10 Holiday Gifts for Budding Scientists

A skull might be a pretty cool present, but our gifts provide more interactive fun while teaching a thing or two about science. Mieke Dalle/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

This year, skip the usual suspects. No more socks, over-hyped toys or argyle sweaters masquerading as thoughtful gifts. There just isn't any wrapping paper festive enough to mask the disappointment that's sure to ensue.

Instead, hit the holiday equivalent of a bases-loaded homerun by putting a bow on these hot gifts for budding scientists. Rather than a fake smile and perfunctory "thank you," you'll be greeted with chemical reactions that result in fake snow, "crime scene" investigations that lift stray fingerprints, solar panels that power race cars and bacteria colonies that materialize right before your eyes. This has all the makings of a merry season, doesn't it?