Test tubes line the wall and bubbling liquids flow from various beakers on a desk. Murky steam fills the air and a feint indiscernible smell accompanies the sound of electrical noise emanating from each light socket. A mad scientist stumbles into the room holding a glowing test tube with a long pair of metal grips. The sweat drips from his brow as he carefully drops his special chemical into a Petri dish. It's alive! It's alive!

While not as popular as "Fireman" or "Spaceship Pilot", the position of "Mad Scientist" still ranks as a popular childhood play subject. Any child today would thrill at the sight of a brand new chemistry set as his or her mind would undoubtedly race with thoughts of all the things they could do. If you are looking to buy a chemistry set for your child, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that everyone has a good - and safe – time.

The most important thing to remember is that a chemistry set is not a toy. It is not the type of product that you can leave with your child unsupervised. Even the simplest kid-friendly chemistry sets may contain chemicals or materials that could potentially be hazardous. Keep this in mind when buying a chemistry set since you should be prepared to engage with the product yourself with your child at your side. Once things become safely familiar then a child may be able to work with the components on their own.

The prices of chemistry sets may range from quite cheap to extravagantly expensive. Never forget about planning an expected budget for your purchase because it is easy to get carried away with all of the products available on the market. Sometimes the kid in us awakens and we get tempted to buy an elaborate product that looks the most exciting. But remember that you should pick a chemistry set that is appropriate to the age and expectations of your child – not yourself.

As a parent it is a good idea to be aware of all the contents within a chemistry set. While you don't need expert chemical knowledge and shouldn't expect to be familiar with each and every chemical, keep an eye on the components and make sure the kit isn't too unwieldy to manage. Also keep an eye out for a chemistry set that comes with its own container or holding case to help you keep things organized.

Remember that a chemistry set is more than just vials of chemicals. It may also come with pipettes, thermometers, magnifying glasses, and wire holders. Perhaps the most important thing that you should look for in a chemistry set is an instruction booklet. Make sure to check on the outer packaging to see that one is included. Without a good instruction booklet, a chemistry set is nothing more than a collection of ingredients and the average person would have a hard time figuring out how all the pieces interact properly. With an instruction book however, all the experiments and activities come to life and you get full value from your product.

A perfect chemistry set matches a great instruction booklet with a wide variety of materials and narrows in on a specific age group. Not all great sets are expensive, but take the time to compare a few before settling on what seems like the best fit for you, and do not compromise if a set seems to be missing a key component. It's a special thing when you find a product that can be educational and entertaining at the same time while allowing for participation from a parent. A chemistry set can be fun for the whole family and who knows – you might be fuelling the interest of the next great scientific mind.