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As a parent of an elementary-grade kid, I'm always on the lookout for ways to inspire kid-engineering: the mindset of building anything you can imagine. Here's four great ones I've come across recently:

  • The Electric Loog Guitar (Kickstarter) - electric followup to last year's popular Loog 3-String Guitar
  • The Kano Computer (Kickstarter) - Raspberry Pi-based self-assemble starter kit for kids w/ Scratch programming + games
  • LittleBits Synth Kit (link) - Self-assemble music synthesizer
  • GoldieBlox (link) - pulleys and gears kit for kids


Began reading J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" tonight from the 75th Anniversary hard-cover addition (covered and illustrated as it was when read to me 35 years ago). So far, the idea of a baker's dozen of uninvited dwarves arriving for tea and cake with their personal appetites, instruments, and a smoke-ring blowing wizard has been met with captivation.

In all my years of story reading, from ancient Greek mythology to talking Dr. Seussian creatures, I've never heard such a wonderful, precious, time-travelling "What happens next, daddy?".

"What do you think happens next?" I asked. Someone fell asleep before the answer got too far from "they eat more cake; the dragon is at the end..."