We've all got some young minds on our holiday shopping list. Heck, buying for kids is a whole lot more fun than buying for adults anyway.
Considering the wealth of gift possibilities out there, challenge yourself to only give your favorite youngsters gifts that will challenge their intellect and ingenuity. Not to mention, most of these DIY electronics, robotics, puzzles, and other so-nerdy-they're-really-cool gifts are perfectly acceptable to give to grownup kids too. It's never too late to learn something.
And, right now, this entire batch of more than 25 cool kits and projects are all also at Black Friday prices with an extra 20% off your total purchase. Just use the promo code BFSAVE20 at checkout.
If you've got a budding Picasso who also wonders a lot about how BB8 works, this kit merges the line between tech and art. Here, kids explore different projects at the intersections between science, robotics, and free expression like a mini confetti cannon, a spin art machine. and more.
Programming is a skill every kid needs to know today. That's what makes this kit the perfect introduction to the art of coding as kids learn the basic fundamentals of how computer code works by building a handful of sample projects.
What kid doesn't want to build their own robot? With this invention kit, they can start unlocking the basics of robotics, including an accompanying app to offer extra guidance in these formative projects.
Here, kids are introduced to the Sloth. It may not sound like much, but with the components and training in this kit, young creators can build and learn to program this devilishly cool little robot that actually walks, dances, kicks, and avoids obstacles.
This one isn't a full robot, but builders can create a fully robotic arm that can be programmed to carry out a host of neat functions. With the open-source MCU Arduino UNO and a servo expansion board, kids can control the four axes of the arm, make them move, and then learn intricate movements to perform.
A robot is fun, sure…but how about letting a kid build a robot gecko? With all the parts and know-how included, this remote-controlled robotic lizard walks and moves just like a real creature.
With this kit, creators have everything needed to build seven different robots with lights and moving parts. Starting off with Kickstarter and Indiegogo fundraisers, this package includes 180 components as well as the step-by-step guidelines for crafting your mini robot army.
A robot is one thing, but with this kit, users get all the pieces to actually build a flying drone. But, can a craft with cardboard arms, run by conductive silver ink, connecting the drone's hub and motors actually work? In conjunction with an integrated flight app that's included, there's only one way to find out.
Basic electronics are the start for many budding scientific minds, and this kit offers the building blocks for deeper exploration. Young engineers get a grasp on basic electrical properties and create stuff like blinking lights, beeping buzzers, and whirling motors, all by mapping out circuits on regular paper over a steel plate.
If you're going to build automations, they may as well serve a purpose…like making sure four plants get watered, for instance. Complete with a pump, soil moisture sensors, water switch, and more components, this kit lets users perfectly water plants, as well as monitor moisture levels, so they stay hydrated and healthy.
Crowtail STEAM Educational Basic Starter Kit (with Microbit Board and Tutorial) – $52.79 after promo code; originally $74
In the box, you get 12 common components like sensors, buzzers, magnetic switches, and more. With the included instructions, creators will use real programming like Python to bring those components to life in 17 innovative step-by-step projects.
The innovation continues here with 19 new projects, including 30 different models for creating a laser pointer, a rainbow light, moisture sensors, and more. DIY electronics don't feel quite so mystifying after following the tasks in this beginner-friendly collection.
With all these robotics and electronics around, is a tech-forward kid going to care about a 3D wooden puzzle? When it's as intricate as this one, they will be. Putting together this puzzle requires understanding mechanics, logic, and concentration to complete. No glue, no nails…and no quitters.
It's a dinosaur made of wood – and it'll take some creativity, imagination, and critical thought to get it put together correctly. This 3D wooden puzzle is designed to develop and improve a kid's practical ability, enhance their patience, and stimulate creative thinking.
Crafted from 90 pieces, this replica of a classic Silver Bullet sports car is the ultimate in retro cool. Builders will assemble an actual vehicle, crafting the wind-up mechanism that makes the model's engine gears turn and actually go.
Circuits and tiny robots are fun, but if you want to actually create a pocket-sized computer, this kit is for you. The BBC Micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that can be used to create everything from robots to musical instruments, with minimal coding know-how. This starter kit explores projects like controlling an LED, obstacle detection, automatic watering, and more.
Meanwhile, the Raspberry Pi is one of the most powerful single-board computers on the market, so this guide takes users through everything the mini marvel can do. This kit includes a Pi 3B+, an LCD touchscreen, WiFi adapter, and other components to create some amazing new projects.
7" Capacitive Touch Screen with 2MP Camera for Raspberry Pi 2/3B/3B+ – $55.99 after promo code; originally $79
Rather than a bundle, you can also get this deal on a 7-inch portable HDMI LCD monitor that works with virtually all systems, including the latest Raspberry Pi 3B+, BB Black, Banana Pi, and other mainstream mini PCs. It's even got capacitive touch control that makes a Pi into something closer to an iPad.
If you really want to go all-in on the Pi, this Kickstarter-created full-service Pi collection can get any user up and rolling in a million new directions. The set includes a motor, buttons, a camera, and more for taking Raspberry Pi projects to a whole new level.
There's no better way to cement Raspberry Pi, robotics, and programming training than building a smart car. This open-source robot learning kit lets even young builders create a camera-equipped car in 4 to 5 hours, then control it via PC, mobile phone, or tablet. Users can practically feel their skills growing as a project like this comes together.
Make your own
This package includes everything needed–tools and all–to create a handheld retro gaming console that works like gangbusters. Once it's assembled (even including some basic soldering), you can play any of the four retro games that come preloaded, or jump in and start following instructions to start coding new games of your own creation.
Any kid wants their own phone. And, with this collection, they'll have all the pieces for constructing a mobile phone that can actually support calls and texts, playing games, and more. It even works on virtually any of the popular mobile networks worldwide.
Big ticket gifts
The KIT-1 assortment includes over 50 projects to be assembled from over 130 different components. Armed with all these circuits, sensors, LEDs, and more, each lesson shows users how to build cool stuff from an automatic night lamp, to an IR security alarm, to a DC motor.
3D printing is coming into its own – and new users couldn't find a better introduction to the process. With the SparkMaker printer and a three resin starter kit, all it takes is a pre-loaded design on an SD card and one touch of the print button for creations to spring to life.
This STEM project doesn't just instruct users how to build a mini truck. It's actually a self-driving truck. Young builders are tasked with the big project of puzzling out how to program their new creation to make the truck's robot brain understand how to drive itself.
Now for something completely different…this project lets you build an uber-strange, yet ultra-compelling Tesla coil. It arcs electricity at the same time that it lets users make other-worldly music. If you want to win the holidays for the most absolutely unexpected gift ever, this is a prime contender.
Bondic might be the DIY answer for fixing…well, practically anything! Shape the liquid plastic to repair, or even replace, any broken or missing pieces, swipe the UV light over it, and it instantly hardens into place. It's like duct tape for the 21st century.
Prices subject to change.