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 $(KGrHqIOKosE5kyetN8tBOZ9(gU4Mw~~60_35Have you ever noticed how the most popular gift at a grandchild’s birthday isn’t the most expensive one, but the most interesting? So has Ask Granny, which is why we’ve decided to hunt out a few suggestions that will put a long-term smile on the face of their recipients…

Every budding mad professor wants to build a robot. Full-blown robot kits can be pretty expensive, though, and quite complicated for a younger scientist. So how about a Robotic Hand to start off with? It’s fully functional, super cool and is suitable for any child over the age of 8. Note that the Hand, while technically robotic (it’s a mechanical apparatus designed to mimic the function of a human hand), does not require any electricity. It’s powered by the maker, using a series of fishing lines.

Next step up, though still super simple, is the eco friendly Tin Can Robot! This cool kit – which does require batteries, and no they’re not included, unfortunately – turns an ordinary sized drinks can into a crazy bug-eyed robot that “walks” on simple wheels. Easy to build and brilliant for any environmentally conscious grandparent to buy, this is affordable and awesome.

Amateur biologists will be thrilled by the experiments they can do using this Genetics and DNA Experiment Kit, which includes a detailed book explaining how the experiments represent different parts of the biological fields. Young scientists get to learn about Gregor Mendel (the monk who started the idea of genetics); Watson and Crick (the pair who discovered the double helix structure of DNA); and other influential figures whose work has advanced our understanding – while extracting DNA from a tomato, or building a cool model of a DNA molecule. They’ll even get to analyse some DNA evidence to see if they can solve a hypothetical crime!

The artistically inclined will be equally enthralled by a set of paint your own Japanese Friendship Dolls. Giving a “Kokeshi” doll to a loved one is an ancient Japanese tradition, in which the giver decorates his or her doll, and presents it to a family member or best friend with a tiny greetings card. This kit includes three blank dolls; the acrylic paints needed to decorate the dolls; a series of face stickers; stickers to decorate the dolls’ dresses; a paint brush; four hair pom poms in two different colours; some thread; and a set of greetings cards and secret message blanks. The kit also comes with an eight page instruction booklet teaching your grandchild about the history of the tradition, and about traditional ways to decorate her or his Kokeshi doll.

Making and fashion go hand in hand of course. The charm bracelet, which has attained the heights of fashion in recent months, is a potentially great gift solution for a granddaughter. You can make your own charm bracelet by picking the base chain and then choosing charms appropriate to your grandchild.