Christmas Gifts for Young Engineers
John Hayes posted on December 04, 2009 |

There is a toy store near my house that has provided a steady stream of excellent gift ideas for my kids for several years.  Last week I went back there.  My goal -  to make you a hero this Christmas without setting foot in a mall. 


I took a video camera to ask the Marketing Director at MasterMind Toys about gift ideas for young engineers.  I was looking for the sorts of toys that engineers would give their kids – toys that have an analytic or construction element to them, and ideally toys that make you want to sit down on the floor with your kids and play along. 


Surprisingly, most of Ryan’s picks were less expensive than I expected.  At the end of this post are links to a couple of online stores where you can get these toys. 


Here’s a link to the video we shot called Christmas Gifts for Young Engineers


The toys and games that Ryan Carr suggested were:


Kapla – A twist on the traditional wooden building block toy that features precision cut blocks.  The square edges and consistent size allow your kid (or you) to build bigger and better than is possible with traditional building blocks.  $53


Rokenbok – I bought this for my kids some years ago because it combines the fun of remote control with the engineering elements of construction and system design.  $80 to get started.  Easily over $150 once you get into it. 


Straws & Connectors – Quick building toy that has lots of flexibility in design and execution. - $15


Teifoc – Bricks and mortar that let you construct real-world looking buildings.  And the mortar is water-soluble, so you can wash and rebuild another day.  $22 - $44


Snap Circuits – My favourite for young electrical engineers.  This toy lets you quickly build circuits to understand electricity while having fun.  This year’s twist is a renewable energy set so you can use wind or solar sources to power your circuits.$35 to get started.  $62 for the renewable energy version. 


Perplexus – This 3D version of the old “ball bearing in a plastic maze” puzzle is challenging enough for adults as well.  Sorry I couldn’t find a link to the manufacturer, but the link to the toy stores is below.  $24


Rubiks 360 – a new rubik’s cube game that looks as challenging as the original.  $15


Labyrinth – I’m not a big fan of board games, but this one looks worthwhile.  The idea is that you build a maze on the board as the game unfolds, but your plans can be sidelined by other players.  $50


Settlers of Catan – This is apparently a kinder and gentler version of the board game Risk.  I still like Risk.  $40


So there you have your picks for 2009.  I know that Mastermind has them all, but you can also find many of them at Fatbrain too. 


Let me know if you have any other great toy ideas for young engineers. 

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