Adafruit Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Activities, Games, and Kits for Young Engineers

You know that kid that’s so smart she is consistently impressing you? The one who always says things like, “D’you know that the human head weighs 8 pounds?” Here’s some gift ideas that will have those kids saying, “You had me at educational electronics kits.” SHOW ME THE GIFT GUIDE!

Gifts from Adafruit!


Adafruit ARDX – v1.3 Experimentation Kit for Arduino (Uno R3) – v1.3 – Interested in making neat stuff with an Arduino but not sure where to start? This kit includes all the pieces needed to complete 11 different circuits, along with a experimenter’s guide booklet & breadboard layout sheets. Basically everything you need to be playing within minutes of its arrival. No soldering required!

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The Laser Game: KHET 2.0 – Card games? LAME! Board games? BORING! Add some frickin’ lasers to your game-night with the game that combines lasers with classic strategy. Players alternate turns moving Egyptian-themed pieces having two, one or no mirrored surfaces. All four types of pieces (pharaoh, anubis, pyramid and scarab) can either move one square forward, back, left, right, or diagonal, or stay in the same square and rotate by a quarter twist. Each turn ends by firing the real laser diode built into each player’s Sphinx piece. The laser beam bounces from mirror to mirror; if the beam strikes a non-mirrored surface on any piece, it is immediately removed from play. The ultimate goal is to illuminate your opponent’s pharaoh, while shielding yours from harm!

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Bigshot Camera – DIY Digital Camera Kit – Build your very own digital camera with the Bigshot camera kit. It’s a no-solder clip-together kit to help anyone understand the electronic and mechanical systems required to build a digital camera. From Bigshot: “The enormous appeal of the camera can be used to turn it into a compelling tool for learning. We believe that a camera designed for education must have three features. First, it should be designed as a kit for assembly – putting the kit together should expose the user to a wide range of science concepts. Second, it should include features that cannot be found in other cameras, allowing the user to explore new creative dimensions. Finally, it should be low-cost, making it accessible to the less privileged. Bigshot has been designed with these goals in mind. There is another important feature that sets Bigshot apart from virtually all educational kits – once you have built it, it is a fully functioning digital camera that you can use everyday!”

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MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between. MaKey MaKey was invented by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum & Made by JoyLabz. Find out more details at or watch the video.

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Drawdio is an electronic pencil that lets you make music while you draw! It’s great project for beginners: An easy soldering 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. We also sell a pre-assembled version for all the fun without the soldering!

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OWI Robotic Arm Edge – Robot arm – OWI-535 – Riding the wings of the award winning Robotic Arm Trainer, OWI has made robotic arm technology more affordable without compromising quality. With Robotic Arm Edge, command the gripper to open and close, wrist motion of 120 degrees, an extensive elbow range of 300 degrees, base rotation of 270 degrees, base motion of 180 degrees, vertical reach of 15 inches, horizontal reach of 12.6 inches, and lifting capacity of 100g. This is a pretty complicated arm to build, but we’re happy with the quality and the arm. Many hackers and makers have used it with our Adafruit Motorshield.

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Gifts from Other Sites!


Frank Lloyd Wright® Fallingwater Lego Set – We here at Adafruit are huge Legos fans and this is one of the coolest sets we’ve seen in a while.

A National Historic Landmark named the “best all-time work of American architecture” by the American Institute of Architects in 2007, Fallingwater in Western Pennsylvania is a paragon of organically harmonious architecture. Now you can try your hand at constructing Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece with this amazing 811-piece Lego set. Including instructions as well as an informative booklet about the house’s design and history, this educational and challenging activity kit will delight and confound architecture fans ages 16 and up. Finished model measures 10″ long. (Not for children under 10.)

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Recon 6.0 Programmable Rover – This is a really cool way to teach kids about programming as well as robotics.

Program the ReCon Rover 6.0 to tell a knock-knock joke, guard your room, deliver a snack, demolish a Lego structure, and more. The full-color, 48-page manual includes instructions for 10 “missions,” plus illustrations, maps, tips, troubleshooting, and random facts. This robot allows kids to understand programming basics, likes sequencing and loops, while introducing more advanced concepts like Boolean logic, the Pythagorean theorem, and artificial intelligence (AI).
The ReCon Rover robot comes fully assembled and doesn’t require a computer. You supply three C batteries and help for young kids. Beginner level: Ages 8 and up.

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Line Tracking Mouse Kit (Soldering) – This is a really fun kit for kids ages 13 and up. Requires soldering so make sure the person you give it to has all the tools they need to make it.

Expose future engineers to sound activation, photo interrupters, infrared, more!

Explore the fundamentals of robotics with this informative, intelligent, and entertaining robot kit!

Future engineers will learn about sound activation, photo interrupters, infrared, and assembling gear motors as they assemble this intermediate soldering robotics kit!

Clever kids can then create a twisting and turning road layout with black tape or black markers on white background. Delight in seeing how the MOUSE tracks the black line to find the target!

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Solar Power Vehicles Kit – Thames & Kosmos makes great kid for kids. We sell their Electronics Experiment Kit here, but are big fans of all their products including this Solor Power Vehicles Kit.

Explore engineering and vehicle mechanics as you build models like a helicopter, steam locomotive, or bulldozer. Then experiment with one or more photovoltaic cells to energize them outdoors in bright sun (or indoors with a AA battery). You can even design your own solar vehicles with the 177 pieces included in this set! It also includes a 24-page manual with step-by-step instructions for six models, plus scientific information on solar power and photovoltaic cells. Three solar cells are included that produce 1.5 volts in bright sun (not suitable for indoor use). You provide a AA rechargeable battery, which can be recharged with materials in this kit. Ages 10 & up.

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Here are your 2013 shipping deadlines for ordering from Adafruit. Please review our shipping section if you have specific questions on how and where we ship worldwide for this holiday season.

UPS ground (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 13, 2013 – There is no guarantee that UPS Ground packages will arrive in time for Christmas.

UPS 3-day (USA orders): Place orders by Thursday 11am ET – December 19, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.

UPS 2-day (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 20, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.

UPS overnight (USA orders): Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 23, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.

UPS International: Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 16, 2013. Can take up extra time due to worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.

Please note: We do not offer Saturday service for UPS.
Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, Christmas, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, New Year’s Day, no UPS pickup or delivery service.

United States Postal Service, First Class and Priority (USA orders): Place orders by Friday – December 13, 2013 – Arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.

USPS First class mail international (International orders): Place orders by Friday – November 22, 2013. Can take up to 30 days ore more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner, but not a trackable service cannot be guaranteed to arrive by 12/24/13.

USPS Express mail international(International orders): Place orders by Friday – December 13, 2013. Can take up to 15 days or more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.

Gift Certificates are always available at any time.

When in doubt contact us!

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