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Author's Note: 10 Holiday Gifts for Budding Scientists

When I was in the second grade, I found my older brother's science kit in the game cabinet. I still remember setting up the test tubes and mixing potions and concoctions in my room for most of the winter, the winds howling outside as I played mad scientist. Well, not really "mad." I was neither crazy nor angry, just incredibly curious and, frankly, quite happy with my scientific discoveries, whatever they were. This early foray into chemistry led to rock collections, summer science camps and homemade rocket launches. Although I never made a career out of it, science is still a long-held interest. But now I explore it with my 10- and 4-year-old daughters, who are currently plotting ways to record the voyage of their Beanie Boos into near space. They've been collecting materials and diagramming their plan for weeks. All that stands between them and their budding "Beanstronaut" is a weather balloon. Guess I know what's on their holiday gift list.

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