Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts that will inspire your kids!

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Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts that will inspire your kids!

Here is our 2008 Make Holiday Gift Guide for kids. Hopefully these gifts will inspire you to go out and make new things, teach others what you know, or even learn something new. The best gift you can give any kid is quality time together. I tried to cover a lot of different ages, skill levels, and interests. If I missed something you think should be added to the list, please leave it in the comments below. Thanks!

If you are looking for cool projects to make with your kids over the Holidays, don’t forget to check out the Make blog “Kids” category for hundreds, if not thousands, of great projects.


As seen in Make Magazine. Part comic strip and part science experiment, Howtoons shows children how to find imaginative new uses for common household items like soda bottles, duct tape, mop buckets, and moreñto teach kids the “Tools of Mass Construction”! Howtoons are cartoons that teach 8ñ to 15ñyearñold readers “how to” build, create, and explore things. Combining a fun, fullñcolor cartoon format and real life science and engineering principles, Howtoons are designed to encourage kids to become active participants in the world around them.
Price: $15.99

Drawdio Kit
You may have to put this kit together if you have younger kids, since it requires soldering. It’s easy to assemble, and fun to hack! Drawdio has been kid tested at my house for many hours, and is a hit with everyone who tries it!

Drawdio is an electronic pencil that lets you make music while you draw! It’s great project for beginners: An easy kit with instant gratification! Essentially, its a very simple musical synthesizer that uses the conductive properties of pencil graphite to create different sounds. The result is a fun toy that lets you draw musical instruments on any piece of paper.
Price: $19.50


Celestron Powerseeker 80EQ Telescope
Reveal the night sky to the aspiring astronomer with this PowerSeeker series telescope, designed to give the first-time telescope user the perfect combination of quality, value, features and power.

Quick and easy to set up, the scope does not require any tools to construct. Its sturdy equatorial mount is perfect for tracking objects in the night sky, and the collapsible altazimuth mount is perfectly suited for terrestrial and astronomical use.
Price: $99.00

DIY Design Electronics Kit
Harness the power of the electron! Create games, toys, and contraptions with these fundamental components. Follow the easy instructions to make a light detector, LED flasher, noisemaker and more! Once you master the basics, you’ll be ready to create your own! Everything you need to get started is right in the box, including switches, buttons, diodes, capacitors. transistors and regulators. Learn the amazing concepts of resistance, capacitance, voltage and current with the step-by-step project manual. Soon, you will be the electronics wizard! Great introduction to electronics for all ages. By Sparkle Labs.
Price: $49.99


Blinkybug Kit
The Blinkybugs are here! These simple, little electro-mechanical insects respond to movement, wind and vibrations by blinking their LED eyes. Great fun for all ages, and addicting too.

Features: Makes 4 Blinkybugs.

Kit ingredients:
8 -LEDs -2 each of red, green, yellow and blue
1 -52″ length of guitar string
4 -3V coin-cell batteries
4 -12″ pipe cleaners, assorted colors
4 -1.5″ copper tubes
Adult supervision recommended for use of glue gun (not included) in assembly.
Price: $14.99


Chemistry Experiment Kit 3000
Give the gift that will make our next generation of chemists possible! CHEM C3000 is the ultimate chemistry kit. Start with fun experiments to learn basic chemistry principles, then build a strong foundation with exposure to a broad range of chemical phenomena and hands-on lab experience. Pair this with our Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry.
Price: $199.95 (On sale, you save $40)


Co-Robot Kit
This little robot is tough! Run by a single motor, he walks with a decidedly “angry” pace. If he falls over, he picks himself up again! An awesome design with an amazing gear mechanism, he will not quit! Over 50,000 sold in Japan and a hit at the International Robot Exhibition earlier this year. Instructions are in Japanese but features highly detailed assembly pictures, sorry no English translation at this time. Easy to build. Made of high impact plastic.
Price: $29.95


Timberkits Kit
Timberkits – moving wooden models you make yourself! Two to choose from: The Drummer operates 2 drums and 2 cymbals whilst swaying backwards and forwards and keeping the 2 rhythms going. The Guitarist leans forward and bends at the knees while both arms move to play the guitar.
Price: $16.95


After 70 years, LEGO is still really popular among kids and grownups. Have you seen how many posts we have made about LEGOS? My personal favorites are the Technic and Mindstorms series.
Price: $5.00 – $100+


Dado Cubes
Dado Cubes inspire complex thought through its simple design. Whether you favor art or science you will explore basic architectural principles: proportion, balance, structure and color, Dado Cubes are sure to stimulate and entertain your kids mind. Create any number of three-dimensional structures and explore visual spatial development and problem solving with this simple toy.
Price: $24.95


TK2 Scope Kit
Embark on a guided journey through the microscopic world, revealing its hidden creatures and unseen structures with the new TK2 Scope! The full-color, 48-page manual guides you through set-up, usage, and dozens of fascinating observations of biological specimens. Ages 8 and up.


Learn how to use the microscope and how to prepare slides
2 bright LED lights, above and below
40x, 100x, and 400x magnification
4x, 10x, and 40x objective lenses and a 10x ocular lens, all made of optical grade glass
Over 20 tools and accessories
Price: $119.95


Family vacation at Maker Faire
How about promising a family trip to Maker Faire? I know it’s a hard thing to wrap up for the holiday gift-giving season, but it will be something they will never forget. The best present you can give any child is quality time spent together as a family. The best part about Maker Faire is the variety of things to see and do. There is something for everyone at Maker Faire.

• Robots • Rockets • Bicycles • Alternative Energy Devices • Electronics • Crafts
• Circuit Boards • Sustainable Food • Musical Instruments • Wood Working
• Knitting • Eco Modding Cars • Kites • Special Effects • Sewing • and more…

Maker Faire is a two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It’s for creative, resourceful people of all ages and backgrounds who like to tinker and love to make things. So much to see, you will need 2 days to see it all!
Price: Varies depending on travel expenses

You could always purchase some Maker Faire “stuff” and wrap it with an IOU!
Price: $6 – $10

Holiday Shipping Deadlines:

Ground – Dec 15th
3-Day Saver -Dec 17th
2-Day -Dec 18th
Overnight -Dec 19th

*Customers experiences on orders with these ship methods placed after these dates may vary, the dates listed are what we call “safe dates”

USPS (Any Method):
Due to the high volume of mail that the postal service deals with around the holidays, order by Dec. 10th, however, many packages are lost or delayed in transit and we do not replace or refund any orders lost using this ship method, we strongly encourage you to not use this method in December.

Want more? Stop by the Maker Shed store and check out THE place for open source hardware, Arduino & Arduino accessories, electronic kits, science kits, smart stuff for kids, back issues of MAKE & CRAFT, box sets, books, robots, kits from Japan and more.

If I missed any kits or resources, post up in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts that will inspire your kids!

  1. Rich Sharp says:

    Great article. Another site you might want to check out with great, inspiring gift ideas for kids is Marbles: The Brainstore. They have all kinds of great games, brain teasers, toys and more – all focused on making your brain stronger and having lots of fun. They’re also running a holiday promo where you get 10% off all purchases when you use the Promo code GIFT10. Check them out at

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