Creative kits for kids by Makers Toolbox

There are many things that come with kids that are very unpleasant. It’s true. They’re lovely creatures, but they’re also incredibly messy. There’s the diapers, there’s the runny noses… and then there’s Fisher Price. I still find myself humming the tune from that toy vacuum once in a while.

Here’s what I look for in a toy:

a) it’s fun

b) it keeps the kids busy for more than 30 seconds

c) it’s not bigger than the couch

d) bonus points if it’s educational

e) extra bonus points for responsibly-made (aka no more plastic, please)

f) mega-bonus for locally-made.

Get this – I found a company that gets every item in the wish list with flying colors: Makers Toolbox. I saw their Scribbler kit at a holiday fair recently, stopped on my tracks, and said “WOW” a bunch of times like my 4-year-old would. It’s wow alright.

Makers Toolbox creates DIY kits that are fun, affordable and educational. These creative kits include simple, easy-to-understand electronic components. Putting them together is a fun project, and the result is a cool, imaginative gadget that kids (and adults) will want to play with again and again. The Scribbler kit is $25 and includes everything to put together a crazy color machine. Kids 8 and up can put it together on their own, younger children need adult help and supervision. But there’s more – ever wondered what a proptractor looks like?

Available in wood ($50) and recycled cardboard ($35). This is what the kit comes with:

Mick Kelly and Sue Williams launched Makers Toolbox last September at the New York Maker Faire 2012 and received a Blue Ribbon Editor’s Choice award from Make magazine. That’s a pretty auspicious beginning! Mick and Sue have been working with young makers for a long time: in 2006, they started Spiderfish, a series of innovative, hands-on workshops for kids that begun operating in Dublin, Ireland, and has recently crossed the Atlantic.

Coming up, Makers Toolbox has plans to add new kits: “We have a new kit coming out in January called the “Jiggety Jumper” for younger kids. This is a cardboard marionette kit that is very fun. We also have several other maker kits quietly in the works that I am super excited about… one of them may even fly!

Makers Toolbox kits are available on their website, and at these local retailers: Norman and Jules in Park Slope and Story in Manhattan.