I'm looking for something to help get my youngest interested in making/engineering. He's a young geek, reads lots of books, watches MythBusters, SmashLabs and such. I want to find a something to pique his interest in building stuff.
In this month's Robot magazine, he saw a two-page ad for Tamiya robocraft kits. He's really been pushing for me to spring for the racehorse. It looks kinda cheap and I hate to waste the money. It's only $14 so I guess it won't drive me all the way to the poor house but I hate buying crap. I can finds lots of places selling these kits but haven't seen a review.
When he's a few years older, I hope he's interested in building stuff like the nerdkit. When I was a kid, my dad occasionally would build things from HeathKit. He made a heath kit oscilloscope around 1973 that was still working great at least 20 years later. I loved watching him make circuit boards, fix broken motors, etc.
For myself, I bought a gumstix kit with the dream that I'll build an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) that will roam my backyard. So far I've managed to spend lots of money, destroy my son's Hummer R/C, and make a very large pile of crap on the garage bench. And I've enjoyed every minute of it.