Friday, December 12, 2014

A Very Tinker-y Holiday!

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I hesitate to write this post now, largely because it's still daylight hours and Mad Natter is right behind me (playing a game)... and I'm about to start talking about his Christmas gifts.  But, he's pretty preoccupied, and as long as I save the actual photo-linking until last, we'll be cool.

For the last several months, Mad Natter has wanted one thing.  Just one.  He wants to make a boost button for the car.  He wants this in the worst way, and he is terribly upset I don't have wires just sitting around the house so he can wire up a button.  He wants to make and do in the worst way!  But, I don't really have a lot around the house that works for this.  I mean, he's got sets of Snap Circuits, but really, that's just not the same thing as wiring up a boost button for the car. I mean, come on. He can make the lights light, sure, or he can make the car go turbo. No contest. And so, I started the hunt for a tinkering kit.

Depressingly, there was pretty much nothing available in the pre-assembled department for this. It would have saved a bunch of time, though probably not saved much money. What I did find, though was a blog post that went over what someone else did for a tinkering kit for their child. Using that as a model, I went over to and started shopping.  Several hours later, I had a list of 18 items, and I was off.  Now I've linked up to the store page with what I picked out for Mad Natter, so I'm not going to flood this post with images of exactly those things.  Instead, I'm going to do a basic list, and give a bit of commentary along the way.

First and foremost, we needed a toolbox. Mad Natter, upon seeing a picture of a tinkering kit, immediately decided to ask Santa for a toolbox for Christmas.  So that was a big deal.  The thing to remember about the one we chose, though, is that it is huge. Make no mistake. I read the dimensions, and I was still surprised by how huge the toolbox was.  Now, if you're a professional and need a toolbox for carrying around a bugger-ton of tools and things you need for day-to-day work, this probably isn't the toolbox for you. But for a 6 year old boy learning to tinker?  I'm over the moon about it, even if it is huge.  It is currently upstairs in the closet, holding the entirety of the kit, as well as holiday presents from two uncles and a couple from Hammie and Buppa. I'm not kidding when I say giant. I'll do a follow-up after the holiday, and show the relative size of this toolbox and Mad Natter.

Next up, the wires. If I put together a kit and didn't get the wires, I think Mad Natter would be crushed. He's been begging for wires - to the point of being ready to pull apart electrical cords to use their wires - for a month or more.  The wires were a necessity, and the multiple colors of the set we chose just makes it a little bit more enticing.  I can't explain just how excited I am for him to open the box and find the wires inside.  It's a little distressing, honestly.

Also included in the kit:
Hand saw
Needle nose pliers
Tape measure
Binder clips
Zip ties
Hand drill
Drill bits
Adjustable wrench 
Standard pliers

And we can't forget safety equipment.  Buppa laughed at me, picking up welding goggles for Mad Natter, but honestly, they have flip-up 'shades.' When you're six, what's cooler than goggles with flip up sunglasses? Maybe it's just Mad Natter, but flip-up anything is cool, having real safety goggles with a flip is just bonus cool.  Then also, as he gets older, he'll be able to use them if he does decide to take up welding, so why not? They were only about fifty cents more than the regular goggles, so... Hey, I went with it.

And lastly, the apron. Mad Natter is such an oddity with sizes (seriously, he's in a size 8 shirt, and only just getting into size six pants) that I opted for a lab coat. It's protective (although not really for more than keeping clothes clean) without requiring tying at the waist, and therefore being the right size in the torso and dragging to the ankles after. Yes, this got me a lot of suggestions for mad scientist costuming, but it's worth it. He's got a hook in his room to hang a lab coat on, and I think it'll go over as a lot more fun than an apron - which we all know is what we wear for cooking (I laugh, but he really does!).

I have plans to keep looking around for things like balsa wood (the sheets I found on Amazon would only just be shipping now, and we wouldn't be able to get them before the holiday), and possibly screws, but these are things I'll be sourcing locally, looking for the best deal (protip: Home Depot does not carry balsa!).  I'm actually really excited for the holiday so I can give all these things to him, and see what he comes up with!