up on land. We sat spellbound waiting for our praying mantis to reach out for it's prey. Neither of us will ever look at a frog, a praying mantis, or a butterfly in the same way again, as now, well, every one we see feels like a part of our family.
By the way, we took lots of photos and kept records of the changes our tadpoles were going through. To see some of these frog metamorphosis photos and find out about our personal experiences with raising tree frogs (as well as quite a few tips on feeding and caring for tadpoles and frogs), please visit: Tadpoles To Frogs.
Raise Painted Lady Butterflies! - This live butterfly kit makes a wonderful gift for nature lovers! Ages 4 years and up.
My son and I had a WONDERFUL time raising two Painted Lady Butterflies from the caterpillar stage to adulthood! It's a memory we'll both treasure for a lifetime! In the photo above, you can see one of our butterflies on the day we let them fly free.
There is a lot of information, as well as photos of our butterflies, including ones taken moments before and after they came out of their chrysalises, at: Our Experiences With Raising Painted Lady Butterflies.
This kit comes with the 12 inch mesh habitat, food, a coupon for 5 live caterpillars (you mail the coupon in), a dropper for sugar water, an activity guide, and instructions.
More Live Animal Habitats - for learning about nature and nuture too!
So far, my son and I have raised butterflies, frogs, and a praying mantis. My daughter and I have raised ants. We've not yet raised ladybugs, but I'd like to!
This ladybug habitat allows you to watch the activities of ladybugs up close. Ladybug Land comes with the observation habitat with a magnifying lid and watering pad, a pipette, an activity guide, full instructions, and a mail-in coupon for 15 to 20 ladybug larvae. Note: You will need to pay an additional amount to receive your ladybug larvae in the mail. At the time of this writing, it's $5.
This Ant Farm comes with 15 inch wide by 10 inch high habitat, a year supply of food for the ants, a manual, and a coupon for live ants.
Bird Watching and Feeding - A Wonderful and Educational Hobby!
Bird Watching - Backyard Bird Watching For Kids!
My son and I did a homeschool unit on birds one year, and had so much fun watching the birds and identifying them! We had both regular bird feeders (on the window and in the yard) and hummingbird feeders. The kits are lots of fun to make, although you can buy premade feeders and houses if you prefer. Make sure to get a bird identification book so you can learn about the birds that come to your yard!
This book is filled with directions for projects kids can do to help them learn more about wild birds! There's also information about 20 backyard birds, photography tips, and more.
More Bird Watching, Feeding, and Housing Gifts - They make great nature birdwatching gifts!
This bird feeder allows you to turn an empty 2 liter plastic soda bottle into a bird feeder! (The bottle is not supplied. The idea is that you recycle one.) The finished bird feeder can be hung or attached to a pole.
This birdhouse is easy to build and fun to paint! It makes a great project for children!
Binoculars with a wide angle view, like these, are great for viewing fast moving objects! This easy-to-focus set of binoculars comes with UV protection, to help project your eyes. The lenses are anti-reflective.
Bird Field Guides - Identification Books For Use During Bird Watching
The pocketsized guide book is arranged by color of bird to help you quickly find a particular bird you've seen in the wild in the book. Also included are tips on attracting and observing birds, and information about habitats, life cycle, food preferences, etc.
This is an excellent question and answer book about birds.
Nature Journals and Take Along Books
Natural Journals - Create wonderful memories with your youth in nature. Create a lasting love of our beautiful world.
There are quite a few natural journals on the market. The activity of nature journaling combines science, art, and writing (usually at least to some degree) all into one nature study activity. Many of the books available give art lessons or at least some techniques, along with tips on how to set up your own journal. Some provide a variety of specific project suggestions using various art mediums. A nature journal makes a wonderful gift for a parent or grandparent to share with their child or grandchild.
This book is full of colorful drawings, information, tips on keeping a journal, and drawing exercises!
This BEAUTIFUL book suggests various nature inspired art projects!
More Nature Journals And Books On Drawing Nature - Top Nature Gifts For Those Who Enjoy Drawing and Journaling!
"My Nature Journal" is full of suggestions for nature activities, such as observing insects, writing nature poetry, watching a sunset, field sketching, going on a woodland scavenger hunt, looking for animal tracks, exploring seeds, and so much more! The book is a nice mix of informational pages and activity pages you write on.
I own this one, and have really been enjoying it! Of those I've done so far, the exercises are quick to do, and fun! I do feel my drawing is improving, even after just a few lessons.
Take-Along Guides for age 9 to 12 - Interesting Information About Nature - Great Gifts For Kids Who Love Nature And Science!
These Take-Along Guides have lots of colorful photos, information, and hands-on activities. The topics are of high interest to many kids and include tracks, birds, caterpillars and butterflies, planets, moons and stars, snakes, salamanders and lizards, and more. They make wonderful gifts for curious, nature loving kids!
Shown here is "Rocks, Fossils, and Arrowheads, but "Take Along Guides" are available for a wide variety of topics! Visit the link above and then scroll down to see all the different Take Along Guides that are available.
Flower and Leaf Press
Mini Flowers Press & Nature Cards - Great Gift For Artistic Nature Lovers!
Make nature cards from flowers you find and press! Includes flower press, watercolor paints, paper, ribbon, and more.
Magic School Bus Books
The Magic School Bus Books! - The Magic School Bus books really make learning fun!
This one was one of my kids' favorites! Okay, I admit it! It was one of my favorites too!! My kids and I found this book fascinating! It really sparked an interest in ocean life for all three of us!
More Magic School Bus Books - The Magic School Bus Lost In The Solar System, The Magic School Bus And The Electric Field Trip, The Magic School Bus Inside Ralph
Another favorite!! For my daughter's sixth birthday party, I read this book to the kids, stopping every page or two to do an activity related to the planet the bus was on or the asteroid belt it was going through!
Yet another favorite! (They're ALL such great books!!) I read this one to a group of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders during our homeschool unit on electricity. The Magic School Bus books make science so interesting and exciting! The author presents things in ways kids can really understand, too!
Robots and Lego Mindstorms
Easy plans, illustrations, and instructions for building your own rugged off-road robot!
Lego Mindstorm NXT 2.0 - Wait until you see what this Lego Mindstorm robot making kit can do!
Lego Mindstorm NXT 2.0 - Lego Mindstorms: The Best Robotic Kits!
Lego Mindstorm and Other Robotic Kits - Construct programmable robots that can speak, move, see, and feel!
If your child loves legos, and he's 10 or older, I bet he'll REALLY LOVE Lego Mindstorm kits and books! (Of course these kits aren't just for boys! If you read the reviews on Amazon you'll see that girls love them too!)
The kit comes with a 32-bit microprocessor, a large matrix display, an ultrasonic sensor, 2 touch sensors, a color sensor, three interactive servo motors. directions for building 4 robots (buy a book or use your creativity for additional robots), and 612 pieces!
My son received this set of Lego Mindstorms for his birthday this year. It was a hit! He built and programmed his first robot within about 30 minutes. He then had lots of fun changing the program to make the robot do different things. He'd ask me, "What should I make my robot do now?" No sooner would I make a suggestion, then he'd be on it, figuring out how to accomplish that task!
By the way, neither one of us had experience with programming robots, but my son found it very easy once he'd followed the Lego company's instructions just once! Kids seem to be naturals at things like this!
Science Wiz Kits
Science Wiz Kits - Hands-On Science Kits Make Great Gifts!
We've really enjoyed the Science Wiz kits at our house! Each one is like a unit study on a particular topic, but don't let that give you the idea that these kits are boring! They are tons of fun! In the Energy kit, for example, you build a solar racer, a supercapacitor car, and an electric car! In addition, you also get to make your own battery!
Each kit contains a full color, illustrated manual, complete with interesting information about the topic and hands-on activities. All of the materials are included for the hands-on-activities, experiments, and models as well, with the occasional exception of household things like tape, salt, paper towel tubes, and vinegar. For the most part, the directions are well written and clear.
Shown here is the DNA experiment kit. Other Science Wiz kits are also available!
Webpage created on 11/11/10.
Page last updated 1/15/14.