Encourage someone’s boundless curiosity this holiday season. Here are 11 gifts designed for your niece who’s going through her “why” phase, your little cousin who dreams of being an astronomer, or your favorite young-at-heart amateur inventor. 

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1. THE ALPHABET OF ANIMAL PROFESSIONS POSTER, $29

Help some little ones learn their ABCs through this cute, whimsical poster that imagines how animals might earn their living. Ducks are doctors, penguins are photographers, and zebras are zoologists. 

Find it: Pop Chart Lab

2. LAB TEST GAMES; $20

These four particle-inspired brainteasers can keep the whole family occupied over the holidays. Take the wooden puzzles apart and put them back together in the shape of an atom, a molecule, a particle, and a cell. Try not to peek at the solutions!

Find it: UncommonGoods

3. BIOLUMINESCENT DINO PET; $60

Satisfy someone’s need for thousands of pets by making them the caretaker of legions of dinoflaggelates, plankton that glow neon blue at night. The dinosaur-shaped tank will be a bright, low-maintenance addition to any family. 

Find it: UncommonGoods

4. LETTERS FOR KIDS;$6.50 PER MONTH OR $66 PER YEAR

Nothing’s more exciting than getting a letter in the mail—especially for kids who weren’t alive for the pre-email age. Every month, the literary website The Rumpus commissions young adult and middle-grade authors to write letters for kids 6 years and older. A monthly subscription gets your young bookworm two letters a month from authors like Lemony Snicket, the Newbery Medal-winning Susan Patron, and more. 

Find it: The Rumpus

5. EDIBLE CHEMISTRY SET; $18

If you give something to a child, chances are, it’s going to end up in their mouth. Why not just embrace it? This edible chemistry set teaches youngsters about reactions through safe-to-consume experiments involving carbonation, turning green jelly blue, and more. 

Find it: UncommonGoods

6. ROBOT TURTLES; $18

Robot Turtles is more than just a fun board game. The successful Kickstarter product is designed to teach children as young as 4 the basics of programming. Kids (and adults!) have to make silly noises to move their turtles around the game board in pursuit of jewels. 

Find it: Amazon

7. BUDDINGSTEM TRAIN DRESS, $39

This t-shirt dress from buddingSTEM—a company devoted to providing clothes for science-loving girls who don’t need another princess dress—is made for young transportation nerds and aspiring engineers. It’s perfect for masterminding model train routes and brainstorming locations for the family’s next travel adventure.

Find it: buddingSTEM

8. MUDWATT CLASSIC KIT, $58

MudWatt’s science kits turn dirt into a power plant. Each kit harnesses microbes growing naturally in soil to generate electricity. Just add dirt, and after a week, it can power a digital clock. In the process, kids learn about microbes, soil, and the science of electricity.

Find it: Amazon

9. LITTLEBITS GIZMOS AND GADGETS KIT; $200

Future inventors, tinkerers, and programmers will love these piecemeal building blocks. The kid-friendly circuit modules snap together to make tiny robots, with no previous programming knowledge required. The LittleBits kit comes with all the tools necessary to make 12 inventions, including a wireless doorbell and a spinning lamp, plus whatever else your favorite curious kid can come up with. 

Find it: Amazon  

10. DUNECRAFT CARNIVOROUS CREATURES SCIENCE KIT; $35

Young botanists and nature-lovers will delight in this terrarium grow kit for carnivorous plants. It comes with an LED light that’s powered by USB, so no need to worry about finding sunny window space. These insect-eating plants are sure to get any kid's attention. 

Find it: Dune Craft