Make Amazing Toy and Game Gadgets

Make Amazing Toy and Game Gadgets

by Amy Pinchuk, Tina Holdcroft, Allan Moon

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Fun to play. More fun to make.

This original and richly informative book motivates kids to get mechanical and make very entertaining gadgets and games.

Fun projects using easy-to-find materials include:

  • Lightbox
  • Flashing jewelry
  • Blinking sunglasses
  • Spy camera
  • Buzzer game

The author


Fun to play. More fun to make.

This original and richly informative book motivates kids to get mechanical and make very entertaining gadgets and games.

Fun projects using easy-to-find materials include:

  • Lightbox
  • Flashing jewelry
  • Blinking sunglasses
  • Spy camera
  • Buzzer game

The author provides loads of color photographs and helpful step-by-step diagrams to ensure successful projects. Handy troubleshooting tips spot problems before the job is done. This lively activity book is any budding engineer's delight.

Make Amazing Toy and Game Gadgets builds on the success of the Popular Mechanics for Kids™ brand. The critically acclaimed Popular Mechanics for Kids™ television series can been seen six days a week on Discovery Kids, and the website ( continues to draw fans.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Promoted by Popular Mechanics for kids, this interesting workbook is a how-to for constructing five simple projects using "buzzers that buzz, parts that move and lights that flash." Cleverly illustrated and laid out, each project lists the materials needed and step-by-step instructions with illustrations. Features include the ways to test each project as you move along as well as side boxes that tell an interesting fact about a related subject. Safety is touted at all stages, but beginners will probably need some adult assistance. A glossary of terms and an index are provided. Perfect for the do-it-yourself family or kid who loves taking things apart to see how they work. 2001, HarperCollins Children's Books, $16.95 and $8.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger

Product Details

Maple Tree Press
Publication date:
Popular Mechanics for Kids Series
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.22(d)
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Build Amazing Toys and Games, Now!

Put your building cap on, roll up your sleeves, and make some awesome toys and games. All of these nifty gadgets are made of buzzers that buzz, parts that move, and lights that flash. So they're fun to build and play around with. What's more, they'll make you the most fun-to-be-with kid on the block.

Outta Sight Light Box
Made from an ordinary matchbox, this little treasure box lights up when you open it. It makes a great spy flashlight, cool greeting card, or lust a funky place to stash stuff.

Buzz Off Game
Make a game that requires a steady hand. Move the wand along the wire. But don't touch the wire or -- bzzzzt -- you'll have to buzz off and let the next person take a turn.

Flashy Jewelry
Light up your life -- or someone else's -- with a handmade piece of jewelry. Powered by a battery, the lights flash on and off to reveal the wearer's inner glow.

Cool Shades
Glasses so cool you can wear them in the dark. You create the circuit yourself that makes the lights flash on and off, slowly or quickly -- it's your choice.

Spy Camera
A small and silent pinhole camera -- made out of cardboard, paper, and glue, and using real film.

Start by choosing a cool gadget that you want to make. Then carefully read through all the step-by-step instructions. This will give you an idea of what you're going to do and what to expect along the way.

Once you've chosen a project, take a good look at Tools & Stuff You Need on the first page of the activity. Chances are you'll be able to find most of these things around your home, and you'll have a few things to buy from local hardware or electronicstores.

Gather up what you've got at home, make a shopping list, and buy what you need. If you can't find exactly what's called for, try to find something similar. For example, use Bristol board instead of index cards. But when it comes to electrical stuff like wires, batteries, and electrical tape, play it safe by using exactly what's listed. Check out The "What's That?" Glossary on page 60 and How-to Tips on page 57 to find out more about what things are and how to use them. Get going and have fun!

[each project has sections on:]

Your personal guide leads you through the tough parts and tells you what to watch out for as you build.

Test This! directions help you test the gadget as you go to make sure it's in perfect working order every step of the way.

Step-by-step pictures and instructions show you how to make each gadget.

Zoom In on the Mechanics gives you the inside scoop on how each gadget works.


Put Safety First

When it comes to building mechanical gadgets and working with electrical gizmos, pros always put safety first. The pros check and test what they're building every step of the way. They also make sure their finished product is neat and tidy so it is safe to use.

All of the gadgets described in this book are perfectly safe to make. The step-by-step instructions for building them are based on the methods of the pros. When extra safety caution is needed for certain steps, the instructions tell you to wear safety goggles or to get an adult to help. The activities in this book are for kids at least nine years old. Keep all materials out of the reach of younger children.

Here are a few golden rules to help you play it safe:

  • Handle all tools with care.
  • All the gadgets use regular batteries. Use only the batteries listed. NEVER try to make or use any of the gadgets with other power sources like the plug-in outlets in your home or larger batteries. That's a double D: dumb and dangerous!
  • Read over and follow any directions that come with the stuff you're working with such as glue, buzzers, batteries, and resistors.
  • Take special care when you're working with glue. When using drills, X-Acto knives, and other cutting tools, always work with an adult. Never drill or cut toward your body or your hands. Make sure you don't damage any furniture or surfaces around you.
  • If you're not sure about something, ask an adult for help.

Meet the Author

Amy Pinchuk, a doctor of engineering, is uniquely qualified to create these innovative, high-quality Popular Mechanics for Kids™ books. In addition to running her own consulting firm, which specializes in high-tech communication and navigation systems, Amy is also involved with the European Space Agency, Canadian Navy, Natural Sciences Research Council and is a professor of engineering at McGill University. Amy enjoys raising and riding horses, stone sculpting, photography and skiing. She is also the very involved mother of four active kids. She lives just outside Montreal, Quebec.

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