Books make the best gifts. I may be a little biased, but I love giving books as gifts. I think they offer a personal connection. You are either saying, I loved this book and I think you will too. Or, I know you love cats, science, history, etc so I thought this would be a great book for you. It means you have listened to them when they have shared something with you and that you took the time to notice. To see all the posts in this series, click HERE.
If you have a budding scientist in your house, either of these books would make a great gift for them. Third graders through middle school will love trying out these cool experiments and problem-solving solutions!
TRY THIS! EXTREME
50 Fun & Safe Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You
By: Karen Romano Young
Photographs by: Matthew Rakola
Published: September 26, 2017
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books
Basic principles of science are introduced in kid-friendly terms, steps, and photos to get kids excited about science. There are 50 experiments that kids can carry out with minimal adult assistance. They include subjects that kids are interested in and are curious about. All the experiments use items found in or around your home with a minimal need to purchase ingredients. Some of the experiments take minutes, some take hours or days to see the results. Some even require a few friends to carry out the tasks.
Our daughter’s science teacher had Experiment Fridays when she was in 6th Grade. So, on a rotating schedule, she was required to present a science experiment in front of the class. How I wish we had had this book then! This book has the perfect amount of simple to complex experiments all with the ability to be done mostly by kids.
The book is divided into categories including Snow and Ice (perfect time of year for those) Survival Skills, Feel the Force, Animal Superpowers (get the pets involved) Special FX, Water Way to Act, and Hot Stuff. Some of the experiments that interested me were Frozen Bubbles. I’ve seen them on social media and they look so cool. So far it isn’t cold enough here yet to try that one, but I’d like to try it and then try taking some cool pictures of the frozen bubbles. Another takes just a friend, a ball, and a playground. It wants you to try playing catch while sitting on a merry-go-round. It’s harder than you think.
Have you ever stood in a doorway and pushed your arms against the door frame and then stepped out of the door to your arms floating upward on their own? That trick is in here too with an explanation of what is happening.
One of the experiments Reagan did for her class was Elephant Toothpaste. A super easy but very cool experiment. We have also done the colored dye in milk and the kids loved that one, creating cool art with the dye. One that looks super fun is a human spirograph. I could even see my high schoolers wanting to try that experiment.
As you can see this book is full of fun activities and a great way to keep your kids busy AND learning while they are off for winter break. You could also gift this to your child’s science teacher. The back of the book offers ideas for each of the STEM categories for the K-12 Science Standards.
Karen Romano Young is a science expert and author. She is leaving for Antarctica in January of 2019. You won’t want to miss her posts. Check out her website, HERE. To see all of her books, click HERE.
To purchase a copy of TRY THIS!, click the photo below:
Wild and Wacky Challenges for the Genius Engineer in You
By: Joan Marie Galat
Published: March 13, 2018
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books
Does your child love to create with Legos? Do they like taking things apart to see how things work? Then you may have a budding engineer in your house. SOLVE THIS! is the book for them.
This book gets kids excited about engineering and the miracles it can create all around the world. From skyscrapers to bridges to protecting your holiday candy stash, this book shows kids how simple engineering can be….and fun! First, it explains the various jobs related to engineering and then gives readers a chance to try out each type of engineering. Engineering helps solve problems and there are plenty of opportunities in this book for kids to try solving various issues.
I loved the problem idea of getting a book off of the tallest shelf on a bookshelf using only things available to them in the house. I have this problem frequently since I’m not very tall and need to get an item out of a high cupboard (usually above our fridge). If I’m the only one at home, I need to figure out a safe way to get the item down. Various ideas are written down as part of the brainstorming step including asking a tall person (that’s what I usually do) to knocking the book down with a broom to the extreme idea of building a robotic hand to grab the book and pass it down. The point is to get kids to work through the process and solving the problem. The obvious solution isn’t necessarily always the best.
With photography, illustrations, and side bubbles from experts, this book is extremely kid-friendly and quite funny in places. For the kid who always seems to want to be tinkering, this book gives them lots of ideas for making something work better or to make an activity more fun. The great point that every solution shows is that there is usually more than one solution to solve the problem. Creativity and imagination are encouraged and sometimes the smallest item, like a paperclip, can be the thing that offers a solution. Give them this book and they will be busy for days!
Joan Marie Galat first became published at the age of twelve as a weekly newspaper columnist. She is now an award-winning author of more than a dozen books for children and adults. For more check out her website, HERE. See all of her books, HERE.
To purchase a copy of SOLVE THIS!, click the photo below:
I will be linking up this review with other bloggers on Booking Mama’s Kid Konnection, HERE. There you will find other children’s and YA book related posts every Saturday.
Check out these other Science and STEM-related books:
Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of the book for the purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.