2017 Holiday Maker Gift Guide: Toys and Supplies

The 2017 Holiday Maker Gift Guide Toys and Supplies | My recommendations for maker toys and supplies that make awesome gifts.

It’s that time of year again – the time when we scour the mall and internet to find that perfect present for the little ones (and not so little ones) in our lives.  Instead of buying stuff that just sits there, why not buy some gifts that get kids creating?  In this gift guide, I’ll focus on some of my favorite maker toys and supplies that could be awesome gifts for the holidays.  Next week, I’ll feature my favorite maker-related books.

2017 Holiday Maker Gift Guide: Toys and Supplies Edition

Note: Post contains affiliate links.  I only recommend things I’ve used and loved or that I’ve had recommended to me by those I trust.

For the cardboard creator…

Cardboard is one of my favorite maker supplies – it’s free, and the creative possibilities are endless.  Still, there are some tools that can help make projects more productive and less frustrating.

  • Something to cut cardboard with.  There are many tools out there, but I swear by my Skil cutters.
  • Hot glue guns, glue sticks, packing tape guns.  Pretty much any with good reviews will do – I’ve recommended a few below
  • Acrylic paint – because decorating cardboard projects is half the fun
  • Makedo are awesome to add on to cardboard projects – they make it easy to attach pieces and create joints.

PS: Check out my cardboard challenge posts here, here and here.

For the crafter…

Crafters’ gifts will vary depending on what their favorite crafts are, but here’s some ideas.


PS: Check out my post all about Perler beads for why they’re awesome

For the circuit and robot nerd…

Circuit kits and robotics kits galore now adays.  I haven’t tried all of them out, but I have tried these favorites of mine:

  • littleBits Gizmos and Gadgets Kit – Sure, they’ve got droids now too, but this one (and the STEAM student set) are still my favorites, especially if you’re buying them as gifts
  • Snap Circuits are awesome for younger kids and for those who are just interested in electronics in general
  • Sphero – because it’s an awesome remote control robot that you can code.
  • Dash – because he’s insanely adorable and fun to program.

For everyone!

There are some maker toys that everyone will love (or at least, that’s how I imagine things in my head).  Here’s my gift guide for things that are sure to please.

  • LEGOs.  Do I need an explanation here?  Go for the general open-ended sets rather than themed.
  • K’nex.  Another super fun construction tool
  • MaKey MaKey – because there’s so many amazing possibilities.


PS: Check out Colleen and Aaron’s amazing book for MaKeyMaKey project ideas.


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.

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