Science Gift Guide 2011
Top Holiday Picks from the Exploratorium Store
[caption id="attachment_3798" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Recesky Twin Lens Reflex Camera Kit"][/caption]
Build your own twin lens reflex camera, discover crafts to keep geeky hands busy, learn math in a wizardly way and create and navigate obstacle courses. These are just some of what the Exploratorium has come up with for the holidays, with new gifts that go beyond the everyday. Chosen by the staff of the Exploratorium, the world’s first and foremost hands-on science museum, these toys and gifts make science come alive in fun ways.
These items and more can be found at http://store.exploratorium.edu, or call (415) 561-0393 for phone orders.
All proceeds from items sold at the Exploratorium Store support the activities of the Exploratorium. Stop by often — in person or on the web — and take a little science from the Exploratorium home with you for the holidays. Among them are:
Recesky Twin Lens Reflex Camera
This DIY kit contains all the parts you need to build a fantastic, plastic twin-lens camera, while learning the inner workings of this type of film-based tool. Equally fun to build as it is to use, the Recesky produces photographs with quirky and charming characteristics – soft focus, distorted colors and other strange optical effects. It takes just 1-2 hours to assemble when you follow the illustrated instruction booklet, and no additional tools are needed. The instructions include tips on taking photos and photographic tricks. Pick up a roll of 35 mm film (not included) and get acquainted with the craft of old-school photography! For ages 14 years and up. ($39.95)
World of Geekcraft : Step-by-Step Instructions for 25 Super-Cool Craft Projects, by Susan Beal Craft meets geek in this super fun book that features 25 projects from top crafters. Plant a Star Wars terrarium, cross stitch a Super Mario surrealist sampler, or bake and decorate an Arduino-themed cake. Projects are divided into ‘easy,’’ intermediate’ and ‘Warp Speed – advanced,’ so there is a project for any crafty geek - and those who love them. (Chronicle Books, $19.95)
ROBOCUP Measuring Cups
Let a robot help you out in the kitchen with the ROBOCUP measuring cup set. This 7” tall robot assistant stands at attention on your counter, until it’s needed to come apart and meaure your ingredients. The cups break down into 4 well-marked vessels with ¼ (60ml), 1/3 (80ml), ½ (120ml) and 1cup (240ml) pieces. Made of ABS plastic, ROBOCUP comes in bright red. ($8.95)
Math * A * Kazam! – The Equation-Making Game for Math-A-Magicians
Learning math skills-meets-wizard play in this equation-making game for “math-a-magicians.” Using a magnetic magic wand, each player draws numbers from the cauldron to create a math equation in 30 seconds. Players earn extra points when they can use magic jewel chip numbers in successful equations. But be careful…if you drop a chip, you lose a turn! Play can be adjusted to include subtraction, addition, multiplication and/or division. For 2 to 4players, 6 years and up. ($19.95)
Build action-packed structures that become obstacle courses and racetracks for a set of lightweight balls. The kit consists of planks and blocks, 50 high precision pine pieces to be exact - and 2 specially designed balls. A step-by-step booklet filled with colorful photos and tips prompts the fun. Young builders can create an endless numbers of designs that will engage them on concepts of gravity, velocity, force, momentum, balance and imagination! For ages 7 years and up. ($19.95)
Thames & Kosmos Perfume Science Experiment Kit
Follow your nose on a fragrant journey through the science, history and art of making perfumes with this kit. It includes four basic perfume oils, plus four creative oils and all the tools needed to mix, blend and store your creations - the possibilities for fun and education are endless. The kit’s workbook covers setting up your laboratory, the physiology of smell and the chemistry of scents, history of perfume making, and how to train your nose to compose and design fragrances. It also includes games to be played with your sense of smell, as well as discovering additional techniques for making scents from items found in the garden or kitchen. For ages 10 years and up. ($59.99)
With it’s own traveling case, this magnetic activity kit promises hours of creative fun anywhere you bring it. Inside the case there are 42 well-crafted, colorful wood blocks with magnetic backs - and a deck of 50 full-color design cards to help spur the imaginative play. Layout themes include animals, faces, vehicles, sports and structures. For added fun, the inside panels are also dry-erase marker ready. For ages 3 years and up. ($24.95)
The Baffler – Spiral of Archimedes
Designer and multimedia artist Chris Yates presents yet another in his series of challenging and fun jigsaw puzzles in his Baffler series with “Spiral of Archimedes.” This 69-piece puzzle is made of sturdy has a seemingly random layout, and is cut in the oddest ways to make it as tricky as possible. It will simultaneously delight and confound you! With no straight edges, no overlapping shapes – how do you complete the puzzle? It’s baffling! For ages 12 and up. ($10.95)
Perplexus Rookie, the latest clear plastic ball puzzle in the Perplexus series, introduces new comers to the world of Perplexus - and brings a whole new realm of perplexity to old hands to this puzzle game! Perplexus Rookie will develop your skills as you learn to bend, twist and turn a small chrome ball all the way around the 70 gravity-defying barriers and tracks. Once you try it, you won't want to put it down. For ages 4 years and up. ($8.95)
Have your alphabet blocks been, uh – around the block? A is for Apple and B is for Boring, but with Fred’s XYZ Blocks, Z is for zombie when humor and a modern perspective ups the ante in wooden letter block play. Cleverly illustrated, the set includes 26 letters, 11 numbers, 6 moods – from perky to cranky – and 52 illustrated words. So cool, this set might find it’s way from the toddler’s floor to the hipster’s mantel. It comes packed in a durable wooden storage tray. For ages 4 and up. ($30.00).