Why you should build a Banana Piano
If you're looking for a good gift for the tech-obsessed youngster in your life, the Makey Makey is a great option and one of our favourites. It's hard to explain all of the sort of things you can do with this fun device, but it essentially turns anything that is partially conductive into a key.
Clip on a piece of aluminium foil, a wet paper towel, or a piece of fruit, and you can control a game or other application just by touching it. With a number of objects clipped on, you'll have enough keys to steer a character in a game or play a simple piece of music. It's a heap of fun, but can also be used for more cerebral applications; perhaps creating a custom assisted keyboard controller for someone who for whatever reason can't use a conventional keyboard or mouse. It's a great way to teach coding for kids as well in a hands-on way. Create a game in Scratch or any other environment and use the fruit bowl to control it!
There's a kit available from Cool Components for under £40, but if you're not on our side of the pond, you'll find them available online in plenty of other places - just search for 'Makey Makey'.