It’s time to find that awesome geeky toy for Christmas or a birthday gift, but where do you start? How can you possibly find something suitable with a paltry $100 budget?
Worry not: we’re certain you’ll find something ideal in this collection of 10 awesomely geeky toys for under $100, which are all available from Amazon.
A seasonal toy guide is never complete without mention of the greatest sci-fantasy movie franchise ever, Star Wars.
One of the most impressive toys on the market, this Star Wars-themed kit from littleBits doesn’t just let you build your own R2-D2 droid. There’s far more to it than that! From creating the circuit — snapping plastic-mounted components together — to constructing the droid, this is an engaging toy that hides a few extras. Not only does the kit include a motor and servo, but you can customize your own R2-D2 with appropriate stickers, and control it using a mobile app.
Then there’s the advanced “missions” found in the app, challenging you to control the droid in a number of ways. It can draw, for instance, or follow an outlined route, and this droid can also be “pushed” thanks to a sensor. Basically, it looks like you’re performing a Jedi “Force push” on the little guy!
You’re probably aware of 3D printing, a process in which you can build created items using a plastic filament, layer-upon-layer. These printers are expensive, of course, which is where you might consider a 3Doodler Create 3D Pen. While not a 3D printer replacement by any stretch of the imagination, these pens are, however, a superb artistic device.
As well as enabling you to build your own 3D art in layers, the 3Doodler pen will also draw upwards! This means that you can create cubes, chairs, pyramids, and other shapes. To help your builds, you can print out various templates. But all you really need for your own designs is a piece of paper and a pencil. Simply trace over with the 3D printer pen, pull the dry design away, and glue together. See my review for more details.
Although the company products a child-specific version, we recommend you try the main 3Doodler Create.
Developed by Hasbro and Harmonix (the team behind Rock Band), this is a fast-paced music-mixing game that lets you create random song mixes. In the pack are 60 cards from various top artists, such as Bruno Mars, Flo Rida, and Evanescence.
The results are sometimes unnerving, but also brilliant.
Not only does the game combine music, it also combines traditional card-based gameplay with a mobile app. The card tray even comes with a slot into which you can place your tablet (Android or iPad). With the game underway, you then use the free app to play the results of your mix.
Great for evenings in or parties, the Dropmix Music Gaming System is aimed at the 16+ age group.
4. Robosapien X
An amazing 14 inches tall and designed by a NASA scientist, Robosapien X is the latest update to the award-winning humanoid robot. With fast, fully-functioning arms and two gripper types, he can walk or run. Among his tricks is the ability to turn, and path tracing enables you to plot routes for the robot.
Programming is simple via mobile app (iOS or Android), although the package also includes a remote control.
More or less identical to the original Robosapien, this is essentially a tenth anniversary celebratory release. If you’ve been wondering how they could improve on the original, the answer is right here.
Fancy yourself as a real-life Tony Stark, but don’t have the billions of dollars or DIY skills to make your own suit? Don’t worry.
This amazing replica helmet does almost everything the movie Iron Man’s headware does. Not only does it look good (thanks to the premium sculpt, finish, and detailing), but the helmet also features LED light-up eyes! It requires three AAA batteries. These power not only the LEDs, but the collection of sound effects, too.
Meanwhile, the faceplate is detachable and magnetic, while you can open the lower portion of the helmet to aid fitting. This helmet really is quite impressive for the price.
Note: J.A.R.V.I.S. not included.
This Armada Game is a two-player miniatures game that plunges you into epic space battles.
Assemble a fleet, survey objectives, form a battle plan, and plot a course to destroy your enemy. Tactical commands can decide the course of the battle and the fate of the Empire or the Rebellion! Just pick up the core game from Amazon to get started.
As Armada predates the new run of Star Wars films, this is no explicit tie-in. However, this is a fun piece of gaming that is both thrilling and in-depth. Although sold as a standalone game, you can enhance it with numerous expansion packs, also available on Amazon. If you prefer video games, check out games all Star Wars fans will love.
This unusual gift idea is made almost entirely of wood. If you buy it from Amazon, you can check yourself — it’s a DIY build!
What you get in the box is a number of high-quality plywood sheets. The component pieces are laser cut, ready for you to press them out. The instructions will guide you through building the safe, creating tumbler wheel locks, and manipulating spindles and fences to operate the lock.
In short, this is a two-in-one experience. First, build the safe, then challenge people to unlock it successfully. The manufacturer suggests you could also use it to hide a different (smaller) present inside — such a great idea, we think you’ll agree.
No list of awesome toys can be complete without mention of LEGO. This 1960s VW Beetle build comes from the Creator Expert series, and like the real car, features a spare wheel under the hood! You’ll also find an opening trunk and doors, moving wheels, a movable motor, and plenty other elements of the original vehicle.
Like a previous VW build (the world-famous camper), this LEGO kit also features some nice accessories. The roof rack accommodates a surf board and cool box, while a beach towel is also included.
Creator Expert kits are not easy builds. You’ll need to put plenty of time aside to build this, but it will be worth every minute!
Fans of wearables (like the BBC micro:bit) will love this kit. It’s a compact collection of lights, batteries and conductive thread. After prototyping with crocodile clips, you’ll be able to create your own wearables while you travel.
Like many such kits, you’ll find the Rogue Making Deluxe Wearable Tech Kit is suitable for newbies and experienced wearable creators alike.
The simplicity of this kit is clear. As for the possibilities, they’re potentially endless. You could, for example, brighten up a hat with some LEDs. Or you might add some glowing eyes to a cuddly toy. Full details of the possibilities can be found at the manufacturer’s website, Rogue Making. We particularly like the fact that this kit is so portable, and comes packaged in a small, resealable plastic box.
Let’s end as we began, with a Star Wars droid. This time, it’s a watch inspired by the popular BB8, who first appeared in 2015’s The Force Awakens. Although billed as a “smartwatch,” the device cannot be synced with a smartphone or used as a fitness tracker.
Instead, it offers 36 Star Wars-themed clock faces (for youngsters to learn to tell the time in digital or analog) and three games. But the big draw here is the camera. With enough storage for 1,600 photos or 11 one-minute videos, this device also includes Star Wars-themed photo effects. Want to add Stormtroopers and other Star Wars characters into your photos? You can!
What Are Your Favorite Tech Toys?
We’ve shared 10 awesome toys for under $100 with a heavy tech/geek/nerd aspect to them. Hopefully, one of these will appeal to whoever is on your gift list this holiday season.
Before you head out to get Christmas gifts, check out the best iPhone apps to make holiday shopping more bearable.
Does this selection work for you? Perhaps you have some experience with one or more of these, or there’s something you would rather see in the list? Tell us in the comments!