Best chemistry sets for children
£24.50, Learning Resources
'Real' science tools sized perfectly for little hands and just the thing for younger siblings to play with when big brothers and sisters are getting hands-on with their own chemistry sets. Includes a (plastic) beaker, magnifying glass, funnel, pipette, flask, tweezers, goggles, different-sized test tubes with lids and stands and suggested activity cards. Suitable from age 3.
£11.99, 4M Kidz Labs
Six simple science activities to try in the kitchen, from a lemon-powered watch to a mini volcano eruption. Some common household items are required as extra 'ingredients', so make sure you have them in stock before your scientist starts experimenting.
A brilliantly-priced first chemistry set. The equipment for 150 safety-tested experiments is in the box, including a flask, test tubes and protective goggles; what to do is explained in a full-colour instruction sheet with photos and diagrams. You will need household and kitchen items to complete some of the activities, so check the list before your mini-scientist gets to work!
£30, Thames & Kosmos
Explore chemiluminescence (the chemical reactions that produce light) with this chemistry set with a (very bright) difference. You'll make coins and radishes glow, discover the lumimous natural world, use an ultraviolet light, learn about the electromagnetic spectrum and build a glow-in-the-dark puppet theatre. Step-by-step instructions for 22 light chemistry experiments are included.
£20, Science Museum Shop
Investigate the science of baking (and pizza-making, and cheese-making) with this food science kit for children. Things will fizz, stretch and change colour as you measure acids and alkalis and understand more about chemical reactions, enzymes and mixing. You'll even end up with a few results that look good enough to eat; add the edible and common household ingredients from your cupboards and start finding out about the similarities between scientists and chefs.
£29.99, John Adams
A comprehensive basic chemistry set with 100 experiments to try to support National Curriculum learning about gases, metals, acids, alkali, salts, electrolytes, indicators, precipitates and crystals. A 24-page detailed instruction booklet is included, but it's worth stocking up on the extras you'll need to conduct the experiments (methylated spirit, vinegar, cotton balls).
£29.90 for the monthly subscription sets
A chemistry set for the twenty-first century, MEL Chemistry uses videos as well as text to help children understand what is actually happening inside each experiment and reaction; the accompanying app shows the molecules and crystal structures used in the experiments in 3D and in virtual reality. Most innovative is the delivery: you purchase a subscription to receive a starter set and then 38 experiment sets through the post, ensuring a regular supply of new materials to keep young chemists engaged. Best for ages 11+.