In the 1960's, Edmund Scientific had a program where, for a fee, they would periodically mail you a science kit. Each kit dealt with a particular subject, such as electricity, optics, astronomy, radio, etc. and contained items to be used to build items and experiments related to the subject. For example, the optics kit had items to use to make a microscope. Items in each kit could be used for other experiments. For example, the astronomy kit had items that allowed the microscope to be converted into a telescope.
The kits fed my imagination, made me inquisitive about all types of subjects, and led me to experiment. I used the kits to make many other items for which they were not originally intended. I would try my experimental gadgets on my two sisters, who will attest that they were sometimes scary and painful. While in school, the gadgets sometimes got me sent to principal's office. To this day, I still tinker and I am always adapting things, such as computer applications, to do things for which they were never intended.