I’m not getting any of these, unfortunately, except for the first one (for a research project), but thought I’d share them here:
- Snap circuits electronic circuit kits are amazing and quite affordable (starting at $20). The reviews at Amazon even talk about 5 & 6 year olds playing with the circuits, because it’s essentially like putting a puzzle together when you try to make the color-coded pieces match the diagrams. The Engineering the Future pre-engineering curriculum uses these kits.
- The Gears Gears Gears sets are another neat educational toy idea.
- Dell has a $300 Ubuntu laptop available, the Dell Inspiron Mini 9. See also the Eee PC and XO laptops.
- Full Circle Magazine is a free online Ubuntu magazine. Some of the early issues discussed educational software for Ubuntu (Edubuntu) and also how to lock down an Ubuntu machine for young kids to use.
- And the cursed Tom Caswell (PhD student and instructor here at USU) keeps blogging about his G1 Google Phone, this time listing the best Android apps. No doubt there are some educational android apps available as well. We had the Android SDK and Eclipse plugin up and running pretty quickly in our Java class last week. Next week we’ll check out Project Wonderland (3D multiuser environment) and Pulpcore (applet-based game development framework), along with other demos by our students.
- More affordable than the Wii/Xbox/Playstation and with more game choices than the Leapster, the Nintendo DS has more and more games for young kids, including for example the Smart Boys/Smart Girls/Smart Kids series, Crayola treasure adventure, Diego and Dora games, and if you install a flash drive reader like Acekard you can run homebrew Nintendo DS apps as well. You can get a used Nintendo DS off ebay for under $100.