Design Porn: 5 Toys That Grown Ups Will Like, Too

Here’s a thought: Instead of grabbing the kid/s in your life something obvious for the upcoming holiday, why not put down that copy of Dancing with the Stars for Wii, and reach for one of the design-friendly toys we’ve found after the jump instead? That way if they don’t like what you’ve picked out (you’re never too old to forget that feeling — for us it was 1986 and involved a shearling sweatshirt from a well-meaning aunt emblazoned with the words “Ham Wear”) you’ll be happy to take it back home with you. If they do like it, you’re suddenly the coolest person on the planet. It’s the ultimate win/win.

1. DIY Ukulele Kit: We’re dubbing this the instrument of choice for all of tomorrow’s hipsters; the body comes pre-assembled, and then kids can add the neck, the strings, and the embellishments of their choice. We recommend a Beirut sticker.

2. Lego Castle Giant Chess Set: Remember Bobby Fisher? Yes, his skills were impressive, but we bet he would’ve been even harder to beat if he had been playing with a chess set made from 200 euros of randomly assembled plastic pieces.

3. Huggable Robot Teddy: Leave it to a bunch of lonely geeks at MIT to invent a huggable teddy bear that “understands nine classes of affective touch: tickling, patting, poking, scratching, rubbing, squeezing, slapping, petting and light contact.” Didn’t they see what happened to Haley Joel Osment in AI?

4. Orbitwheels rollerskates: Remember how crazy and futuristic you thought roller blades looked the first time you ever spotted a pair? Yes, these new generation skates appear to be impossible to use, but we’re guessing it’s a similar thing. Let a child test drive them before you take ’em for a spin.

5. OWIKits: These slickly-designed educational toys, which come in a wide range of “experience” levels, are made to teach budding tech geeks about important stuff like solar power, electronics and robotics 101.  Consider this one is a smart investment in our collective future.