10 (or so) Best Tinkering Gifts for Your Inventor
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It’s that time of year when parents everywhere are looking for gift ideas for Christmas. Inventors can be hard to buy for especially when they are young and still have big ideas! Enjoy a look at some of the best tinkering materials we’ve found for our young scientists and inventors.
Electronic Gifts for Your Inventor
Snap Circuits– These are snap together electric circuits with many maps to build and tons of add ons. These circuits are easy to use and easy to please since the connections are rock solid. We have an oscilloscope interface for our computer along with the alternative energy kit. Don’t miss out on Snap Circuits Green.
Old Electronics– What engineer doesn’t like to take things apart to see how they work? We have a pile of old machines we remove the power cord from so that our inquisitive 8yo can enjoy how things go together and what their components look like.
Arduino– (for middle and high school) these are microcontroller kits which you can add sensors to and enjoy. J8 cannot wait to get his…shhh…
Raspberry Pi– (for middle and high school) card sized Linnux computer you can program and use.
Books for Your Inventor
Cool Stuff and How It Works– (and the 2.0 version) This book is full of fun gadgets and tells how the technology works. From LED lights to LCD screens, this book has all the good stuff.
The New Way Things Work– a huge encyclopedia of items and drawings sure to keep your tinkerer involved.
The Unofficial LEGO Mindstorms Inventor’s Guide– full of robots to build and programs to run them.
NXT Power Programming: Robotics in C– Great guide on programming in C with your Mindstorms Kit. J8 adores this book and is sad he can’t program in C during FLL.
Advanced NXT: The DaVinci Inventions Book– another great book using Mindstorms.
C++ Programming in Easy Steps– Inventors like to be fiddlers at the computer too. J8 has read this one cover to cover and writes his own code.
Beginning C++ through Game Programming– another book our inventor loves.
Building Essentials for Your Inventor
Keva Planks– love these plank blocks that allow you to build complex structures. The more the better!
Erector Sets– The best part about these sets are the tools kids get to use!
LEGO Contraptions Books– Technic pieces you can use with regular bricks to build machines from the book.
Physics for Your Inventor
Solar Kit– large pieces which are similar to LEGO technic pieces which you can build lots of solar vehicles. This holds great interest at our house because we have a large array of solar panels on our roof and we do a lot with real time monitoring of our energy usage.
Deluxe Physics Kit– this is an advanced physics kit teaching all sort of concepts in physics using technic type pieces.
Robotics for Your Inventor
LEGO Mindstorms NXT & EV3– NXT has just been upgraded to EV3 with the release having been late summer this year. While we plan to get an EV3 kit at some point, we are heavily invested in NXT and we’ll continue to use it. Our family is a long time FIRST LEGO League family with Dan coaching and running a JR FLL event annually. Our kids participate on teams and they play at home. This has been a great investment for our family.
Remote Control Machines– this is a great kit for building machines and powering them with the remote control. A nice one for elementary aged kids and up because the pieces are larger than LEGO Technic pieces and there is no programming involved.
Other Necessities for An Inventor
Don’t forget some of the most important items for any inventor that cannot be bought.
Workspace– a place for your inventor to have ongoing projects and his work all around him.
Time– Inventors at any age need the time to tinker. Leave some margin in your routine for those explorable moments.
Other Tinker Posts from Blog, She Wrote
Learning with LEGO Mindstorms– the place to find our Mindstorms content with more on the way
How to Make a Marble Speed Trap with LEGO Mindstorms– Use the sensors on your Mindstorm brick to find velocity of a marble on a track.
Resources for Putting the Technology in STEM– a big list that will add to this gift list if you have a tinkerer!
LEGO Mindstorms: Home Kit vs the Education Kit– this is a big help if you have a LEGO Mindstorm kit on your radar!
Visit other iHN Bloggers to enjoy other Christmas Gift Lists.
Need more gift ideas? Visit Christmas Gift Guides at iHN.
I’ve got a hands-on little man who is going to make a great engineer some day! Thanks for the great gift ideas!
You are welcome Marci! We buy a LOT of science around here. : )
Some great ideas in this post for a couple of 6 year olds who just love to tinker and invent things.
Thanks- our engineer gets a lot of play and exploring time out of these items.
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