Art made of snapshots and genealogy kits make these gifts highly personal, says columnist Marc Saltzman.
Smartphones? Ho-hum. Televisions? Meh. PCs? Yawn.
If you’re looking for a gift that you make — or maybe the recipient gets to create after you give her the tools — there are some innovative projects out there, with price tags of $10 to $200. For instance: build your own drone.
After all, while a wireless headphones set might seem like a welcomed gift, there are a million other pairs exactly like it.
For toy lovers
Drones may be a dime a dozen, but not ones you can build before you fly.
That’s the idea behind FlyBlocks ($59). Let kids be the engineer and pilot, by first building a custom drone with the 72 snap-on pieces and pre-programmed circuit board, and then soar the skies with the included remote control.After you’ve epically totaled your drone, re-build in one of four different models, and take flight again.
For budding inventors
Why not give a gift that keeps on giving?
Without breaking the bank, the XYZprinting da Vinci Mini ($189) is a compact 3D printer that connects wirelessly to your network for Wi-Fi printing throughout your home, office, or classroom – or you can simply press the one button to start the process.
Ideal for beginners, this easy-to-use 3D printer offers sharp precision (with a maximum layer resolution of 400 microns) to create a three-dimensional object up to six inches cubed.
Included in the price is 300 grams of non-toxic PLA filament, cleaning and maintenance tools, a STEAM 3D Design Tutorial eGift Card ($49), and a free downloadable version of XYZmaker 3D modeling design software to get going.
On a related note, kids who enjoy STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) may also get a kick out of the littleBits Gizmos and Gadgets Kit 2nd Edition ($139), which lets loved ones learn how create app-enabled games and fun inventions.