littleBits Electronics for Maker Kids
We're big fans of littleBits electronics kits and bits. You can buy kits or individual electronics components that snap together magnetically (and always the right way around) so children can quickly add lights, sensors, motors and other fun stuff to their projects. The kits are recommended for children aged from 8 up but I've been using them together with my children who are slightly younger and we've had lots of fun.
littleBits is ideal for kids who want to use electronics in their projects. Kids will pick up some basic understanding of electronics but the focus is at a higher level rather than the detail. If your child's focus is on making things that include electronics then littleBits is an excellent choice.
- Snap Circuits for understanding the basic principles of electronics
- Bread board starter kit for deeper understanding and prototyping
We got littleBits because my 5 year old son loves robots and wanted to make his own. Although he's too young to do this himself he really wanted something with proper electronics. littleBits was the best fit for this as he could really get involved and we mixed up the bits with our usual crafting materials of cardboard tubes, tape and sticky tack.
My older son soon got in on the act by designing a wolf model with a wagging tail and light up eyes!
littleBits come out every time we have an idea for something to make that needs to 'do something.' The bits are reusable so we can make something new for Halloween, Christmas or because we just got an idea while playing with LEGO.
littleBits are quite expensive but once you have a basic kit you can add a lot more options just by adding one new bit to your collection.
The light wire is an excellent bit. It's great for wearable costumes and for making decorations.
If you can afford the deluxe kit you'll have a lot more options.
littleBits appeals to both boys and girls. My sons love it and so do female cousins and friends who have had a go. It's a great way to introduce young girls to electronics in a way that will appeal to them.
There's a strong Maker community that recognises that it's a lot of fun to make stuff yourself and which combines technology and crafting. littleBits is an excellent way for kids to participate in the Maker community and get hands on with their own projects.
Photo credit: DinosaurEgg