You’re looking for a geeky toy to buy someone for their birthday or the holidays, but don’t know where to start. How can you possibly find something suitable on a budget of less than $100?
Don’t worry, we’re certain you’ll find something ideal in this collection of awesome toys all priced at under $100—and all available on Amazon!
Who doesn’t want to be an Avenger?
The 50 percent chance of being turned to dust aside, you get to be a hero, and save the world on a regular basis. While those things aren’t available to mere mortals, the littleBits Marvel Avengers Hero Inventor Kit nevertheless lets you code (and decorate) an Iron Man-style gauntlet.
Never seen littleBits before? They’re a collection of electronic components that can be easily hooked up into a basic circuit. Connection simply requires the components be placed in the right order, and magnets do the rest.
This kit features 10 authentic Avengers sounds, the tools to record your own, and hours of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) activities. An iPhone (iOS 10 or above) or Android (5.0 or later) is required to get the full benefit from this kit.
3D printers are expensive; the handheld 3Doodler Create 3D Pen is not. While not a 3D printer replacement by any stretch of the imagination, these pens are superb artistic devices.
As well as enabling you to build your own 3D art in layers, the 3Doodler pen also draws 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. Our 3Doodler Create 3D Pen review is worth reading if you’re tempted. Although the company products a child-specific version, we recommend you try the main 3Doodler Create.
Developed by Hasbro and Harmonix, the Dropmix Music Gaming System is a fast-paced music-mixing game, where the best random song mixes win. 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 mixes 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.
There have been many board game versions of this perennial PC gaming favorite, but Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn might just be the best.
With multiple paths to victory—which makes it ideal for newcomers and experienced tabletop gamers alike—you get the chance to guide your civilization from birth as a small tribe, to becoming the most dominant empire on the planet.
Become one of history’s great leaders: build, explore, trade, engage in diplomacy, and even battle with rivals for global supremacy.
However, beware: while an engaging video game-to-tabletop experience, A New Dawn takes a bit of setting up, and isn’t suitable for under 11s.
Looking for an electronics gift for kids but find littleBits too expensive? This affordable Snap Circuits Electronics Exploration Kit features 30 components that can be used on 100 STEM projects, with projects including a photo sensor, flashing light, and adjustable-volume sensor.
The beauty of Snap Circuits kits is how components snap into place on the plastic breadboard, with no soldering required.
This award-winning kit is suitable for children aged 8+ and features a detailed manual to aid in the creation of each project.
Star Wars: Armada is a two-player miniatures strategy 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 the Ugears Mechanical 3D Safe and Puzzle, you can check yourself—it’s a DIY build.
In the box you’ll find several high-quality plywood sheets. The components 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, which is a pretty fun idea.
No list of awesome toys can be complete without mention of LEGO. This 1960s Volkswagen 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, engine, and plenty of 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 surfboard 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 will love this kit; 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, the Rogue Making Deluxe Wearable Tech Kit is suitable for newbies and experienced wearable creators alike.
Simple, and with endless possibilities, you could illuminate a hat with LEDs, or add glowing eyes to a teddy bear. 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.
Interested in animation? Then the ANI-Mate Clay Animation Movie Maker Kit is the perfect toy. This is essentially an affordable animation studio featuring modelling clay, eyes, four backdrops, and even a stand for your phone.
With a stop-motion animation app installed, you can make your own movie.
Aimed at kids aged 8 and up, this kit also features a book full of tips and ideas for making a stop-motion Claymation movie.
This is a great kit that promises hours of fun, and a new appreciation for animation.
What Are Your Favorite Tech Toys?
We’ve shared some 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. And if not, tell us what you ended up buying instead.
Before you head out to get Christmas gifts, check out the best iPhone apps to help with holiday shopping.