Engineering Girl Toys

 

Great Games and Toys for that Budding Engineer in your Life!

Here is a list of toys and games that would be great to play with that budding engineer in your life!  They also are great to get for yourself, I own or have played many of these. The red titled suggestions below are items I want to try but have not yet. I have added links to buy these for your conveyance, I do not get any "kickbacks" for this. Some of these games can be bought at local game stores, I hope you will try to buy local if possible but if not I have included the links. I also have included links for "free games" for the rules and if needed free printable to play. Please add comments below if I missed any great games or toys that should be added.

The list below is broken up into the following categories:
Engineering (Electrical)
Engineering (Mechanical)
Engineering Themed Books
Kits - Other Great Kits
Kits - Renewable Energy (Solar, Wind, etc.)
Kits - Robot Type Kits
Logic
Math
Probability
Programming
Reasoning - Geometry and Proportional
Spatial

Engineering (Electrical):

Elenco Snap Circuits - Great fun for all ages. Lots of kits to choose from. Easy to use, have used with 4 year old nieces and up. Have to make sure they do not connect the battery in a loop and leave it (drains battery) but other then that has been great fun!  Amazon Search Link

Little Bits - This is the step up from Snap Circuits. The pieces connect with magnets and are suppose to be added to other materials. Kits are $99-199. Amazon Search

Make: Electronics - This is a step up from Little Bits. These kits come with the electronic parts to make the 36 projects in the Make: Electronics book. The components come in an easy to carry electronics box(es). Learn the theories behind the projects. Kits cost around $145-340. Makershed Link

Makey Makey -  Turns everyday items into touch pads and combines them with the internet. Website   Amazon Link


Engineering (Mechanical):

TinkerToy - Build all sorts of moving things with circles, rods and connectors! Amazon Link

Racetrack - Graph paper and pencil game to teach vectors, velocity and acceleration. Wikipedia Link

Goldie Blox - Goldie blox toys are great! They come with a book and kit to make what Goldie in the book is making. My 6 year old niece loves this set! Amazon Link Set 1 Amazon Link Set 2


Engineering Themed Books:

Roe-Bot Girl: Best Friend App -  (Shameless plug) Awesome tween book about a girl who makes robots and learns about engineering. Amazon Link

Rosie Revere, Engineer - At night she is an inventor, it is a cute story that rhymes. Amazon Link

LEO the Maker Prince: Journeys in 3D Printing - Robot that teaches kids about 3D printing. Amazon Link

Rocks, Jeans, and Busy Machines: An Engineering Kids Storybook - Construction engineering for kids, cute book. I bought this for Christmas 2012 for the kids. Amazon Link

Engineering the ABC's: How Engineers Shape Our World - Shows the "ABCs" of engineering, very cute book. Found it through a recommendation from SWE members and gave as the Christmas book of 2011 for the kids. Amazon Link


Kits - Other Great Kits:

Artec RC Cube Car - I love these kits, they are easy to put together and normally cost less then $20. Note: they are "cheap" kits and won't last long with ruff play but for less then $20 for the kit what do you expect? This one is an remote control car you build yourself. I love this kit because it shows how easy it is to build a remote controlled item. Amazon Link

Artec Talking Coin Bank Kit - I love these kits, they are easy to put together and normally cost less then $10. Note: they are "cheap" kits and won't last long with ruff play but for less then $10 for the kit what do you expect? This one is a coin bank that you record what it says when you put a coin in the bank. I bought this one to hack for another project but it is still cool. Amazon Link

Artec Cyclone Plastic Bottle Vacuum Cleaner - I love these kits, they are easy to put together and normally cost less then $10. Note: they are "cheap" kits and won't last long with ruff play but for less then $10 for the kit what do you expect? This one uses a soda bottle to vacuum up small items. I own it but have not put it together yet.  Amazon Link
 
Artec Educational Walking Robot - I love these kits, they are easy to put together and normally cost less then $25. Note: they are "cheap" kits and won't last long with ruff play but for less then $25 for the kit what do you expect? This one is a walking biped "robot" I bought it to hack and have not put it together yet, mine was in the plastic bags. The Amazon Link is to the one in the box, it has won awards. Amazon Link

Bigshot Digital Camera Kit - Assemble your own functional digital camera.  Amazon Link


Kits - Renewable Energy (Solar, Wind, etc):

Elenco Solar Deluxe Educational Kit - Fun for the $20 to play with and see how solar and wind works. Better more versatile sets out there then this one but great for the price. Amazon Link

Green Science Windmill Generator by Toysmith - Great little kit to put on a soda/water bottle. You put it together, when the windmill spins the light lights up. It is mainly an inside kit not to be left outside in the weather. Great little kit for the $12 (or less) price. I hacked mine an made it solar and wind. Amazon Link
Transforming/Multi-in-One Solar Kits - There are a lot of kits on the market that sell solar kits that "transform" or can be made into a few different things, be careful which ones you buy and read the reviews. Many of them are not well designed. I have owned a few that had parts that did not fit together well or easily broke, so be careful. 

Elenco Snap Circuits Green - Alternative Energy Kit - I love this kit! I works really well inside (solar panel) and my niece and I had lots of fun trying the different projects. Some of the projects show you how to put the circuit together wrong as a teaching moment. (LED installed backwards does not work.) She keeps asking me to bring it back to play with. Amazon Link


Kits - Robot Type Kits:

Most "Robot" kits are not really robots, they are more like remote control cars. (Robots = controlled by a computer, Remote control car = controlled by human intervention) But the kits still offer great learning opportunities for budding engineers.


Artec Obstacle Avoiding Robot - I love these kits, they are easy to put together and normally cost less then $20. Note: they are "cheap" kits and won't last long with ruff play but for less then $20 for the kit what do you expect? This one is an obstacle avoiding cat that has two switches that cause it to change directions, great kit to put together for budding engineers (or me.) Amazon Link

OWI-536 All Terrain 3-in-1 RC Robot Kit - ATR - This is not a "robot" it is a remote control car. It was still fun to put together kit but is a bit on the cheap side and won't pick up too heavy of items. It was about 5 minutes of fun for my 5 year old niece to play with (after I assembled it.)  Amazon Link

OWI Robotic Arm Edge - This is more of a "remote control car" then robot. Buy it with the "OWI USB Interface for Robotic Arm"to turn it into a robotic arm.  Amazon Link Arm  Amazon Link Interface

"Real" robot kits cost a lot more then the above kits.

Lego Mindstorms - Kits are around $350 but people have built some pretty awesome things with them. Search Youtube for examples of awesome projects for the Mindstorm. Uses a "block" type programing system, which is easier for kids then actual programing. Be careful buying "used" kits some of the controllers had problems a few years ago. Amazon Search

EZ-Robot Kits - Kits are $230-469, the interface is easy to use and the kits are made to be expanded. The cheapest kit is so you can hack or make your own robot. Website

Arduino Shield Robot Kits - This is for the more advanced robot builder (late middle school and beyond.) Will be learning C++ code to make this robot move. Kits run $120+. Makershed Link

Multiplo - Robot Building Kit - Open source Robot Kit, which means you could 3D print or laser cut most of the pieces yourself the designs are free online (screws, nuts, bolts and electronics still need to be bought. Though the electronics schematics are free online.) It comes with a DuinoBot controller which is Arduino-compatible (uses Arduino language and can use same shields with it.) It also has the option to programing in "code" or "block" form! The "block" form is much easier for kids to handle. The kit is about $270 for the whole set, which includes, controller, battery holder, lots of sensors, motors, and lights. I am getting this for Christmas and will let you know what I think of it. Makershed Link


Logic:

Mastermind - Code breaking game for two players. One player picks four colors and the other person has 12 chances to figure it out. Bulls and cows is the equivalent game for paper using numbers.  Amazon Link to Game Wikipedia Link Bulls and Cows

Set - Card game where you find thee of the same or three totally different "sets" and one who finds the most wins! Fun and easy game to play, harder to master. Amazon Link

Battle Ship - Each person secretly places battle ships on a grid then they try to guess where the ships are. First one to find all the ships (and sink them) wins. Can be played on graph paper for free or buy the game. Free Printable Game Amazon Link

Sprouts - Free paper game. draw dots and curved lines to reach the desired dot on the page. Wikipedia Link


Math:

Krypto - Arithmetic card game. Seems interesting but Math War Card Game sounds like a cheap alternative to this game. Amazon Link

Math War Card Game (Addition/Subtraction) - Play just like normal War Card Game but you lay down two cards each time instead of one. Face cards = 10, and the Ace = 1. (Can use Jack = 10, Queen = 11, King = 12 for more advanced game.)  If working on subtraction then red cards are negative. The person with the highest score wins the set and takes all the cards. Example: Player one lays down red jack and a black nine, player two lays down a black eight and a red ace. Thus player two takes all four cards since the "score" of player one is red jack (negative 10) plus black nine (positive 9) thus 9-10 = -1. Where player two had black eight (positive 8) and a red ace (negative 1) thus 8-1=7. Seven is more then negative one so player two takes all four cards and puts it on the bottom of their deck. The players keep playing until one person has all the cards. (Alternate rule: take won cards and put in a pile, when the cards run out the person with the largest pile wins.)

Math War Card Game (Multiplication/Division) - Play just like normal War Card Game but you lay down two cards each time instead of one.  Face cards = 10, and the Ace = 1. (Can use Jack = 10, Queen = 11, King = 12 for more advanced game.)  If working on division then red cards are 1/number. The person with the highest score wins the set and takes all the cards. Example: Player one lays down red jack and a black nine, player two lays down a black eight and a red ace. Thus player two takes all four cards since the "score" of player one is red jack (1/ 10) plus black nine ( 9) thus 9/10 = .9. Where player two had black eight (8) and a red ace (1/1) thus 8/1=8. Eight is more then nine tenths so player two takes all four cards and puts it on the bottom of their deck. The players keep playing until one person has all the cards. (Alternate rule: take won cards and put in a pile, when the cards run out the person with the largest pile wins.)

Mancala - Great for counting, move marbles/stones around until your side does not have any. Can make this game easily for free with circles on paper and markers (beads, stones, etc.) Amazon Link

Nim - Can play with markers (beads, stones, etc.) you have. Great math game and challenging. Wikipedia Link


Probability:

Roulette - Great game that can be used to teach probability (and why gambling is bad math). I do not own any of these Amazon Link Soder your Own Electronic One or Amazon Link

Blackjack or Twenty-One - (addition and probability) All you need is a deck of cards and the rules to play for fun. Wikipedia Link


Programming:

Robot Turtles - Was the most backed Kickstarter board game in history. Teaches programming fundamentals to kids 3 and up. Write programs with cards. Everyone can win. Amazon Link

Arduino Uno Starter Kits - Great starter kit for that budding programer in your life. The projects are easy to follow and make. I like kits and pay more for them because I expect the projects to work without much hassle, and these projects do! You could save a little bit of money searching for your own parts to make this kit. The book is free online and you could print your own book but I like the ease of knowing the project will work when I am first learning something. These kits run from $55-100 depending on the materials in them.  Amazon Link Ultimate Starter Kit
Adafruit Link Experimentation Kit Adafruit Link Starter Pack

Kodu -  Visual programing language made by Microsoft for Kids to design games. Free download of program for the PC about $5 to download to the XBox. KODU website


Reasoning - Geometry and Proportional:

Orienteering - All you really need is a compass and a map. Great excuse to get out in the fresh air and explore. Letterboxing and Geocashing can use some of the same skills (if the clues for the box have this information as part of the clues.) For more information see Orienteering.org

Origami - Folding paper into cool shapes is a fun way to work on geometric shapes. There are lots of free patterns online or you can buy a kit. Wikipedia Link  Amazon Search

Dots and Boxes - Paper and pencil game. Draw lines between the dots to make boxes, the person who makes the most number of boxes wins. Wikipedia Link


Spatial:

Blokus - Board Game love this one! Amazon Link Mini Game Amazon Link
3D Tic-Tac-Toe game

Magformers - Magnetic Construction Set to build things with triangles and squares Amazon Link

Connect Four - Can be played with graph paper or buy the game. Great game uses gravity and chips for the players to try to connect four chips together. Alternate to the game makes each chip worth points and the kids have to add up the points. Connect four educational Amazon Link

Rush Hour - Move the red car off the board.  Amazon Link

Shape by Shape - Similar to Tangram puzzle. Have odd shaped pieces, the challenge is to make the shape on the card with the given pieces, answers are on the back of the cards. Has 60 challenge cards. Amazon Link



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