When a youngster shows an interest in science, it's always good to keep that idea alive. An age-appropriate chemistry set can enhance a student's understanding of chemistry, lab procedures and overall science education. You can find safe chemistry kits for young students, although you should always be around to supervise experiments, and you also can buy great chemistry sets with professional-quality supplies and materials for an older student.
The best set in our product lineup, the CHEM C3000, is designed essentially for high school students who already have a reasonably solid knowledge of science and can handle risky substances. The other two top sets in our lineup are the CHEM C2000 and CHEM C1000. The outstanding firm Thames & Kosmos makes all three of these sets, which progress in difficulty and variety. To find out more regarding chemistry kits for kids, take a look at our articles on chemistry sets.
A good chemistry set enriches your child's curiosity about how materials interact, how everyday processes work, and how to properly conduct an experiment using the scientific method and step-by-step procedures. A chemistry set for kids with excellent written instructions guides your child through experiments that can be enjoyable as well as educational.
Things to consider in a chemistry set include the number and type of experiments, supplies, chemicals and learning materials. Be sure to also note the age group for each kit. Some of the lower-ranked kits might not offer the comprehensiveness of the top-rated kits, but they would be appropriate for beginners. We paid particular attention to the following criteria in choosing the best chemistry sets for kids.
The kits on our lineup cover a wide variety of experiment types. Some of the most common types of chemistry experiments for kids who are beginners involve acid and base reactions and growing crystals. Intermediate kits offer experiments that focus on chemical identification, chromatography (working with colored inks or dyes), and states of matter such as changing solids to liquids. The more sophisticated student might enjoy more complex experiments, such as organic chemistry experiments involving plants, showing the difference between atoms and molecules or among mixtures, colloids and solutions.
The next major component to examine is what supplies come with a chemistry kit. The sets we reviewed include many common lab items such as beakers, measuring spoons and cups, safety glasses, and pipettes. Some of the specialized kits have custom supplies that are not standard lab equipment but are designed specifically for particular experiments. Kits that emphasize safety are a real boon for you and your children. Good-quality kits come with safety glasses. Another thing to look at is whether a thermometer is included in a particular chemistry kit and what it contains. Some manufacturers do not use thermometers that contain mercury. Instead, they contain a red dye, which avoids any risks posed by mercury should a thermometer break.
Of course, you want to know as much as possible about the chemicals included in a chemistry kit for kids. Pay attention to whether a kit includes all chemicals required to perform the listed experiments. While most of these materials are easy to find, our highest-ranking products contain everything you need to conduct experiments. Generally, most kits come with some chemicals but also require you to purchase some to complete or repeat certain experiments. Some kits don't include chemicals at all and you have to provide your own from around the house or buy specialty chemicals. For these kits, at least a few things require a trip to a grocery store, hardware store or shopping website. For specialty chemicals, Best Science Supplies is a good choice. If you live in an area where grocery shopping is scarce or you are really pressed for time, a kit that comes closest to being all-inclusive is a better choice than one that requires you to supply many more chemicals.
Without learning materials, these sets wouldn't provide much more than mysterious concoctions. In order to really learn from a chemistry experiment, you have to perform it correctly and understand the underlying concepts. Every kit presented here comes with an experiment procedure manual and some explanation of the scientific principles involved in each test. Other kits take it a step further and provide detailed background information about each experiment and, in some cases, general scientific information. Well-written manuals offer clear directions, address safety procedures and discuss proper disposal of chemicals once an experiment is finished.
Whether you have a child who is just getting started with a chemistry kit that contains only a few basic supplies or a teen who is determined to win first place at the state science fair, there is a great chemistry set for him or her. The criteria we've determined can help you decide which chemistry set for kids is the best for your aspiring scientist.