Chemistry, child’s play – Tomorrows leaders

Science and chemistry has been responsible for the majority of human progress over time.  Scientific breakthroughs have resulted in electricity, satellite technology, and smartphones, things that just a generation ago, would have been considered impossible.  Inspiring young people towards careers in science has never been more important.  Luckily, there are some toys that can inspire them from a very early age.

Chemistry sets have long fascinated children interested in exploring the world of science.  According to an article in Smithsonian magazine, the first children’s chemistry kits date back to the late 18th century in Britain, where they were often used in classrooms.  In the U.S., John J. and Harold Mitchell Porter produced toy versions called Chemcraft kits that promised to pave the way for careers in chemistry.  Nobel prize-winning chemist Robert F. Curl recalls receiving his first chemistry set at age nine.

During the 1960s, safety concerns caused a decline in their popularity and resulted in more stringent regulations regarding content labeling. The recent challenges faced by the scientific community as the global population continues to grow has inspired a whole new generation of future scientists.  Strong sales figures reflect the renewed interest in science.

Today, children as young as six years old can begin learning the scientific laws of cause and effect by conducting safe, simple chemical experiments. Chemistry sets of increasing difficulty encourage children to learn the basics of scientific inquiry before engaging in more complex experiments.  The accompanying manuals are also more comprehensive and include instructions for proper handling and disposal of included materials.  They also include the history of the experiments, which provides a valuable foundation of scientific knowledge.

Designed for children aged eight and older, one kit contains everything needed to perform 40 different experiments.  More advanced budding young scientists aged ten and older can learn about litmus paper, surface tension and air pressure while investigating the chemical properties of common foods and liquids through kitchen chemistry.Thames & Kosmos CHEM C3000 (V 2.0)

Future environmental protection experts aged 11 and older can safely learn about combustion, electrochemical reactions and the physical properties of common elements with the CHEM C2000 set, which includes a 128-page instruction manual for over 250 experiments.   They can graduate to the CHEM C3000 for those aged twelve to fifteen, which includes experiments that utilize heat to demonstrate chemical reactions. The 192-page manual contains chemical equations, illustrations of atomic structures and an introduction to the periodic table. It serves as excellent preparation for high school chemistry.

Throughout history, science has played an important role in improving our quality of life.  It will continue to play a vital role in expanding our ability to utilize the natural resources of our planet to the fullest for the benefit of all mankind. Chemists have been changing our daily lives for centuries.  The chemists of tomorrow will create the world beyond what we are capable of imagining today, just as those of the past helped create miracles like the screen you’re reading this on right now.  The right inspiration and education can help them do just that.

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