If your knowledge of engineering stops with putting batteries in a TV remote, you might try fiddling around with a littleBits kit for a day. Senior TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir created these sets of open source modules as a way to teach kids about electronics and circuitry.
Each color-coded piece snaps together magnetically with ease to create larger circuits. It’s a slick way to learn the basics — like power sources come first, and inputs come before outputs. Once you combine them with everyday objects, you can create everything from a pizza box phonograph to a light-up pair of sneakers.