Are you pine-ing for some new, must-have makerspace gadgets? Or are you ready to spruce up your program with some awesome robots? Don’t HEMlock and HAW around; check out some fun ideas below that will delight any robotics or maker fan during the holidays. The ideas are divided by cost and there is something for everyone and every budget.
Canary Cutters are the best tool I have found for cutting cardboard. A serrated double-edge blade makes cutting straight and curved lines a breeze. The Canary Cutter has a rounded chisel tip and anti-slip handle. Buy a single cutter on Amazon for $6.39 or a set of three for $17.99.
For $6.50, you can buy a package of one hundred 10mm white, red, yellow, green, and blue LED diode lights. You can create wearables or have some fun with the Glow Circuit Assembly from Instructables and Tinkercad.
Make sure you check the dimensions of your projects before ordering. If you are looking for a shorter length LED, check out this deal of 500 LED diode lights for $8.88. The 500 5mm length set comes with one hundred each of red, orange, white, green, and blue lights.
The Straws Builders Construction Building Toy is very popular at Bullard Intermediate School. This 800 set of straws, connectors, and clips is $34.99. The third and fourth graders like to build tall, so if your makerspace has building sets that require the higher the better, this is perfect for you. Consider a purchase of a lightweight step stool with grip rails. Try the Gorilla Ladder at Home Depot. The pricing for this ladder comes in at $34.98.
If you already have an OSMO, try their latest release, Detective Agency for $39. An OSMO works with a Kindle Fire and an iPad. The Detective Agency comes with eight maps, a map holder, and magnifying glass and will allow students to solve mysteries around the world.
Turing Tumble is a new type of game where players (ages 8 to adult) build mechanical computers powered by marbles to solve logic puzzles. Students will discover how computers work and help them start coding and designing algorithms.The $69.95 kit includes ramps, crossovers, bits, interceptors, gears, and gear bits to build marble-powered computers that can generate patterns, do logic, and count.
The MindWare KEVA planks was one of the first items suggested to me that is a staple when it comes to makerspaces. The Structures 400 piece set on Amazon is $89.95. If you have the money, I would buy two sets. I don’t think you can ever have too many KEVA planks.
Cubelets are the world’s first uniquely designed robot blocks. The individual blocks are robots that snap together with magnets. The Cubelets SIX include a Drive, Flashlight, Distance, Brightness, Passive, and Battery robot blocks for $129.95. Add on a brick adapter for LEGO bricks for $14.99. If the robot blocks are a big hit in your makerspace, you can certainly go for the Cubelets TWELVE for $279.95 for even more coding and design thinking.
LEGO Education has released an early technology and science train set geared for two to five year olds. The train set inspires early learners to explore sequencing, looping, and conditional coding with colored action planks. The planks are laid down inside the train tracks. Each colored plank corresponds to an action. Red is stop. Blue is a water sound. Yellow is music. White is a light. Green is for changing directions. Check out the $189.95 Coding Express train set at this website.
The Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer was only $230 at the time I wrote this blog. It has a heated build plate that measures 8 x 8 with a 7 inch vertical spacing. It is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. This is a great entry 3D printer for educators looking to get into 3D design. However, if you are looking for a 3D printer for your school’s makerspace, this one probably won’t handle high volume demand.
For an entry-level home or education setting, the FlashForge Finder 3D printer is a great low-cost printer at $399. The specs include 1.75 mm PLA for filament, a 5.5 X 5.5 X 5.5 slide-in build plate, and an enclosed design and contained heating components to ensure users of all ages are safe from the high temperatures. Ordering from MatterHackers, you will receive one PLA spool of filament, free shipping, and great tech support.
If you find some extra money or a great donor, stock your makerspace with a Glowforge. A Glowforge is a 3D laser printer. It uses a laser cutter/engraver technology to shape wood, leather, fabric, and more. A Glowforge Basic runs $2,500 and a Glowforge Pro is only $6,000.
If you can’t find the forest from the trees, which is just a fun way of saying your makerspace is a bit disorderly, this final tip is tree-mendous. Most mavens of makerspaces highly suggest taking your maker equipment out of their original packaging and storing it in rugged containers. The time for great buys on storage is right after the holidays. Walmart, Target, and home improvement stores always have a great selection.
CEEdar later and MAKE it a great holiday,
Featured image designed by author.