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Best of tech this holiday season!

Newsflash – the holidays are upon us and if you’re like me you still have a few gaps in your gift list!  Everyone loves a gadget, and using kits is a great way for families to spend quality time making things together!  Here are my top picks this season. Clicking on product titles below will take you to their landing pages for more info and orders.

Little Bits Synth Kit You know how Fire Tech Camp loves hardware, right?  But maybe that sounds like screwdrivers and nails?  *This* is the kind of hardware I’m talking about!  Little Bits has taken the world by storm, with their hardware kits that work with magnets instead of soldering irons. (And we’re hoping to bring some of their electronics kits to camp this summer for an intro to hardware class for our younger campers!) They are working with Korg to produce this synthesizer – shipping in time for the holidays.  It’s a bit spendy at £100 and it’s shipped from the US, but I couldn’t resist. Check out this video to see it at work in the hands of a Master. Tech *is* art!

Wheel Writer Wearable Tech for your bike! I got these for some of our tutors last year!  You could argue they are a safety aid as well as a super fun techie gadget for your bike.  Bright enough to see them day and night and they include 12 images and a speedometer. I wonder if we could hack these to create your own designs? £22 from the Science Museum in London.

DIY Gamer Kit Technology Will Save Us is a London-based company making hardware DIY kits. Started by digital artist Daniel Hirschmann, their products combine electronics experimentation and artistic expression.  Have a look at this programmable games console, built on an Arduino base.  Full instructions, tutorials, programming examples and ideas on their website.  Requires soldering, which is super fun in itself over a glass of hot cocoa on Boxing Day!

Makey Makey These are one of my favourite kits, and these don’t require any hot metal or complicated installation.  There’s a video to help you set it up the first time, it literally takes 2 minutes once you’ve done it one time.  Makey Makey turns anything into a computer input!  It’s also a great motivator to get programming, in Scratch, Python – or you can use it to build your own Minecraft controller!  Our favourite last summer was the kids who turned paper plates and copper tape into a drum kit – but you need bare feet to complete the circuits!  You can even turn your friends in to piano keys. Super invention kit!

Electro-fashion Cat Kit Anyone can get a handle on wearable tech with this beginner’s e-textiles kit.  Simple sewing, sensors, and LEDs let you build a toy that lights up with you squeeze it!

Goldiblox Aimed at younger girls, Goldiblox was developed by a (female) Stanford engineer to encourage girls’ interest in engineering!  They are a hot ticket this Christmas – I haven’t had a chance to play with them myself, but they do look fun and inclusive.  And they made the coolest promo video *evah* with girls opting for a Rube Goldberg machine over all the pink princess toys. 🙂

Then again, for £70 and some old Marble Run bits, you could probably build an amazing Rube of your own!! Lots of other cool gadgets, kits and toys in the works on Kickstarter at the moment!  But we’ll wait until those are shipping – no point getting you all excited for something you can’t get your hands on. Hopefully this will help you finish your shopping but if you’re still stuck, you can always get in touch and order a Fire Tech Camp gift certificate to keep your kids creating all year round! 🙂