Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Top 10 Favorite Science Experiment Books for Children

As promised, here is our top ten favorite science experiment books for children. I'm sure there are many other wonderful science books out there, but these are our ten favorites, from the dozens we found, at our local library, this summer.

1. Jill Frankel Hauser's Super Science Concoctions, A Kids Can! Book. Although, this is not the book the children picked to work through this fall, it is still my top choice. The illustrations are engaging. The experiments are exciting, but easy to work with. For each scientific concept, there are several different experiments, coming at it from different angles. And, there is a complete supply list, at the beginning of the book. Add to that, thorough, but easy to understand scientific explanations, and experiments that build on each other, and you have a real winner of book.

2. The children however, preferred Janice VanCleave's 200, and some, lots of descriptive adjectives, experiments series (that's my description for the series, you can see pictured below). They actually picked 202 Oozing, Bubbling, Dripping & Bouncing Experiments to work through, this fall. These books are very nicely divided into sections on astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. The experiments are well organized, with a purpose, listing of materials, step by step procedure, results, and a why section, explaining the science behind the experiment. New terms are introduced in bold print, and can be found defined in a glossary at the back of the book. We tried experiments from several of the books in this series, this summer, and found they them engaging, educational, and easy to perform.

3. We also enjoyed Janice VanCleave's Science "For Every Kid" series. Each deals with a different scientific discipline. And again, the experiments are organized by purpose, materials, procedure, results, and why.

4. For younger children, I recommend Janice VanCleave's Play and Find Out series. The experiments are still fun, and informative, but simpler, and more about the wonder, and enjoyment of science, than the technicalities, and details.

5. We also really enjoyed Janice VanCleave's Scientists Through The Ages, which offers a short biography of famous scientists, and then a couple of experiments to highlight their work.

6. Basically any book by Jim Wiese.

7. Robert Wood's What? Experiments for the Young Scientist, is divided nicely into sections by scientific discipline, covering engineering, astronomy, chemistry, meteorology, biology, and physics. Each section begins with an explanation of the area of study. Experiments are followed by clear explanations, as well as a listing of the scientists responsible for the findings, and information for further study. It's really an excellent elementary science text.

8. Joan D'Amico's The Science Chef, 100 Fun Food Experiments, and Recipes for Kids. It's part cook book, part science text, and a lot of tasty fun.

9. Roy Richards 101 Science Tricks, Fun Experiments with Everyday Materials. This book has a number of good templates for paper type projects, for those days when you want to investigate the non-fizzing, bubbling, or blowing up side of science.

10. Robert J. Brown's 200 Illustrated Science Experiments for Children, is an older book, that is not as visually appealing as some of the others on our list. But, it is absolutely loaded with "must try" experiments, accompanied by clear, and simple scientific explanations.

I very deliberately did not list the target age for these books. Depending on how you use them, there are experiments to engage children from preschool through high school, in all of them.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Unknown said...

I L-O-V-E Janice VanCleave's books! Oh, and who knew there were SO MANY science experiment books out there- so glad you and kiddos let us in on the "skinny" of the books!

Christy Killoran said...

Thanks for sharing this list. I am bookmarking it.

Ticia said...

What a great list. I need to go to the library today, so we'll have to look some of these up.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I was so looking forward to this list - thanks for sharing your findings with us. It goes straight to my Evernote, and then we are going to try and pick up one of the books and try something out.

Butterfly said...

Thanks, it's great to know what you and your children have enjoyed, as you always do the most interesting experiments and explain the theory very well. I'll certainly add Janice VanCleave to my long wish-list!

Phyllis said...

I have noticed that unschoolers tend to be fans of VanCleave.
The book on kitchen science looks like just what I was looking for a few years ago when I taught a class on kitchen chemistry. I couldn't find what I wanted then and made up the course totally. I wish I had seen that book then. You do find the best books for science experiments.