I've been watching how my 9-year-old son is making use of the Lego Mindstorms community and associated sites: he's self-educating himself, making use of both books and online resources. The lego robotics forums let him see what builders all over the world are constructing, complete with digital photos of construction details. He refers to these in his own building projects, always with variations due to different parts, etc.
In the Mindstorms forums you can find dozens of kids exchanging tips and undertaking all kinds of cool projects. Makes me wish I'd had something like that when I was their age.