A few gift ideas for the future Ars readers in your life 

Maverick

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Kids v. 80s Tech

On top of all the other things that make gift giving hard (cost, availability, etc.), sometimes you simply have a recipient in mind but no clue what might work. Often, that recipient is, well, a kid.

Ars doesn't do much in terms of kid-oriented (or even parent-oriented) reviews, but we're all human around the Orbital HQ and do a fair amount of interacting with the youths. Anyone can tell you a Nintendo Switch or a souped-up vintage Gameboy might do the trick, but we want to encourage an Ars-y approach. Regardless of where the science ultimately comes down on screentime, gifts that encourage a little critical thought and experimental tinkering instead feel both fun and functional.

So for this week's Orbital Transmission, we're sharing a few of the gift ideas we've been tossing around for the future Ars readers in our lives. While no one at any age will complain about a sleek and stylish hoodie, we think there's room for improvement.

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Orbital Transmission 12.04.2018

LEGO bricks are literally timeless, last 30,000 impressions

Honestly, we'd like 'em for ourselves, but every year seems to bring a new LEGO brick set any kid (or very adult Ars Technica reader) would enjoy. Last year had the Saturn V (which experienced a brief Amazon sale recently) and the Women of NASA, and 2018 saw the arrival of extended Star Wars and Harry Potter LEGO-universes. You still don't want to step on 'em or swallow 'em (recent studies show it took between 1.14 days to 3.04 days for the swallowed LEGO heads to reappear in subjects' excrement, FYI), but these beloved bricks are a classic toy worthy of documentaries for a reason.

Books never go out of style—especially those about space

E-readers are great (whether it be Kindle, Kobo, or Nook in variety), but there's something about having a physical book in hand that can transport you to distant worlds. Reading about space with kids is a proven winner if you ask Ars' writer Cyrus Farivar—a recent run through science books with his five-year-old daughter even led the duo to write letters to some NASA scientists about Europa. So try something like The Jupiter Stone for the little ones; a 2018 re-print of the greatest rocket science book ever (Ignition) may be better for the slightly older crowd.

The Raspberry Pi 3

Do something fun together—like building a console

We like this whole "experiential" gifts trend—doing unique things with the people you love definitely leads to more lasting fun memories than another pair of holiday pajamas. For the Ars-y youths in your life, you can't get much more experiential than a Raspberry Pi. And a project like transforming a newer one into a console that beats the pants off an NES Classic is just the right amount of challenge, need for elder assistants, and payoff to engage even the most screen-salivating kids.

Cards from Villainous

Anything not Monopoly can bring family together

Our Best of 2018 Board Game list continues to be a work in progress (ideally coming within the next week or so), but a little tabletop tends to bring families of all ages together. We've recommended it before, but we'll be wrapping quite a few copies of Villainous—a Disney-baddies card game with glorious artwork and surprisingly complex mechanics—this holiday season. (Hopefully we'll get to play a few rounds to boot.) 

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