This educational-tool-slash-awesome-desk-toy is a magnetically levitated, solar-powered electric motor. If you’ve never seen one of these, it’s a pretty neat mixture of magic and physics. The motor consists of a spinning shaft that is held up by repelling magnets and stabilized by resting a point against a wall. It is powered by solar panels mounted on the spinning shaft, which generate currents through coils of insulated wire.
While the energy output of this type of motor is quite low, it’s still great for sparking a kid’s interest in science, and it just looks cool besides. It doesn’t take much light to get the thing to spin; it works on cloudy days nearly as well as sunny ones (where it’ll top out at 1,000 RPM), or you can even shine your phone’s flashlight on it.