10 Holiday Gifts for Budding Scientists

Rock Science Kit
If your kids (or you) have ever wondered why one rock has a different color than another, this is the perfect gift. Creative Kidstuff

Kids love rocks, and thanks to the Rock Science Kit, they can now see what they're made of, too. This kit contains 15 different varieties of rocks, a handheld magnifier and a guide that walks fledgling geologists through the identification process. They'll learn to classify rocks according to three primary types -- sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic -- and put scientific skills to use, including observation and testing. Specifically, children can learn to test rocks for certain characteristics that can help in identification, such as hardness, shine or color streaks.

The kit itself keeps children busy as they study and identify rocks, but it also can become a springboard to future rock-collecting activities. Encourage the sampling of local rocks and the comparison to geological souvenirs from other locales. The collection can even be expanded to include vials of soil samples that can be used to compare and contrast composition.