Top 5 Favourite Gifts for Explorers, Tinkerers and Makers!

Written by Holly Arnason, Digital Literacy Librarian

At EPL, we're always looking for opportunities to connect families with resources and programs that support the development of digital literacy skills. And just in time for the holidays, EPL staff have compiled a list of their favourite gadgets. This gift guide features some of the newest technology we’ve spotted to support digital literacy including some favourites from EPL Makerspace programs.

If you’re looking for gifts for kids who like robots, gadgets or are interested in learning to code, take a look at these fabulous ideas!

Fisher Price Code-a-Pillar ($50)

code-a-pillar
Photo source: Fisher-Price.com

This cute caterpillar robot teaches pre-schoolers (or anyone!) some basic computer programming concepts like events and sequencing with segments that can be re-arranged. Colourful lights and sounds make the caterpillar come to life at your command! For ages 3 – 6.

Osmo for iPad (kits range from $100 - $170)

osmo
Photo source: Osmo

Osmo uses an ingenious mirror system to make your iPad respond to physical code blocks, colourful geometric shapes, or word tiles! Encourages creative thinking and literacy development. Great to explore with a friend or sibling. For ages 5 – 12. Osmo requires and is compatible with most iPads.

Sphero SPRK+ ($149)

sphero
Photo source: Sphero

With your help, this speedy robot can be programmed to navigate a maze, paint a picture, swim in water, or even race against your pets or siblings! Sphero has apps for both beginner and experienced programmers, and is a fun way to learn and practice math, science, art and other STEAM skills. For ages 8 and up. Android tablet or iOS device required.

Snap Circuits ($40 - $100)

snap-circuits
Photo source: Elenco

From Green Energy to Glow-in-the-Dark Illumination to RC Rovers, there are many different Snap Circuit Kits to fit many different interests. These durable and reasonably priced kits are a great way to learn about electricity and circuitry! For ages 8 and up, and especially recommended for grade 5 and 6.

Ozobot Bit 2.0 ($75 - $120)

ozobot
Photo source: Ozobot

Is there an artist in your family or someone who loves to colour? This tiny line-following robot turns, dances, wiggles, or spins based on commands that you draw! There are also apps for this cute robot and even 3D printable accessories to find online! For ages 8 and up.

ANKI Cozmo ($200+)

anki
Photo source: ANKI Inc.

Although Cozmo is more so a toy than educational tool, people – including EPL’s Makerspace staff – are very excited about this cute and mischievous robot with a big personality. Cozmo learns from you as it interacts and has been compared to Pixar’s WALL-E robot.

For ages 3 and up. Cozmo’s small parts are a hazard for kids under 3. Adult assembly and set up required.

Help Build a Revitalized Downtown Library ($25 - $2,000)

Don’t know what to get for the special person in your life who has it all? Donate to EPL in honour of a loved one and make a difference in your community. Support the revitalized Stanley A. Milner Library and the children’s Makerspace today!

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