Whitehouse Independent School District

Goodson, Nick » Geeky Toys for Xmas/Birthday

Geeky Toys for Xmas/Birthday

Anything from here
Sparkfun is a website for buying circuits boards, such as Arduino, and invention kits.  If you want to build your own electronics or learn how to this is a great place to start.  
Similar to Sparkfun except they also post really neat project ideas with instructions on how to build them and the parts you'll need.  
Make.do - $12+  (Video)
Build things out of cardboard!
Cheaper version of Littlebits
Draw circuits using ink pens
Clothing meets electronics  $25 on Amazon.  
Sound activated ghost light
Arts and crafts style circuits 
Make Magazine - $35
This is a bi-monthly magazine filled with DIY projects involving electronics.  
Makey Makey $50 (Video)
Make electronic circuits from common household items.  
Ozobots - Starts at $50
Ozobots are a golf ball size robot that can be programmed by drawing lines on paper with markers.  For advanced students they can also be programmed using apps on tablets or phones.  
Arduino - $55 http://goo.gl/KbZdih
Arduino kits are like the old radio shack electronic kits.  The are similar to Littlebits but more advanced.  These require kids to learn computer programming and electrical engineering.  Don't let this scare you off.  If you are interested in electronics there are no limits to what you can build.  Even companies are using these to make their own devices.  Best thing is to start small and experiment as you learn.  There are thousands of projects on the internet and the parts are very cheap.  Look for books from "Make" magazine.
RaspberryPi - $70 https://goo.gl/QNucj2
RaspberryPi is a fully functional computer the length and width of a credit card.  The kit linked above comes with everything you need to get started.  There are tons of fun projects you can do with this device.  This RaspberryPi can also run Windows 10 for free.  
Littlebits - $100+ http://littlebits.cc/
Littlebits are electronic boards that magnetically snap together to make devices.  They're a great way to get started in electronics because it takes away the ability to short out boards by putting them together wrong.  Also available on Amazon.com
Sphero is a robotic, programmable, ball that introduces kids to computer science through fun activities.  Available on Amazon.com.
Chromebook - $150+
Want a computer but can afford one?  Give Chromebooks a try.  These come with batteries that last 8-10 hours.  These are some trade-offs with these versus a regular computer.  For example these are meant to be connected to the internet to work.  You can still work offline but most of the apps require an internet connect.  On the plus side all of your files are synced to the internet so you never have to worry about losing documents.  For pre-high school kids look for one with a metal body over plastic.  Dell makes excellent Chromebooks: http://www.dell.com/us/p/laptops?~ck=mn#chromebook-laptops
Vex Robotics - $150+  (WARNING: Expensive)
Vex are the next step past Lego Robotics.  
Lego EV3 Kit - $350 http://goo.gl/a13xhY (WARNING: Expensive)
The EV3 kit comes with everything someone needs to get started in robotics.  The kids are designed for pre-high school students.  The programming is done by dragging and dropping blocks.
3D Printers 
Monoprice Mini - $200 (Quickly becoming the go-to printer for beginners.  Very highly regarded in the printing community)
Printrbot Play - $400