At Maker Faire, almost everything can constitute being a toy, as it all seems to delight and make me feel like a little kid. So, I’ll try to limit this list to “things I would give as toys to my kids but would rather play with myself.” Some of these you can buy now, either at the Faire or online, or are coming to a Kickstarter near you.
This is basically a laser-cut kit that transforms into a small table-top pinball machine that you decorate. It’s cute, and both adults and kids mobbed the table all weekend. After a successful Kickstarter, they are working on getting the kits available soon!
Is it a toy? Is it a robot? Is it a superfast, swarm-programmable insect? Little bit of everything, and they were hilarious to watch scuttle around and bash into each other. Fun little kits that are programmable and controllable from your smartphone. Coming to Kickstarter in late October!
Nascent Rocketship Music Player
These 3D-printed customizable rocket pieces can be built to your liking. Sure, hundred of combinations is neat, but I really love the fact that these can then house a Bluetooth speaker. Coming soon to your ears.
This is a pretty robust (and pricey?) open source Arduino robot building platform, but boy, do they look fun. You can buy the individual pieces or kits to build plotters, beginner and advanced robots, and even a 3D printer. The beauty of this system is that you can take your toys seriously as you build up your kits.
This company is constantly expanding their fantasy universe of 3D-printed monsters, robots, heroes, and heroines — one Kickstarter at a time! Since I saw them last, they have upgraded more robots and added the RukiBot. What’s coming up next? More monsters!
Robot Mustache Robot Kits
These fun little robot kits caught my eye. Shipped in a flatpack, they were only available here at Maker Faire, but check their Kickstarter later this year. Maybe more of a wooden statue than a toy, but they are too cute to resist.
I’ll be honest, it’s easy to pass by these little guys. They are little connectors to build structures out of straws, which seems to be something that only preschoolers would be interested in. But when you see an Air Hockey table, drone or a remote control hovercraft built out of straws, it sort of changes your perspective on what you can do with this. The best stocking stuffer for any age of Maker.
OK, time to get cuddly. I love seeing these critters at Maker Faires and yes, while you can buy premade ones here, they have felting kits that make it pretty easy to craft your own little critter. Do it. Embrace your plushie side.