Learning through hands-on activities is one of the best ways for children to understand new ideas and concepts. In our view, home chemistry sets are great for encouraging children to engage in what might seem difficult subjects.
Chemistry sets were all the rage a few generations ago, especially in the ’60s and ’70s. Ask anyone from this generation, and they will most likely have stories to tell of times spent with their family conducting wacky experiments.
These home science sets fell out of favor after that, but have recently seen a resurgence in popularity and it is easy to see why. They provide so much value, fun and learning potential in such a small package. They give a chance for families to play together that has been somewhat lost in the modern age due to the onset of technology, computer games, and smartphones.
They hark back to an honest, simpler time while taking full advantage of modern safety and learning guidelines. To help you discover the best chemistry sets there is to offer, we elaborated this comprehensive guide.
Table of Contents
- Best chemistry sets for kids
- Best chemistry sets for pre-teens
- Best chemistry sets for teens and adults
- How to buy the best chemistry set
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best chemistry sets for kids
1. Learning Resources Primary Science Deluxe Lab Set
The learning resources lab set is just a fantastic starting point for any young learners out there. It will introduce them to the basic concepts of science and chemistry while being safe and fun. It covers many concepts such as problem-solving, motor skills, multi-step directions, matha, and observations.
This kit is very hands-on and is just begging to be played and experimented with. The experiments are presented with cool activity cards that are easy to follow as well as a write and wipe journal. The materials provided are very durable so your child can do their worst and throw them around and they will still last.
Some of the experiments include growing gummy bears, making paints and ice cream. As a side note, be aware that you will need to add a few materials from the supermarket to complete all the activities present, but that should not hold you back.
2. Learn & Climb Kids Science Kit
The learn and climb science kit is targeted for children aged 5 and up and is full of over 65 colorful and engaging experiments to try at home. It allows budding scientists to explore and have fun in their very own homes. The kit consists of 55 pieces and includes all you need to get experiments up and running, besides a few household items.
There is also an easy to follow DVD with instructions and a gorgeous color manual. Some of the fun experiments included are sprout gardening, creative crystals, and explosive volcanoes.
When opening the box, you will see that everything is arranged logically and that it is easy to conduct the experiment one by one. This kit is also geared towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning.
3. Ben Franklin Toys Chemistry Lab Pad Science Kit
The Ben Franklin (yes that one) chemistry kit is a fantastic entry-level set for children as young as 5 years old. It features 12 complete experiments for you to try at home, using household items, so no need for a trip to the supermarket.
It has easy to follow instructional cards that your child can use as a guide, all while being a very colorful set that will keep your child’s attention. It is a STEM educational toy that features a unique ‘lab pad’ that keeps all your science tools neat and tidy.
Since the set has over 50 pieces in total you will definitely put that pad to good use! There is also a cute certificate of excellence that you can present to your child when they have finished all the experiments. You can even have a graduation ceremony! How cute is that?
Best chemistry sets for pre-teens
1. Playz Edible Candy! STEM Chemistry Kit
Everybody loves candy. That is just a fact of life. Now, the only thing better than candy is having a blast making candy that you can eat. That is where the candy chemistry set comes in. It follows STEM learning and provides you with all you need to run fun experiments using food items.
The instructions are easy to follow with a bright and colorful manual. This set is very high value with over 40 experiments and 27 tools and ingredients. When you are done, you can just eat everything and start again!
2. Scientific Explorer Magic Science for Wizards Only
For all you budding Harry Potters out there, there is the scientific explorer magic set. This set is unique and educational all around, and the premise of it is experimenting with magic tricks. If you ever wondered about the science behind the magic, then this is the set for you.
The kit comes with everything you need, just add a few household items. Themed sets like this can be good for children who may lack confidence in science, but due to the magic theme, they will find the going less daunting. The bright colorful graphics are easy to follow and instructions are logical.
3. Thames & Kosmos C1000 Chemistry Set
Thames and Kosmos makes a range of highly regarded chemistry sets for the more advanced users. This one is their entry-level set and as such is perfect for pre-teens. These sets have a more professional feel to them and approach experimentation using the proper scientific method.
You can set up your lab at home, learn how to safely handle chemicals and materials while doing so. The equipment included is of very high quality to allow you to conduct experiments properly.
There are around 125 experiments in total tailored toward the beginner chemist as well as a full-color manual with detailed step by step instructions.
4. National Geographic Mega Crystal Growing Lab
National Geographic is one of the science world’s most recognized brands and, if that name is on a product, you just know it is high quality. This set is all about growing vibrant and beautiful crystals from the comfort of your own home.
You can do this in 8 magic colors. The instructions are easy to follow, with two growing chambers and a night light display to show off your achievements. Again, this set is all about STEM learning and you will get 5 real gemstone specimens to learn about.
Best chemistry sets for teens and adults
1. Thames & Kosmos C3000 Chemistry Set
This set by Thames and Kosmos is their most advanced one to date and is the most complex on our list. It is aimed at ages 12 through to adulthood and does cover some pretty complex stuff. Great for those eager to become more advanced in their scientific knowledge.
You will get the best quality equipment to do over 333 experiments! The topics covered a range between equations, atoms, and bonding as well as chromatography and electrochemistry.
As a side note, some of the chemicals needed for some of the experiments listed in this set are difficult to get in a few US states, so read through the list before buying it.
2. Happy Atoms Magnetic Molecular Modeling Introductory Set
The Happy Atoms set is unique in the chemistry set as it focuses solely on atomic chemistry. You can build, scan and identify molecules, a great way to understand bonding, chemistry and the building blocks of our world. Included here is a 17 atom set and a free happy atom app and starter manual.
The app is especially cool and shows a willingness to bring chemistry sets into the modern era. This set provides a fun mix of digital and physical learning that most other sets simply don’t.
How to buy the best chemistry set
Chemistry sets can be wildly varying in their content and this makes it difficult to understand if they will be right for your child or you. The single most important factor to look out for is the targeted age of the kit, as well as the current learning level of your child.
It is an oversimplification to just look at the recommended age of a kit, match it to your child’s age and hope for the best. It is, of course, a factor of life that children learn at different speeds, this is natural. This means that the recommended age should only be used as a guideline when purchasing a set.
Don’t be afraid to start off with simple sets as your child becomes accustomed to the processes of working with scientific methods, then increase the difficulty as they learn.
For younger children
Younger children learn through touch and play. There are plenty of sets out there that are very hands-on for young learners. Chemistry sets that focus on something fun like magic, color or candy making would be a sure-fire hit. As long as it is simple and fun, they will just love it.
For older children
If your child is aged 8 to 13 years then chemistry kits that have a lot of variety is a good place to start. Children this age get bored easily and need constant new stimuli to keep them engaged. There are sets available that have over 150 different experiments! Other great options would be explosive experiments and crystal growing, or slime making. Slime making is especially popular with older children these days.
For teens aged 13+, the complexity of the chemistry sets needs to increase to satisfy their inquisitive minds. Look for sets that follow a school curriculum for homeschooling perhaps, or sets with a little more complex guidelines to follow. Children this age love being challenged, and that will bring the best out of them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How young can children start doing chemistry experiments?
Overall the generally agreed upon starting age where children are able to use chemistry sets is 3 years old. At this age, they are able to partake and understand some basic concepts and have fun with science. Of course, they must always be supervised by a responsible adult.
Can chemistry sets be a part of children’s education?
Any form of supplemental home education will be beneficial to a child’s development if it is done correctly. Science is best with active learning, and the more one takes part in experiments and activities, generally speaking, the better they will learn. Chemistry sets are lots of fun and children learn better with play.
Can adults use chemistry sets designed for children?
Of course! Even in adult life, we are all young at heart, right? There are so many chemistry sets available and they are all varying levels of difficulty and fun. You would be surprised at how complex some of the sets aimed at older teens can actually be.
In addition, many of the sets have over 100 experiments that can be conducted, so even as an adult, you are sure to find something to tickle your interest.