18 Tools For Occupying Your Most Curious Students in Grades Pre-K-5

Spark their imaginations with these picks.

17 Tools For Occupying Your Most Curious Students K-8


Kids are born with an innate desire to learn, but some children take curiosity to an entirely different level. As they age, these inquisitive kids don’t just ask, What’s that? but also Why? and How? and What if …? They are our future movers and shakers, the ones who won’t rest until everyone else sees the world in the unique ways they do.

It can be a challenge to keep kids like this engaged and out of trouble. So, we’ve looked high and low to compile this list of tools for your curious students with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!

Grade Pre-K

1. National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

Your three-year-old has questions—lots and lots of questions—but that doesn’t mean you have all the answers. If they want to know why the sky is blue, why doughnuts have holes, or why cats purr, this is the book for them.

 

2. Melissa & Doug Bug-Catching Tools

Gift ideas for curious learners

All outdoor explorers need this bug-catching duo, the Happy Giddy Bug House and Happy Giddy Bug-Catching Net, which allows them to get up close and personal with the creepy crawlies lurking in their backyard.

 

3. Fat Brain Toys Balancing Bear Buddies

Gift Ideas for Curious Kids

Put one bear on; take one bear off. Watch them rise and fall. This balancing act will keep little hands busy trying to understand the laws of physics in the cutest way possible.

 

4. Battat Take-A-Part Toy Vehicles

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

If your kid is fascinated with how machines are made, this airplane or crane truck will help them find out. Large tools made for small hands allow kids to build and unbuild over and over again.

 

5. Magnetic Tile Building Sets

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

There are a lot of options for magnetic tile sets and for good reason: They are eye-catching and sturdy to build with, interchangeable across most brands, and nearly indestructible. The options for constructing are limitless. Three sets we love are Magna-Tiles, Magformers, and PlayMags. Kids can build up (tall towers and castles) or down (laying the pieces across the floor like a track for trains or cars). In addition, add-on sets allow kids to attach wheels to their creations and set them in motion.

 

6. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. BugOpticals

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

Ever wonder what the world would look like if you were a bug? This handy tool lets kids manipulate a variety of colored and magnifying lenses to get a new perspective on their world.

Grades K-2

7. Animal books by Steve Jenkins

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

Steve Jenkins knows animals. His fascination with our furry, scaly, and feathered friends—combined with strikingly unique illustrations—make his books a must-have for animal lovers. Our favorites? Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember, Creature Features: Twenty-Five Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do, and Actual Size.

 

8. Beginning Microscope Kit and Prepared Slide Set

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

This microscope is a great one for beginners, since it doesn’t require much adult participation. Kids can put their own found treasures under the microscope to view, or you can include a set of pre-made ones to get them started.

 

9. Kiwi Crate Subscription Box

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

Kids love getting mail addressed to them, but mail that lets them create, experiment, and invent is even better. Kiwi Crate has age-by-age options for high quality STEAM projects; kids can do everything from exploring flight to making their own pinball machine.

 

10. KLUTZ LEGO Make Your Own Movie Kit

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

For kids with a vast LEGO collection, this stop motion animation kit makes movie-making a total snap. Projects are scaled from beginner to advanced and offer step-by-step instructions on creating 10 different animated scenes.

 

11. Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

Create a maze and program your robot mouse to make its way through to the cheese at the end! This is a perfect introduction to coding for kids who love to solve problems.

 

12. Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Adventure

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

If traveling the world with your kids isn’t in your budget, you can still introduce them to the sights, sounds, and cultures found across the globe. They can explore locations on their own, test their knowledge with quiz games, and even sync the globe to a special app that turns it into a 3D adventure.

Grades 3-5

13. The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

This book is for all the kids who devoured National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why as toddlers and are now looking for more advanced fare. Macaulay breaks down the mechanisms behind the simple and not-so-simple machines we use every day, like zippers, can openers, touchscreens, grand pianos, and 3D printers.

 

14. Leonardo da Vinci Catapult Kit

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

Pre-cut wooden pieces make assembling this catapult—crafted with da Vinci’s original design in mind—engaging and educational. And the best part? Once it’s built, your kid can actually use it to catapult lightweight objects across the room.

 

15. SmartLab Toys Smart Circuits Games & Gadgets Electronics Lab

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

Any kid obsessed with electronics would be happy to tinker with this circuit lab. They can explore electrical currents, conductors, and light waves or build one of the many interactive games and gadgets in the accompanying lab book.

 

16. KLUTZ LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

If your LEGO-addicted child isn’t interested in movie-making, he or she might love getting their hands on this chain-reaction kit instead. This kit offers instructions on building several moving machines that can operate independently or interconnect to create one large machine.

 

17. Little Passports: World Edition Subscription Box

Gift Ideas for Curious Learners

With a blue suitcase and personalized passport, kids can virtually travel to a new country each month through Little Passports. Souvenirs, activities, and photos unique to nearly 30 countries are mailed throughout the year (along with passes to an online “Boarding Zone” of bonus content), sparking your child’s interest in all things international.

 

18. 4M Tin Can Robot

Who doesn’t love robots? With only a recycled aluminum can, kids can build a motorized robot that suits their own individuality, then watch it zoom across the floor.

 

What works in your classroom for your most curious learners? Add ideas to the comments below.
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Sarah Bradley

Posted by Sarah Bradley

Sarah Bradley is a freelance writer, creative writing teacher, and the founder of Pen to Paper Creative Writing Services. She lives in Connecticut with her three young sons. In her "free time," you can find her homeschooling, baking, and looking for new DIY projects.