I have always thought of Radio Shack as the place to go for random electrical parts, and the occasional gadget. It was never the place I thought to go for my Christmas shopping. So when I got the invite to “Gift Smart” with Radio Shack, I was intrigued. It turns out that Radio Shack has a wonderful range of STEM-related toys for all ages and interests. Who knew?
Radio Shack sent us two products to try out. The first is a Robotics Starter Kit, which Bug immediately nabbed. The Kit requires an Arduino microcontroller board that is not included, but we set to work building it nonetheless. When I checked out the RadioShack website, I found a variety of kits in a wide range of prices. There are some I’d pick up for a kid’s birthday party, and some that are bigger gifts that they might get from grandparents at the holidays.
We are very much a hands-on, constructivist-play sort of family. I love gifts that are about building, designing, and learning, all while having fun. I was so excited to see a full range of littlebits products at Radio Shack, as well as SnapCircuits. These are two products I have recommended in the past as they are great for teaching basic circuits, as well as for encouraging kids to start designing their own electronics.
The second product we received is also one we are familiar with. Roominate is a design and building set that incorporates simple electronic components. In this case, the set includes a spinning motor that can be used to make a fan or any rotating object. It’s geared toward girls, and has walls and various pieces for building furniture. It also has paper and decorations to cut out. The new Roominate sets include a girl doll with a pet. It’s a nice way to engage reluctant girls in building and design, as well as basic circuitry.
Once we get Bug’s robot further along, we’ll head to RadioShack to pick up the Arduino. I’ve been wanting to get one because we can program it to do a variety of things. I might have to pick up some littlebits, too, because we need to add to our collection.
Not everyone wants to join the Maker movement, but Radio Shack also has mini-drones, wireless speakers, RC cars, headphones, mobile phones and accessories, and some other great holiday gifts. Like I said, I was a bit surprised at how much they have added to their range of products. Some of them are nearly impossible to find in-person in other stores. Better still, they have a price match guarantee, so you don’t have to worry about hitting a few different stores to get your items. And? If you hit your local Radio Shack and they don’t have what you want in-store, they can ship it to you – for free! – from elsewhere in their inventory. You don’t even have to call ahead.
If you’re interested in finding some unique and smart gifts for the people in your life, you can visit RadioShack.com or find a local Radio Shack store near you. They’re pretty common in my area, so there is always one nearby.
Disclosure: We received free product and compensation to learn more about Radio Shack’s offerings and to share them with you. As always, the opinions contained in this post are my own.