Toy Hacking with Simone Giertz

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Toy Hacking with Simone Giertz

When Simone Giertz isn’t holding court as the Queen of the Sh*tty Robot Nation, she is creating content for other YouTube channels, like Tested. And, I just discovered, she’s also been doing toy “hacking” videos for GoldieBox, the engineering-for-girls toy company.

As you may know, Simone recently went completely indie on her channel, turning to Patreon when she got into trouble with her sponsors for some of her more adult content and salty language. I respect the fact that she wants to do her own thing, the way she wants it done, and am glad she’s found a way to pay herself so that she can continue to follow her muse, however mischievous that muse may be. But Simone has such a great child-like enthusiasm and wacky sense of humor, I thought it was a shame that her work had to be limited to an adult audience. Thanks to these GoldieBox videos, kids can now also get to spend some quality time with the Queen of “Not-So-Good Robots,” as she’s been re-christened on the channel.

The projects Simone does for GoldieBox are those perfect rainy day projects that kids and parents love. They’re the kinds of projects that kids can’t see without wanting to try their hand at and most of them require little more than basic household items. Simone and GoldieBox do a good job of explaining the projects, showing the steps, and just having fun with it.

These are really more activities than toys that you would likely make and use very often, but the fun ideas, immediate gratification, and project-learning experiences make these winners in my book. Here are five of the videos Simone has done to date.

Candy Balloon Rocket

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In this video, Simone creates a deflating balloon-powered “rocket” that carries a basket of candy treats along a zip-line.

Mailbox Alarm/Messaging

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Here, Simone shows you how to re-purpose a recordable greeting card to create a message delivery/alarm system that goes inside your mailbox. Record a message for your postal carrier and when s/he opens the mailbox, the circuit is triggered, and your message plays. “You’ve got mail!”

Ice Ice Skates

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Not every project works as planned, some need modifications. Simone tries creating ice skates for dolls using ice cubes. They don’t want to stand up as they slide down the ramp she made. So then she tries making ice donuts for the dolls to slide down on. By adding some water color paper to the ramp (and food coloring to the ice), you can create fun art pieces as the dolls ride the slide.

Plastic Spoon Catapult

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Sometimes, it’s the simplest projects that have the most repeat playability. Some plastic spoons, rubber bands, and a stack of books and you’re ready to lay siege to the Island of Misfit toys.

Vibrating Bug Bots

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Simone takes the “bugs” in bug bots to heart and outfits some plastic toy bugs with vibrobot electronics.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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