Another great educational gift I received came from Radio Shack. If their service were better, and their prices comparable to my local hobby shop, I would probably have given them quite a few of my hobby dollars. As it stands, they only got a couple from my Mom and my Grandparents--and I did my best to recoup some of these expenditures where "battery club" was concerned.
The gift was a 75 in one Electronics Kit. It was pretty cool, well organized and fun to put together. I completed pretty much all the projects in the kit (there are bound to be a few that just didn't excite me) and got my full value out of the toy. I have seen modern versions of the toy, but it just doesn't fill me with any great warmth--maybe it seems too easy.
Sadly, it did not imbue me with a great love for electronics and that is one thing that holding back my progress on my railroad. I solder only when I have to, and there isn't anything overly fancy or complex on my railroad.
As I have written, I received lots of educational toys and enjoyed most of them. These days I have to go to stores that specialize in this kind of thing. I find them fun and I encourage all of you parents out there to do the same. There are lots of great educational toys--but they work best when you get involved in doing/building/experimenting with your children.