Learning Chemistry: The Best Books, Games and Websites for 9-14 year olds

Chemistry Books
Introduction to Chemistry text book

Lots of children get a taste for science in secondary school, when they are taught Chemistry, Biology and Physics as separate subjects for the first time. However, there are a huge number of science resources out there for younger children to pique their interest and help lay the groundwork for future study.

Evoking images of fizzing test tubes and mad professors, it doesn’t take much to get youngsters enthusiastic about Chemistry. Here is a selection of science books, games and websites to get you started.

Chemistry Books

The-Element-in-the-Room-Investigating-the-Atomic-Ingredients-that-Make-Up-Your-Home-by-Mike-Barfield
The Element in the Room: Investigating the Atomic Ingredients that Make Up Your Home, by Mike Barfield

The Element in the Room: Investigating the Atomic Ingredients that Make Up Your Home, by Mike Barfield

This beautifully illustrated Chemistry book is filled with facts about the 92 elements that make up the universe. Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2019, it invites children to join ‘Sherlock Ohms’ on a mission to investigate the elements from aluminium to zinc. Some pages are also dedicated to ‘Atomic Comics’, which tell the stories of the ‘headless chemists’, ‘the bearded detectives’ and the Greeks.

Suitable for 8 to 11 year olds.

Chemical Chaos, by Nick Arnold
Chemical Chaos, by Nick Arnold

Chemical Chaos, by Nick Arnold

Part of the Horrible Science collection, Chemical Chaos is a romp through the ‘nasty bits’ of Chemistry. Arnold promises bubbling green mixtures, poisonous potions, horrible smells, bangs and blasts. The book contains fact files, quizzes and cartoons, and is perfect for children – providing they are not squeamish! Arnold’s Nasty Nature and Fatal Forces are excellent follow-ups, if your child enjoys Chemical Chaos.

Suitable for 8 to 12 year olds.

Science Experiments you can Eat, by Vicki Cobb
Science Experiments you can Eat, by Vicki Cobb

Science Experiments you can Eat, by Vicki Cobb

While the title might be slightly alarming, this book of experiments conveys the impact science has on everyday life. Readers don their lab coats (or aprons) and discover the Chemistry behind mayonnaise, meringues, muffins and microwave popcorn. Learning Chemistry can be dry at times so food-based experiments are a great way to engage children – and to teach them some cookery skills along the way!

Suitable for 8 to 12 year olds.

The Elements Book: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table, by DK
The Elements Book, by DK

The Elements Book: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table, by DK

This beautifully presented guide is filled with high definition photographs and is ideal for children to dip in and out of. Addressing natural and man-made elements in turn, it contains over 1000 photos and explains the properties and atomic structures of different materials.

Suitable for 9 to 12 year olds.

Women in Science, by Rachel Ignotofsky

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, by Rachel Ignotofsky

It is crucial for girls to understand that STEM subjects are not just for boys.

A number of great books focusing on female scientists have been published in recent years and Rachel Ignotofsky’s study of female pioneers is one of the best. Filled with illustrations and infographics, this book is a celebration of women who made important contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from both the ancient and modern worlds.

Suitable for 9 to 11 year olds.

It’s Elementary!: Putting the Crackle into Chemistry by Robert Winston
It’s Elementary! by Robert Winston

It’s Elementary!: Putting the Crackle into Chemistry by Robert Winston

British professor Robert Winston is a fantastic writer and makes ordinary objects seem extraordinary. With the help of colourful pictures, this fast-paced book starts with an introduction to the development of Chemistry and goes on to explain the periodic table.

Suitable for 9 to 12 year olds.

Science Encyclopedia: Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More, by National Geographic Kids
Science Encyclopedia by National Geographic

Science Encyclopedia: Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More, by National Geographic Kids

This encyclopedia is less Chemistry-focused thanDK’s Elements Book, and covers robots and plate tectonics as well as atoms and food chemistry. Packed with photos and containing a detailed glossary, it allows children to explore life on earth and beyond, and helps them find interesting topics to explore in greater depth.

Suitable for 9 to 11 year olds.

Home Lab: Exciting Experiments for Budding Scientists, by Robert Winston
Home Lab, by Robert Winston

Home Lab: Exciting Experiments for Budding Scientists, by Robert Winston

In this recipe book of experiments, children learn how to make slime, invisible ink, sturdy bridges, baked alaskas and much more. There is also a ‘great outdoors’ section where children leave the house to make wind catchers and erupting volcanoes. If you’re hoping for a quiet weekend, it’s best to keep this book tucked away on the shelf – learning science has never been so hands-on.

Suitable for 9 to 12 year olds.

Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh
Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh

Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh

Catherine Thinmesh’s best-selling book looks at the ingenious inventions women have created over the years. Windscreen wipers and chocolate chip cookies both feature, as do the inventors Ruth Wakefield, Mary Anderson, and Stephanie Kwolek. If you would like to teach your daughter – or your son – about the amazing world of science, this is a fantastic place to start.

Suitable for 10 to 12 year olds.

Chemistry Games

Top Trumps Chemistry

Top Trumps Chemistry
Top Trumps Chemistry

In this addictive Chemistry card game, players compare the properties of different scientific elements in a race to the top. Each of the 30 cards represents an element and players compare their melting points, density, price, discovery date and atom size. Adults as well as children will find plenty to enjoy.

Suitable for 8 to 14 years old.

BrainBox Science

BrainBox Science
BrainBox Science

This portable game covers important topics from the Key Stage 2 curriculum. Containing sturdy, good-quality cards, it tests children’s memories as well as teaching them about life cycles, light, plants, the human body, magnets and materials.

Suitable for 7 to 11 year olds.

Chemistry Websites

Kahn Academy

For older children who like to study online, the Khan Academy’s Chemistry page is a great resource. Broken down into sections, and containing videos and quizzes, it is ideal for both learning and revision.

Suitable for 13+ year olds.

BBC Bitesize

The BBC’s educational Chemistry site is perfect for children in Key Stage 3.  With clear explanations, videos and fun quizzes, it gives children the basic information they need to progress in Chemistry.

Suitable for 11 to 14 year olds.

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