We’re in a STEM era, and the number of programming tutorials, electronic module kits and circuitry projects are on the rise. Which just so happens to be a major plus for you if you’ve got any hacker girls to gift this holiday season. We’ve gathered up 20 fun, hands-on kits that’ll have you and your fellow STEM sistas making, reinventing and redefining the “brogramming” culture.
1. DIY Instrument Kit ($24): If you know of any aspiring hackers, this is a great beginner’s kit. This DIY is a fun, hands-on way to introduce electronics and soldering to your protege. Your hacker will end up with a product that can produce a wide range of sounds through control of the pitch and volume.
2. DIY Gamer Kit ($99): You already know we love gadgets and sets that integrate an Arduino platform, and this kit is no exception. This DIY Gamer Kit takes us back to the OG 8-bit times as it teaches kids to code their own games on an 8×8 LED matrix display. From Snake to Pacman — what will your little hacker code?
3. AgIC Circuit Marker Starter Kit ($25): The AgIC Circuit Marker introduces you to the world of conductivity. You can get creative with your holiday greetings this year by adding some fun lights to your homemade cards while learning about circuitry.
4. DIY Voltage Glowing Village Kit ($30): If the AgIC Circuit Marker sparked your interest, test out your conductivity knowledge with this kit. It uses conductive glue instead of a marker, and you’ll end up with a cute village house that lights up your house.
5. Electric Paint Pen ($10): Feel like you’re too pro for a kit? Or maybe you don’t want to be constrained by instructions and a pre-made kit. Either way, we’re all for getting creative and letting our imaginations flow. Follow your maker soul and start creating awesome Arduino or Raspberry Pi projects with the help of this electric paint.
6. Wireless Light Fixture ($75): Need a new lamp? Why not make one? This kit also comes with a dimmer so you can either set the mood with some low lighting or max out the lamp’s brightness to light up your room.
7. DIY Synth Boombox Project Pack ($75): What better way to blast your jams than with a portable mini boombox that you put together? This little guy would be a great way to amplify your morning alarm. It’d also be a really unique keychain for your purse or backpack.
8. Light Up Stomping Shoe Project Pack ($50): We’re taking it back to the ‘90s with this one, y’all. Remember when those super cute light-up Disney shoes were a must have? Well, you can relive those playground days with this DIY kit. We recommend putting some fabric over the wires and circuit boards before you post the pic of your light-up kicks as a #TBT on your Instagram.
9. Light Up Party Jacket Project Pack ($100): It’s that time of the year where wearing ugly holiday sweaters is totally acceptable. In fact, the uglier it is, the cuter it is. Somehow, it just works that way. Amp up the ugly/cute factor in your holiday wardrobe by adding some lights to your knits with this DIY.
10. DIY Thirsty Plant Kit ($32): It’s always so nice to receive a plant from loved ones, but flowers and potted plants are really easy to forget about. We may not notice them until we see wilted leaves and brown spots on petals. This plant monitoring kit lets you know when your plant needs some of that H2O. This DIY kit doesn’t require soldering and is great for beginners.
11. TinyShield WiFi ($60): Grab your Raspberry Pi and some circuit glue, because you’re going to hook up your latest project to the Internet! Add this WiFi module into your tech DIY toolbox to add more advanced features to your creative inventions.
12. FLORA ($20): You might get this wearable electronic platform confused with the LilyPad on the E-Traces ballet shoes, but they’re a little different. These Arduino-compatible boards light and jazz up your outfit using its motion sensor. Create your own dream wearable tech-cessory using FLORA, or check out their project tutorials if you need some inspiration to get you going.
13. SparkFun Starter Pack for Intel Edison ($115): If you want to explore electronics beyond Raspberry Pi and Arduino, this starter pack is a great way to get into more complex electronics. The Intel Edison has a dual-core CPU, integrated WiFi and Bluetooth LE. It may be tiny, but it sure is packed with a lot of Intel power.
15. Printoo Basic Pack ($107): This Arduino-based platform is paper-thin and its flexibility makes all your everyday objects come to life. There are many different kits on their website, but if you’re looking for individual parts, you can get those as well.
16. LilyPad MP3 ($50): High-tech ballet pointes aren’t the only things the LilyPad can make. This MP3 module comes with an audio decoder chip, micro-SD card socket and a stereo amplifier. Since LilyPads are all about the wearable aspect of their modules, how cute would it be to make a speaker out of fabric? You can sew it onto your backpack or maybe make it into a bracelet. That way you can play your tunes in the most unique and tech-savvy way possible.
17. Arduino Starter Kit ($99): A great introduction to the Raspberry Pi is the Arduino Starter Kit. It comes with 15 different projects that you can make with your starter kit, and they’re all extremely fun and educational. From programming buttons to do specific tasks to creating a love meter, this kit is a great way to explore with electronics and to spark some inspiration in your young ones.
18. Raspberry Pi Camera Module ($30): For all you advanced hackers, this module is great for creating a high-def (1080p) camera and for making some sneaky spy cams. You can program it to have effects, time lapse and slow-mo features.
19. Pi-Top ($399): This kit comes with everything you need to create your very own laptop powered by a Raspberry Pi B+. The shell of the laptop is 3D-printed (!) and it comes in a variety of bright colors (!!). The Pi-Top recently got funded through Indiegogo and the first batch of pledges will be available in May 2015.
20. Raspberry Pi A+ ($20): If you don’t want to spend too much on an entire kit, and you’re confident that your pal has a great tech idea that she’d love to bring to life, this Raspberry Pi is a great, affordable option. Check out some of the creative Raspberry Pi projects we’ve found!
What maker thoughts/ideas are brewing up in your mind? We want to know!