Best cubicle toys for programming

Posted by dlamblin on Stack Overflow See other posts from Stack Overflow or by dlamblin
Published on 2008-10-20T23:28:16Z Indexed on 2010/03/27 22:43 UTC
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I need some employee/co-worker Christmas gift ideas. Do you have any good cubicle toys that help you to do any of:

  1. think about programming problems
  2. solve programming problems by representing common abstractions
  3. can be directly programmed
  4. can interface with a PC based IDE to be programmed.
  5. it may present problems that can be solved, to kick start problem solving.

Disallowed items are:

  1. reference material in book, pamphlet, poster or cheat-sheet form, even if it has kick ass pop-cultural references.
  2. edibles. [discuss separately]
  3. things that need their own lab-space and/or extensive tools to be worked with.

So yes, Lego Mindstorms come to mind, but they aren't cubicle toys because they cost more than cubicle toys would, and they have too many losable parts.

comments on the answers so far: The 20 Questions game sounds quite neat as it could get you thinking; The bean balls could be used as tokens in a problem, so I can see that working. The magnetic toys like ball of whacks or the ball-and-stick ones present hands on fun of a structural nature... now can there be a similar hands on fun toy that aids in representing a solution to a problem? The Gui Mags clearly could, but they're quite utility oriented. The AVR Butterfly is less of a toy but definitely priced attractively, cheaper and more responsive than a basic stamp.

I'm not going to pick an answer; there's several great suggestions here. Thank you.

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