Holiday shopping? Find something for your budding scientists and astronomers, "Star Wars" fans and young space lovers here on Space.com's gift guide. The robots are so much cooler now than when you were a kid...
GoldieBlox Nacho's Rocket Ride
GoldieBlox is a company on a mission. The organization has put out a series of toys designed to help girls get into math and engineering from a young age. This newest set, Nacho's Rocket Ride ($9.99), tasks children with building a spinning rocket for Goldie's stinky dog to ride by walking them through the engineering and problem-solving process.
Why we love it: GoldieBlox building kits come with a storybook about the kit that encourages girls to invest in the story behind their project. And we've seen it work, too, as Space.com managing editor Tariq Malik's 6-year-old daughter can attest. The Rocket Ride project is one of several kits available, including a dunk tank ($18.22) spinning machine ($21.99), a parade float ($18.49), a movie machine ($29.99) and a massive Builder's Survival Kit expansion pack ($59.99).
Star Wars Remote Control BB-8 Droid
We featured the smaller, Sphero app-controlled BB-8 over on our adult gift list, because while adorable it's a bit of an investment. Hasbro's remote-control incarnation of the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" star is bigger, bolder and kinder to the wallet ($108.94 at the time of writing). Plus, it has a neat motor mechanism easily accessible inside.
Why we love it: Control your own spherical droid — what's not to love? Plus, it makes noises from its body instead of from a smartphone, unlike other droids we could mention.
Ice Canyons of Pluto Poster
Pluto may be left out of the solar system lineup, but it got its close-up in July with the New Horizons flyby mission. Celebrate the most vivid glimpse ever of the icy dwarf planet with this futuristic 11'' x 17'' poster ($16.95), or collect the whole solar system for a space-lover's bedroom at the Space.com store.
Why we love it: The poster's bold graphics have a timeless feel and remind us of the wonderful worlds out there to explore.
Star Wars Death Star Planetarium
Hidden inside the planet-destroying Death Star on your nightstand ($25.99) is a portal to the "Star Wars" galaxy as well as our own — the planetarium projects the movie galaxy or Earth's actual night sky for late-night perusal.
Why we love it: Comes with a fun learning guide — bolster "Star Wars" planetary trivia skills as well as a real-world understanding of the constellations.
Estes Tandem-X Launch Set
Future rocket scientists — and build-it-yourself enthusiasts — rejoice: This introduction model rocket kit ($29.99) builds two rockets, one 13-inch and one 3-foot tall, and comes with a stabilizing launch pad. You'll need to grab Estes engines and igniters, specified in the Amazon listing, but they're inexpensive and let these rockets reach up to 600 feet and 1,150 feet respectively!
Why we love it: A fun build-and-paint project for children aged 10 and up; goes high enough to thrill even the most stalwart adult.
Super Moon In My Room
During the Super Moon the full moon looms extra large in the sky because of its closeness to Earth. Fittingly, this "Super Moon In My Room" lamp ($54.00) reflects that with a 30 percent size increase over its predecessor, "Moon in My Room" ($22.95). The 15-inch-diameter photorealistic moon can shift between all the moon's phases and even sync up with the real moon outside over the course of the month. (Read our review here.)
Why we love it: Night light and moon map in one, the lamp even has a special setting to emulate a solar eclipse. A CD that comes with the toy also gives kids a guided tour of the moon. And if giving them the moon's not enough, you can bring in the planets with Uncle Milton's Solar System in My Room or just stick with the Earth in My Room.
Thames & Kosmos Gyrobot Gyroscopic Robot
This Gyrobot science kit ($44.95) lets kids learn about the power of gyroscopes by building 7 cool robot models. Each can commit daring feats, including one that can balance on two wheels in a row while moving along a tightrope — let's see you try that!
Why we love it: Robots are awesome, and gyroscopes are like magic. How is it balancing there??
Lego Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP!
"The Lego Movie" entranced viewers of all ages, and now, space fans young and old can put together Benny's Lego Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP (from $98.88 on Amazon) from the hit film. The 1980s blue spaceman helped save the day with his spaceship idea, and now, people everywhere can use their imaginations to build it themselves or any other spaceship, too.
Why we love it: This Lego kit is a perfect combination of vintage and new Lego space projects that can be a joy to build, as Space.com's Tariq Malik and his daughter found out. It's an EPIC build, so be prepared to spend at least a few hours at a time, but the result is totally worth it:
Star Wars Force Trainer 2 Hologram
Hook up a tablet to put this ($14.99) "mnd-reading" device to the test and become a Jedi master — 3D holograms within the device will react to the strength of your concentration, measured via headset, and let you complete 10 levels' worth of Jedi tasks. Space.com writer Calla Cofield caught this one at ToyFair 2015 and was blown away: "It really makes you feel like you're inside 'Star Wars,' and all space fans should get a kick out of it."
Why we love it: Lift a holographic X-Wing. WITH YOUR MIND.
Thames & Kosmos Remote-Control Machines: Space Explorers Science Kit
This build-it-yourself robot kit can model 10 different space-based robots, including a Mars rover, robotic arm and satellite. All 10 have up to three motors moveable by remote control — and of course, kids are free to get creative and build their own motorized space explorers or gadgets.
Why we love it: Kids get the chance to learn about space exploration while building awesome robots and inventions. Plus, driving around something you built is pretty great.
Star Wars Rebels Season 1
The "Star Wars Rebels" animated series follows on the heels of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" to show the backstory of the Rebel Alliance; it takes place in between the "Star Wars" prequels and Episodes IV-VI, 14 years after the events of "Star Wars: Episode III." The action-packed series offers a new set of ragtag rebels to cheer on, as well as revisiting a few old favorites. (Season 2 premiered in October.)
Why we love it: The entertainig storyline shows the "Star Wars" universe from a new angle and introduces lots of intriguing mythology to explore. For youngsters, it's an engaging introduction to the beloved series.
"Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet" by Buzz Aldrin, with Marianne J. Dyson
The book "Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet" invites readers to set out a fictional Mars journey packed with incredible detail — about the planet's history and conditions as well as the steps necessary to get there and set up a colony, complete with gorgeous illustration. It's written by Buzz Aldrin, who landed on the moon, and it hopes to inspire a new generation to take the leap and visit new worlds. (You can read our review here.)
Why we love it: The book is packed with hilarious — and sometimes messy — activities to better understand the science, like how often the orbits of Earth and Mars align and why exactly habitats must be rounded. Plus, it even specifies what people might eat in the first Martian café.
"Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America's Pioneering Woman in Space" by Tam O'Shaughnessy
She was the first female NASA astronaut to fly in space and a dedicated science communicator, but she was also a young tennis star and underachiever — Sally Ride is a role model to many but also a fascinating personality. This biography, by Ride's partner Tam O'Shaughnessy, aims to give children a glimpse of that personality and show how she grew from an active child into an astronaut fixed in the public eye without ever losing her sense of fun.
Why we love it: Ride was a meticulous saver-of-things, and it shows: the book is chock full of interesting photographs and tidbits from the course of her life. It's fun to look through, and the story of her life should appeal to stronger readers, too.