Do you have a teen who loves to tinker? Are they always pulling things apart? Building and creating? Perhaps they are a budding engineer? Here are gift ideas for teens who love to tinker!
Gifts For Teens Who Love To Tinker
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As the holidays draw near I’ve realized that my son is no longer interested in toys. He’s past the age where a day at the toy store could finish off my shopping list. I’ve spent many hours curating a list of unique and special gift ideas for teens that love to tinker, make and create. From aspiring blacksmiths to artists to engineers. I have a little something for everyone.
I’ve organized this by interest, but I find I personally am picking from many of the areas. With teens their interests are vast and it is important that we foster those curiosities and passions. You never know where a simply gift might take a person in their life.
With that, here are some of our gift ideas for teens who love to tinker!
This year we discovered a company called MEL Science and ever since then we have been obsessed! As a science loving family their subscription programs are everything we love about self directed learning and passion projects.
The best part is that this program is perfect for teens who want to dive into sciences and learn in a hands on way. Remember those amazing chemistry sets we used to get when we were kids? This is like that, but so much better! It even includes a VR component and the opportunity to attend live sessions with their scientists.
We have been using their MEL Science program for about a year now and love it. It is perfect for teens. They also have a brand new Physics program that looks INCREDIBLE and the MEL Kids program for younger kids who love to build.
We are big fans of Creation Crate. It’s a fantastic subscription box program that teaches circuits and coding by working with breadboards, jumper wires, resisters and more. The best part is that each box builds on the knowledge taught in the previous box. My tween loves doing these boxes with my help, but teens and adults would find this box program a wonderful challenge they can do themselves. Creation Crate now has a variety of programs including the original, 2.0, Creation Crate Jr. and Girls that Make. They have something for everyone!
Another program I’m really excited about is littleBits. They have some amazing build kits and they are getting great reviews. We have our first kit, and are having an absolute blast with it and can’t wait to add even more to our collection. We also really enjoy Snap Circuits and Squishy Circuits.
Blacksmith and Metal Artist
For the aspiring blacksmith and Forged in Fire fan, this series of books is an essential library for all blacksmiths. As blacksmiths ourselves we hear constantly from parents of tween and teens that their kids are all about blacksmithing and dream about being on the hit show Forged in Fire. Stoke those dreams with these books, and let’s keep these ancient arts alive!
For even more ideas and suggestions for kids that love blacksmithing check out this article So You Want To Be A Blacksmith.
Another, very teen friendly, activity for metal lovers and aspiring metal artists, is to try metal stamping. It’s all the metal fun without the fire. We’ve chatted here about metal stamping from making hand stamped gifts to creating tags for all the important stuff in your life. Metal stamping is a fantastic project for teens who love to tinker and hammer! Buying a starter kit to get your teen stamping is a fantastic gift idea. Get all the details here.
Film Making, YouTube and Vlogging
My son loves to create films. Wait, that may not be entirely true. He is OBSESSED! This child never wants to put his camera down. He is constantly coming up with new film ideas, scenes, costuming, etc. This year he has been self teaching himself Adobe Premiere. He is so passionate about film making it is hard to keep up with him. Building sets, planning scenes, shooting with his friends, editing them together. For my tinkering tween, this is his favourite way to spend the day. There are lots of different tools and gifts I could get him, from stop motion to film editing tools. I’ve picked a few of his recommendations for you here.
In addition to the tools, a big thing for my son is having the books and resources to continue learning his craft. I’ve put together a film makers resource library for him that you can check out.
Techies Looking for Fun Coding and Tech
Do you have a teen that would rather create their own Minecraft Mod than play the game? Do they like tinkering with code or dream of creating their own app? The world of programming and coding is wide open for our youth and encouraging them to learn this new second language will only empower them in their future professional careers. We mentioned Creation Crate earlier, which is an exceptional tool for teaching coding with a full curriculum. But there are many other coding opportunities for teens. But this year one of the greatest tech we have added to our learning is an Oculus Quest. The educational opportunities with VR are incredible. You can learn more about VR and Kids here.
Mechanical Engineer That Loves to Create
From cars to robots to machines, mechanical engineers build some of the most amazing things. These gifts will help your teen fine tune those mechanical skills as they tinker their way to some complex and functional creations.
Designers and Architects
Let’s face it, if a tween or teen is an aspiring artist they probably already have clear ideas of what mediums they prefer, which paints they love, and what tools they want. But why not take their art to a new dimension and surprise them with a 3D Pen or 3D printer? Imagine all the new dimensions they could create!
Soap and Bath Bomb Making Kit
We have loved making bath bombs and soaps this year. It has been a wonderful learning activity and inspired so much amazing creativity. The best part is that the kids have learned a lot about chemistry, product creation and how to tinker with recipes to see how it affects the final products. Plus, this could turn into a fun side hustle if they ever need to make a few extra dollars!
To get started making bath bombs and soaps you will need to build a bath bomb and soap making tinker kit. Here are the items we recommend including.
For a quick, all in one bath bomb making solution, try this Spa Lab from Smart Labs. We love all of their STEAM kits!
I also highly recommend a variety of silicone molds if you have a teen interested in making bath bombs and soaps. You can read more about why we recommend silicone molds here.
Then check out some of our bath bomb and soap making articles to learn all the techniques and science to help you get started! Here are a few of our articles or just use the search bar to find even more inspiration.
If you have an older, mature teen wood burning projects can be a wonderful creative outlet. The kits to get started are quite inexpensive and you can use inexpensive wood pieces from the dollar store or even a scrap pile to create!
Our friends over at Forging Magic have a really cool BFF Key Chain wood burning project that is perfect for beginners.
CAUTION: Wood burning projects involves working with very hot tools and is a fire hazard. Follow all manufacturer precautions, create in a safe place, and ensure your teen is mature enough to safely use the tools.
The Teen Who Loves To Tinker
Still stuck for ideas? Head down to your local tool store and load up! Teens who love to tinker also love their tools. A great gift idea is to provide them with a variety of tools to aide them on their tinkering adventures. Build A Tinker Tool Kit or a Circuit Tinkering Set. Then watch their imaginations and creativity soar!