It’s never too early to start teaching kids about the basic concepts of chemistry, the foundational science. As they get to the right age for hands on experiments, a chemistry set is a great way to provide a safe, controlled environment. There are lots of kits with a variety of experiments, features and themes available, so we took a closer look at the 9 best chemistry sets for kids to give you some insight into what’s out there.

Our Top Picks

Thames & Kosmos CHEM C1000

Best Overall

Thames & Kosmos CHEM C1000

Thames & Kosmos Chem C3000

Upgrade Choice

Thames & Kosmos Chem C3000

The Magic School Bus - Chemistry Lab

Best Budget Buy

The Magic School Bus Chemistry Lab

How to Pick the Best Chemistry Set

1. Recommended Age

When you’re buying toys for your kids, it’s important to focus on the age the toy is recommended for. This is particularly important when it comes to a chemistry set, which in some cases may have experiments or features that aren’t safe for little users or may require supervision. When buying a chemistry set, always double check the age range to keep your child safe.

2. Number of Experiments

Some sets have only a few experiments, while others have hundreds! That’s a big difference, and if variety matters to you, this is a feature you’ll want to focus on.

3. What’s Included

The basic components of most chemistry sets are chemicals or “supplies”, tools and safety gear(generally, in a set for kids, this just means goggles). Most of the kits on our list include the supplies, tools and safety gear needed to perform the experiments that are included. The only things you’ll need to bring are items you likely already have in your home, like vinegar. Not all kits fit that bill, though, so make sure to check out what’s included to see if additional purchases will be necessary. Kid’s microscope can also be a good add to their chemistry set.

4. Safety Hazards

It’s essential to always know if there are safety hazards present when buying toys for kids. Chemistry sets are designed to be used safely and generally come with everything needed to do so, but many have choking hazards as a part of their non-chemical equipment. We’ve indicated if choking hazards are present in the kits we’ve listed so you can be aware and safe.

Although many of the chemicals included in these kits are non-toxic, they should NEVER be ingested and should be stored safely out of reach in a cool, dry place when they’re not being used. Chemistry sets should always be used with adult supervision for younger kids, but some sets require it even for teens, so take note.

5. Educational or Fun Theme

While all of the sets listed here have an educational element, some feel very scholastic while others have a thematic twist that categorizes them as a fun learning toy. Some kids really prefer toys with a fun twist, but some parents may feel it distracts from the actual science experiments by making them too gimmicky – you’re the best judge of what your child will enjoy.

6. Difficulty Level

Some of these kits are more complex than others. If your child is young or just getting their feet wet, you may want to stick to a simpler kit – if it’s not their first chemistry set or they’re older and responsible, consider a more complex investment that has greater potential for use.

The Winners

#1

Thames Kosmos CHEM C1000

Best Overall

If you’re looking for a serious chemistry set for an aspiring chemist, the Thames & Kosmos CHEM C1000 does not disappoint. Featuring 125 possible experiments, 30 chemical components, a real alcohol burner (this means an open flame, which should ALWAYS be supervised), safety goggles and authentic lab tools, there is a tremendous amount of learning potential in this set. A guide helps them to perform and understand experiments, which are designed for middle schoolers to be able to do safely while supervised. 

Recommended Age: 11+
Number of Experiments: 250
What’s Included: Tools, goggles, supplies, manual
Educational or Fun Theme: Educational
Safety Hazards: Choking Hazard, Fire
Difficulty Level: Intermediate / Advanced

#2

Thames & Kosmos Chem C3000

Upgrade Choice

If you thought the last set sounded great, you’re in for a treat. The Thames & Kosmos Chem C3000 is one step up from the C2000, featuring 333 experiments as well as 103 components that allow kids to embark on a serious learning journey. They’ll learn about performing pH tests with litmus paper, chromatography, electrolysis and electromagnetism with everything featured in the previous kit – including the alcohol burner – plus even more chemicals and tools they’ll use to learn.

Recommended Age: 12+
Number of Experiments: 333
What’s Included: Tools, goggles, supplies, manual
Educational or Fun Theme: Educational
Safety Hazards: Choking Hazard, Fire
Difficulty Level: Intermediate / Advanced

#3

The Magic School Bus - Chemistry Lab

Best Budget Buy

Ms. Frizzle takes kids on an exciting chemistry adventure with 51 experiments they’ll love from a brand they already trust to make science fun. The The Magic School Bus – Chemistry Lab takes their science seriously, and while these experiments are lots of fun, they’re also very educational and provide insight into why chemical reactions happen. There’s a lot to do here, and everything included stores easily in the bus-shaped kit the product comes in. Perhaps the best news of all, it’s a budget buy, so it’s a STEM toy that won’t hurt your wallet.The

Recommended Age: 5 – 12
Number of Experiments: 51
What’s Included: Tools, goggles, supplies, data notebook
Educational or Fun Theme: Educational and Fun
Safety Hazards: Choking Hazard
Difficulty Level: Beginner / Intermediate

#4

Playz Explosive Combustion Lab Kit

Best Explosive Chemistry Kit

Kids can make fizzy bombs, “rockets”, explosive balloons and more with the Playz Explosive Combustion Lab Kit. The kit includes the ingredients necessary to do 25 fun experiments as well as safety goggles(but don’t worry, these aren’t major explosions). The lab guide is great for helping kids understand the how and why of the explosive reactions. Although they’re reasonably tame, it’s still a good idea to use some of the experiments in this kit outside to avoid a mess!

Recommended Age: 8+
Number of Experiments: 25
What’s Included: Tools, goggles, supplies, guide
Educational or Fun Theme: Educational
Safety Hazards: Choking Hazard
Difficulty Level: Beginner

#5

The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry

Best Starter Chemistry Book For Kids

This funny and educational starter guide to chemistry concepts is great for middle schoolers, explaining introductory information in a way that will leave them both laughing and learning. Illustrations can be easier for some kids to process than a block of text, so kids who aren’t big readers but love science will benefit from this book. The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry is a good pick as a companion to an intermediate chemistry set for a young learner.

Recommended Age: 12+
Number of Experiments: None
What’s Included: Book
Educational or Fun Theme: Educational and Fun
Safety Hazards: None
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

#6

Yellow Scope Foundation Chemistry Kit

Best Chemistry Kit For Girls

Women’s role in STEM is huge, and toys that encourage girls to participate in STEM learning are very important. The Yellow Scope Foundation Chemistry Kit is a great set for a girl with science aspirations, featuring what she’ll need to perform 19 cool experiments involving chemical reactions, temperature, molecular motion and more. A journal for note-taking is included, and a chalkboard lab mat is a unique feature she can jot down quick thoughts on and later wipe clean.

Recommended Age: 8 – 12 years
Number of Experiments: 19
What’s Included: Tools, goggles, supplies, guide journal
Educational or Fun Theme: Educational
Safety Hazards: Choking Hazard
Difficulty Level: Beginner

#7

Scientific Explorer Science Kit

The Scientific Explorer Science Kit is great for early chemistry exploration, featuring a small set of test tubes, cups, pipettes and more that will make kids feel like they’re in a real lab. The safe, non-toxic chemicals can be used in 11 cool activities that produce a limited amount of mess, so they’re good inside and out. Adults won’t need a PhD to supervise these simple chemical reactions, which should always be performed on a flat surface.

Recommended Age: 6+
Number of Experiments: 11
What’s Included: Tools, supplies
Educational or Fun Theme: Fun
Safety Hazards: Choking Hazard
Difficulty Level: Beginner

#8

Scientific Explorer Magic Science for Wizards

This simple and cute kit, Scientific Explorer Magic Science for Wizards has a fun wizard theme younger kids will like. It’s a very simple kit for them to understand and use with safe adult supervision. The non toxic chemicals are used to create simple color change “magic”, and kids will make potions and tonics as well as a wizard hat and wand with the included purple paper and star stickers. It’s a good toy for learning about science while also encouraging imaginative play. 

Recommended Age: 6+
Number of Experiments: 9
What’s Included: Tools, supplies, guide, purple paper, star stickers
Educational or Fun Theme: FunSafety
Hazards: Choking Hazard
Difficulty Level: Beginner

DIY, Craft and Décor: Ideas for RC Car lovers

easy science experiments

Chemistry sets are awesome, but there are tons of experiments you and your kids can do safely with items you have around the house – check out this great list from Brandy at Gluesticks by Brandy Nelson. It’s a perfect checklist to deep dive on a rainy day when kids are complaining they’re bored.

MAKE YOUR OWN ROCK CANDY

Everybody loves rock candy, and making it is a classic childhood craft with a teachable science lesson. In case you forgot how to make it just right, Science Bob has a tutorial – be prepared to help the kids, of course, because this activity involves hot liquid. 

gumdrop structure engineering

You may have done this one in school, but even if you didn’t, you’ll want to play alongside your kids as they do the gumdrop structure engineering challenge. All it takes is gumdrops and toothpicks, as Marci at The Home School Scientist explains, to make little creations that allow kids to explore the nature of structural integrity while developing strategies and learning cause and effect.

Quick Decision

Thames & Kosmos CHEM C1000 – Best Overall
t’s a great first real chemistry set with 250 experiments

Thames & Kosmos Chem C3000 – Upgrade Choice
An upgrade that’s ideal for high school students, kids can do 330 experiments with 100+ components that are authentic and educational

Thames & Kosmos Chem C3000 – Best Budget Buy
A nice pick for younger kids, it offers 51 educational experiments with a beloved theme at a great price

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Hannah H.

Hannah H.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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