My daughter and I have been getting interested in star gazing lately (she is especially interested in looking at Venus) and I am considering getting a telescope. Unfortunately, I am completely clueless when it comes to what constitutes a good telescope for children that is both easy to use and decent enough quality to actually see something with good resolution. My normal go-to, Consumer Reports, doesn’t really have any information about these devices so that doesn’t help me at all. Therefore, I am stuck looking at Amazon reviews which are somewhat suspect at best and I don’t always trust them.
I need some advice on this topic from my readers and I would love to have people post links to models that they like to assist others in their search.
Here it is, the 2016 geek dad buying guide. This will be continually updated as I come across more cool stuff that will ensure your kids have fun and learn something at the same time!
- Piper – Build your own computer and use Minecraft to craft virtual and physical gadgets.
- Raspberry Pi 3 – Want to build your own media center PC? Run a Minecraft server? Learn how to program and prototype electronics? Learn Linux? The Raspberry Pi 3 is the way to go.
- Tynker – Teach your kids how to code by making Minecraft mods and more.
Electronics / Engineering
- Littlebits – Build electronics and circuits without all the wires, breadboards and soldering. Just snap them together and turn them on!
- Snap Circuits – Build and learn about electronic circuits by snapping pieces together.
- Lego Mindstorms – Legos + Robotics + Programming = Amazeballs!
- Arduino Uno – Want to teach your kids how to program and create electronic circuits, control motors, manipulate servos and more? This is the kit for you!
- The Solar System for Preschoolers – It’s never too early to teach your kids about the planets and reminisce about the good old days when Pluto was one of them.
- The Motorized Solar System – Watch the planets rotate and orbit in style!
- Lego Bucket Wheel Excavator – Possibly the most amazing Lego Technics set ever. It will require mom or dad to work with the kids to get it done but it will be well worth it.
- Periodic Table Building Blocks – Build the elements up and tear them back down.
- A 3D Printer – Sure they aren’t cheap but if you want to create things and make your own toys, etc. a 3D printer will be an awesome addition to your gadget collection.
- The Calculator Teething Toy – Now your infant can learn their numbers and get their teeth in at the same time!
- The New Way Things Work – Possibly the most amazing book about how all of the things around you work everyday. This is one of my favorites and I still have a copy even as an adult.
- Qwirkle – A great family game that requires strategy and a little luck. It is a staple around our house during the holidays when family is visiting.
Odds and Ends
- The Tardis Nightlight – Don’t leave your little time traveler in the dark, equip them with a Tardis nightlight instead.
- Moon in Your Room – What is better than the moon for a nightlight?