Over the years, I’ve become more and more jaded about Christmas. I’m a big Grinch when it comes to all the pomp and circumstance – the tree and decorations, cards and parties. Just not my idea of a good time.
Even so, I have to admit I like giving gifts. I try to do it all year. I’m constantly looking for cool geeky t-shirts on DayOfTheShirt.com or perusing Facebook for fun CrossFit-themed socks and clothes. My daughters know I have a bag of t-shirts for each of them that I hand stuff out of when I feel like they deserve a special something.
Some years I do really well with Christmas gifts and have things bought months in advance. This year… not so much. There was a general sense of “meh” and a real lack of inspiration for some reason. That’s not to say that we didn’t have a fantastic year – with a week in Breckenridge and a trip to Spain I don’t think anybody suffered. And, as always, the geeky t-shirts won out.
When I saw a video on Facebook from the company FlyBrix, I knew I hit the jackpot for AJ. She is our inquisitive kid. Mickey may be the artistic performer in the family, but AJ loves putting things together. She’s our Lego kid.
This video sold me in less than a minute:
It was one of the more expensive gifts I’ve purchased lately, but I knew it would be worth it.
The idea is simple. Take Legos, which are already kid-friendly, and add a more technical element: drones. Not only does this teach a bit about how things fly and a bit about electronics, but it serves as a great introduction to the world of radio controlled items. In a world where marketable skills are shifting towards software and hardware development, this offers a great incentive to learn some new things and have fun at the same time.
Today, when AJ and I built our first Lego-based drone with the kit, I knew I hit pay dirt. In about an hour we had a simple drone built. Now, I won’t say that we were all that successful in flying it! But we had a blast putting it together.
The first project is a quad-copter, so four rotors. We were able to update the firmware on the computer with simple directions and a USB cable, get the first project put together, and then try to fly it.
Even though we crashed it about 3 times before we put everything away for today, we both had a blast.
Next time… an octocopter! And I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
But if you’re looking for a way to get a Lego-loving kid into something a bit more technically challenging, this may be it. Check out their website — Flybrix.com — for more information.
Definitely the best gift I purchased for Christmas this year — just having that experience with AJ was priceless.