Cubelets are small and colorful magnetic “blocks with brains” that can be combined in an endless variety of ways to create fascinating effects. Each block has a tiny computer inside with a unique function—some blocks sense things in the environment like light or obstacles; others spin, shine, or make noise. When combined, new block “behaviors” evolve organically—kids create tiny, individualized robots without math or programming. There are no instructions or right answers here—just open-ended, creative play. Snapping blocks together and watching what emerges is mesmerizing and a great spur to innovative thinking. The sets are more affordable for institutions than individuals, but Cubelets would be a great group learning tool for a cutting-edge classroom. The company website has a very comprehensive education section with guidelines and lesson plans for teachers.
(ModRobotics; $149.95; ages 4+)