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Gift guide inspires budding engineers

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The Purdue Inspire Gift Guide is gearing up for its fourth year this holiday season.

Posted: Nov. 23, 2017 12:00 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Purdue Inspire Gift Guide is gearing up for its fourth year this holiday season.

This year's guide offers many different gadgets for children of all ages to play with.

News 18 caught up with the Inspire Research Institute to learn more.

The Purdue Inspire Gift Guide continues to inspire children of all ages to get involved with their engineering side.

Toys featured in this year's guide offer more technical features than years past.

The list is designed for children of all interests.

Director of the Inspire Research Institute Monica Cardella says the list helps develop cognitive discipline in all areas.

"So that kids can understand that they don't have to be super, super enthused about math to do engineering, but also kids who are creative and good problem solvers can be interested in engineering too," said Cardella.

As children get their hands on the games from the guide, they can distinguish what toys they like best.

Their interest in the toys can help develop certain engineering-related skills.

"Identify toys and games that can help kids get excited about engineering or engineering-related concepts, and also practice some of the skills and become better problem solvers," said Cardella.

Assistant Director Elizabeth Gajdzik says that while they compile the list, the Purdue name assists them in getting the word out to the local community and beyond.

"The Purdue brand and name, that really helps us out because we do do research behind our testing, there's not a lot of other guides that do a thorough research and review process behind the toys," said Gajdzik.

As the guide reaches the community, Gajdzik and Cardella have the opportunity to give back.

Toys from previous years are distributed for young students to learn from.

"What we do instead is we have a lot of partners around town and so when we're done with the toys rather than just keep them here, we donate them so that they can be played with by a wide range of kids, and that they get utilized we don't want to sit on our shelf and get dusty," said Gajdzik.

While more students and young children from around the community are exposed to the gift guide, many of them can expect changes in the toys.

"In the past couple of years we've seen a lot more in the way of things related to coding and computational thinking,” said Cardella.

Cardella says engineering can be found in many different forms.

"Whether its music or animals or sports, all those things can also connect to engineering," said Cardella.

The guide is now available to the public. The toys are age-specific from 3 plus to 10 plus.

For more information head over to https://engineering.purdue.edu/INSPIRE/EngineeringGiftGuide.

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