Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Sylvia’s Super Awesome Guide

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Sylvia’s Super Awesome Guide


We asked one of our favorite kid makers, Super Awesome Sylvia (and her super awesome dad, James) to put together a collection of gift ideas that were tops on Sylvia’s list. Here’s the video and guide they sent us. Thanks, guys! —Gareth

Subscribe to the MAKE Podcast in iTunes, download the m4v video directly, or watch it on YouTube.


Mini-Trebuchet Kit, Maker Shed, $25

Ka-chunk, kerpow! I love to play castle, but it’s just no fun without your own war machine! Made of just wood and a sling, you can lay waste to your toy soldier enemies from a distance. Huzzah!


MythBusters Family Trivia Game, Discovery, $25

I LOVE the MythBusters! It’s my favorite show and I watch it with my family all the time. This game is so fun because I get to hang out with my family and do quizzes about cool science stuff, not to mention you get to fling your own mini-Buster (the show’s crash dummy) on a catapult!


Hide & Seek Tiger, Heartsong, $35

Tigers are great, they’re one of my favorite animals. I also really love wireless gadgets, and this toy combines the two! Have someone hide the Tiger, then use the radio range wand to find him, just like tracking down a tagged tiger in the wild! Except when you catch this one, you don’t have to tranquilize him.


Learn to Solder and Sound Reversing car kit, Museum Tour, $40

This kit comes with everything the beginner needs for their first electronics project: soldering iron, solder, wire cutters, and an awesome sound-reversing car kit to build with the tools! First time builders get to learn the best way possible, with the goal of building something fun (mom or dad might want to help a bit, too!).


Gakken EX-150, Maker Shed, $130

Soldering a bit too hot for you, but you still want to explore the wonders of electronics? This kit is perfect! With over 150 fun electronic experiments to try by just pushing in various component blocks, no solder needed. Build a radio, telegraph, pulse detector, and a whole lot more!


Beginner’s Lock Pick Set, Maker Shed, $40

I met a really great maker at an open source camp who told me I’d be great at lock picking. I didn’t know much about it then, but now I just want to know more and more! Learn about how locks work without taking them completely apart. Having a bit of metal and a light touch (with lots of practice) is all it takes to get past the tumblers. But remember: only use your powers for good!


CHEM C1000 Chemistry Set, Thames & Kosmos, $90

As everyone should know by now, chemistry rocks! This kit will show you why, with 75 different experiments, from making water flow uphill, to colored flame tests, this kit will knock your socks off!! Be sure and check out more from our friends at the HMS Beagle Webstore.


Sylvia’s Super Awesome Maker Show stuff
, Cafe Press, $10 to $40

Feeling sad that you can’t figure out an awesome way to support Super Awesome Sylvia AND look snazzy doing it? Fear not! Over at Sylvia’s College Fund Cafe Press store, we have many designs and 101 different things to put them on, from shirts to mugs to baby clothes!


Spy Video TRAKR, Wild Planet, $130

Just your average, everyday radio-controlled track wheeled vehicle that sends a live video stream back to its controller in daylight or night vision? No way! This hacker-friendly robotic toy allows even non-coders to download apps that augment its functionality, and tinkerers are encouraged to play around! For advanced hackers there’s even a USB host onboard and eight easily accessible GPIO lines!


Make something special, You, $0 to ???

One of the most special things you can give this season, is so cheap, you wouldn’t believe, because you make it! Getting up and out of your chair and getting your hands dirty making something fun for a friend or loved one, no matter what your skill level, will show that you care. Try something from one of our videos (see below), or look around the house for inspiration. You’re bound to find a picture frame that needs re-purposing, an old game board that needs a new set of rules! The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Go nuts! Even if you fail, you’ll have gained in ways you never expected.

Super Awesome Sylvia and her dad (the TechNinja) are two born and bred makers, living in Northern California. Sylvia enjoys drawing, reading (Harry Potter, Calvin & Hobbes and anything else she can get her hands on), building robots, doing science experiments, and watching MythBusters. Her dad enjoys all that, too, and is currently a freelance programmer and video editor/compositor. Sylvia’s dream is to one day get into MIT like Ladyada.


In the Maker Shed:
Want more? Stop by the Maker Shed. We’ve got all sorts of great holiday gift ideas, 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.

Holiday Shipping Deadlines in December:

15 (Wed) – Postal shipping deadline
14 (Mon) – Ground shipping deadline
18 (Sat) – 3-day shipping deadline
20 (Mon) – 2-day shipping deadline
21 (Tue) – Overnight shipping deadline
*Orders placed after these dates using these shipping methods may arrive on time; however, the dates listed are what we consider likely “safe dates.”

United States Postal Service (USPS):
Due to the high volume of mail that the postal service deals with around the holidays, please order by Dec 15 if you intend to select this method. However, we have had increased reports of packages sent via USPS lost or delayed in transit during this high-volume period. Since we do not replace or refund any order placed using this shipping method, we strongly encourage you not to use this method in December.

8 thoughts on “Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Sylvia’s Super Awesome Guide

  1. Maker Dino says:

    Super Awesome Sylvia, and her Dad, are … well….

    I love her videos. :) Keep em comin!

  2. Nick Gart says:

    wouldn’t want to see little sylvia in jail. Lock pick kits are illegal in the US, and you can be charged with ‘possession of burglary tools’

  3. Gareth Branwyn says:

    It’s state-specific. The individual state laws are here:

    And most of the states that have laws involve possession with intent to commit at crime, or as the Lockpicking Guide site puts it:

    …there is one common theme: possession of these tools with the intent to commit a crime. Therefore, the crime of possession of burglars tools is almost always combined with another crime, such as trespass or burglary.

    1. cancerouspete says:

      if some cop wanted to get technical, possessing picks IS intent if you’re not a locksmith…
      i believe its similar to being drunk sitting in drivers seat of a non-moving vehicle is a DUI, regardless of whether you intended to drive or not.

      disclaimer: i do own a pick set….and they are fun :)

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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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