No matter what age they are, boys can be difficult to shop for. Thankfully, there are many time-tested gift options that appeal to boys of any age, and we’ve rounded up some of our favorites. This list features some of the best toys, gadgets, and games available now, with an emphasis on fun for all ages. So whether you are picking a gift for a young man or a full-grown man-child, these selections will surely be a hit.
1. Microduino mCookie
The Microduino mCookie is a powerful modular electronic system based off of Arduino microcontrollers, and it aims to lower the barrier of entry for DIY electronics. Combining the magnetic and LEGO-compatible modules is simple and requires no special knowledge of soldering or programming. The mCookie kit is both magnetic and LEGO-compatible, which allows you limitless building options for making your own inventions.
Microduino offers beginner, advanced, and expert mCookie kits, each with an increasing number of color-coded modules, which always include a core USB module, a bluetooth 4.0 module, a battery management module, and a peripheral accessory hub. Included accessories will include microphones, impact sensors, displays, motors, joysticks, or even temperature sensors depending on the kit, meaning that you can program a stack of mCookies to do almost anything with the right plan and setup.
With the advanced kit that I was invited to review, I was able to dive right in and follow the included tutorial to make a music box, and am now in the process of making my own motion sensor alarm. The possibilities go way beyond the included tutorials, as you can also find hundreds of open-source projects on the Microduino Wiki, and with a little practice, make designs of your own entirely from Scratch (a beginner-friendly system for dragging and dropping pre-written code).
For the designer who is already at the level of building their own dream machines, the mCookie is an excellent medium for prototyping or exploring alternate design options. But it doesn’t take programming experience to be able to use the mCookie to build your own electronic contraptions, just the building blocks to start with and the will to learn. Watch the mCookie spark the will to create in the young mind of your future inventor, and you will then know its power.
Beginner Kit Price: $99.99
Advanced Kit Price: $199.99
Expert Kit Price: $299.99
2. LEGO Imperial Star Destroyer Set
Legos are a gift that anybody can enjoy regardless age or gender, especially sets as beautifully intricate as the Imperial Star Destroyer set. This iconic LEGO set is over 19 inches long, and and includes a treasured Darth Vader minifig. Once assembled, its top pops off to reveal the control room, and the set also has two spring-loaded shooters. There is more than enough to make this the coolest set you can gift. Browse more Star Wars LEGO sets here.
Price: $114.99 (12 percent off MSRP)
3. UDI U818A RC Quadcopter
This hobby-level drone is currently the #1 best-selling drone product on Amazon, and makes a great gift for an RC enthusiast looking to take to the sky in a new way. It has a modular design that makes it easy to modify and the controls are very easy to pick up. In just minutes, you will be ready to go airborne with the U818A, and enjoying up to 10 minutes of advanced flight time.
Price: $54.99 (45 percent off MSRP)
4. Jamstik+ Portable SmartGuitar
Learning guitar has never been easier than it is with the Jamstik+, a digital guitar that wirelessly connects to your iPad, iPhone or Mac. The Jamstik works as a MIDI controller that employs real guitar strings and frets to offer a new perspective on electronic music production, plus an extremely useful teaching tool. Students of any musical level can use specially designed apps to learn new scales and chords, or hone their musical dexterity.
The free app jamTutor incorporates the Jamstik+ to offer a comprehensive set of guitar lessons, and the free FourChords app employs a Guitar Hero-like minigame to teach you popular guitar hits across genres. The primary Jamstik+ App offers plenty of space for advanced users to freely develop a song, but many will opt to use the Jamstik+ as a MIDI controller for software like GarageBand, Logic, and Ableton.
Even with my several years of guitar experience, I was able to learn several new chord shapes and scales, but I have primarily taken to using my Jamstik+ as a wireless MIDI controller. Incorporating features like string bends, vibrato, tap mode, and hammer-ons with a synth voice opens up a whole new door of possibilities. This is a great pick for anyone interested in music, because it is the only device out that makes learning music and writing songs more fun than they already are.
5. Nerf Mega ThunderBow Blaster
Nerf toys are always a blast, but this flexing ThunderBow blaster departs from the usual firearm design with an archery-inspired bowstring mechanism for launching. This toy can shoot 5 whistling darts up too 100 feet, and comes with a total of 10 darts. Ask any nerf lover, nothing beats taking aim and letting your darts scream through the sky.
Price: $32.99 (18 percent off MSRP)
6. New Nintendo 3DS XL
The Nintendo 3DS is Nintendo’s latest handheld gaming system known for combining a bottom touchscreen, and a top 3D screen for immersive, all-age gaming. The system has tons of additional features like wireless online play, a full-on Mii creation system that gives players their own avatars, and built-in amiibo capability. Most Nintendo fans will be on the lookout for top titles like Super Smash Bros. 3DS, or The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
7. Exploding Kittens: A Card Game About Kittens and Explosions and Sometimes Goats
As one of the most-backed projects in the history of Kickstarter, Exploding Kittens has already drummed up plenty of excitement. Any why? Because it is a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats. Also each card is illustrated by TheOatmeal. Players take turns drawing cards trying not to draw an exploding kitten, using cards along the way to move, mitigate, or avoid said kittens. The game is quick to master for hours of fun.
8. CoolReall Self-Balancing Scooter
They are known by many names: hoverboards, self-balancing scooters, mini segways, or even swagways. But however you know them, these two-wheeled transporters are the next big wave in personal transportation. The CoolReall self-balancing scooter is a solidly built device that weighs about 30 lbs but could still be easily transported. Though it takes some getting used to, self-balancing scooters are easy to use, and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Each wheel has its own motor and the two halves are connected with an axle, meaning that you can turn on a dime. The scooter also handles bumps, inclines, and declines quite well too. A 1 hour charge will get you to maximum battery life, which offers about 4-5 hours of use. Will it be the most fun you’ve had getting around in a while? Yes. Will you look cool using it? That’s up to you to find out.
Price: $449.99 (36 percent off MSRP)
9. Jurassic World Growler Dilophosaurus
The Jurassic World Growler Dilophosaurus is a fun action figure from the Jurassic World film, which makes a set of growling noises and even launches a venom projectile. The button on the side lets out a low snarl, while pulling back on the Dilophosaurus’ tail lets out a mighty roar and launches his venom shot. This dino stands at about 7.5 inches tall, and has flapping neck frills that you can make puff out. Younger boys will love the fun action features of this dino figure, and pair great with other additional figures. Browse more Jurassic World figures here.
10. Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid
The Sphero BB-8 droid from the upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes to life in this tabletop-sized wireless toy. Though it stands just under 5 inches tall, it moves just like it does in the film, and interacts with its environment in a number of ways. It gets about an hour battery life, and requires you to sync the droid up with a phone running the free Sphero BB-8 App. This app allows you to control the BB-8, record holographic message, and set him to explore the area around him, among other features. There are tons of different functions to explore, and BB-8 develops his own unique attitude and actions as you interact.
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