Holiday shopping is in full swing! The malls are filled with families checking their lists trying to find gifts for loved ones – especially the little ones.

It’s easy to walk into a toy store and purchase the latest dolls, action figures and video games, but if you’re looking for something that’s truly unique, perhaps this year, you should consider giving the gift of science.

It’s never too early to spark a child’s interest in science and the incredible world around them.  In fact, promoting a child’s sense of wonder at nature from a young age and allowing them to make their own discoveries can help foster their curiosity.

There are all sorts of science kits and fun experiments that are suitable for both boys and girls of any age. You can also purchase activity books with multiple experiments and ideas that use everyday household items. For example, taking a Styrofoam tray, straws, and a balloon can create a homemade rocket balloon car! Your little scientist can experiment with different materials for the wheels to see what works best, while learning about kinematics and motion.

These kinds of gifts can keep kids busy, not just during the holidays, but for months to come and don’t require expensive materials. Science-related books are also great because they tend to cover a wide variety of topics including: biology, chemistry and physics, but at a level appropriate for a young scientist!

Remember, it’s all about getting children to be inquisitive about the natural world, and to develop their ability to make and test out their own predictions. The scientific process that allows them to explore, investigate and to make their own discoveries is often more important than the final product itself!

It’s amazing how putting this kind of present under the tree, can help encourage children to dive into science at a young age and develop a true appreciation for scientific discovery that will help motivate them in school, and beyond, for years to come.