by Jo Brodie, Queen Mary University of London
Christmas is only a few weeks away so it seems like a good idea to highlight some computing-themed things that might make a nice present or stocking filler.
We’ve got lots of free paper-based activities, most but not all need a printer (one or two can be done on a computer). Create a hexahexaflexagon and invite someone to find all six sides (the first four or five are quite easy). Kriss-kross and pixel puzzles are fun for younger children – either as a simple puzzle or for learning about compression and pixels, and logical thinking and strategies (and also spelling!).
2. Katherine Johnson Coloring Page from ArielleShainaArt (Etsy)
This is a digital download for you to print at home, using US letter size (8.5 x 11 inches).
The download includes a PDF and .jpg – you may need to resize for A4 printers. Cost in UK is £1.66 for the two files.
Katherine Johnson colouring sheet.
3. Motherboard Chopping Board from the Centre for Computing History
“The Motherboard Chopping Board is the perfect gift for any computer nerd who likes to cook up a storm in the kitchen! Made from scratch-proof glass, the chopping board has an odourless, hygienic surface which is easy to clean, whilst the rubber feet will ensure it doesn’t slip when you’re chopping.” Available from the Centre for Computing History for £13.
Other gifts from the Centre.
4. Books! – available from all good bookshops
Wonderfully easy to wrap, books. This selection arose from a Twitter thread Paul Curzon created with a range of books he recommends people might enjoy reading before starting a university course in computer science. There are books on maths, logic, design, usability and novels as well as non-fiction. Most are also available on Kindle too.
5. Cards and postcards
Sets of postcards from the Centre for Computing History including Icons of Beige (the design of 1970s and 1980s computers) and a set highlighting women in computing – Computing HerStory. Some geeky Christmas cards include Tech the Halls | ASCII Christmas Tree – Retro Computer | Christmas card for computer geeks in binary.
Why not print out and insert Edward Morgan’s 1968 poem / tonguetwister “The Computer’s First Christmas Card“.
There’s a floppy disk-styled coaster with ‘Coffee’ written on it, from The National Museum of Computing and coasters from Etsy made with a circuit board design. Keyrings made from bits of computer (Etsy) or if you’re feeling creative and have some spare floppy disks you can follow the instructions in this Instructables post and make a floppy disk notebook. Or perhaps a rubber duck for rubber duck debuggers.