(No Longer A) Mover says:
Pre-covid, moving to the bay area got delayed and we kept DC in the local school until the new school year. Everyone has been working remotely (and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future), so no updates anticipated.
Separately, my DD (5) has recently gotten super into LEGOs (Friends, Disney ladies) and wants to figure out how to add electronic movement. Any thoughts for an age appropriate intro to robotics kit that would fit the bill? Is that even the right thing to research? The kits mostly seem geared towards robots or a specific task (buzzer for your room!) vs open-ended. She is likely more interested in adding a light to the submarine, making Anna’s canoe move, etc.
Also—brainquest was a bright spot this spring…great recommendation! Thanks again for all of the info you and your community share.
Well, we just got our DC2 (8) a Chibi Lights set because Amazon kept pushing it and I finally gave in. Zie hasn’t used it yet though because zie has been too busy with the birthday present that led to this recommendation, a Nintendo Labo kit to go with the Nintendo switch (A++ would recommend if you already own a switch). But in theory Chibi lights will allow you to add small lights to anything via stickers and tiny batteries.
One of my DH’s many professional hats is electrical engineer so he and DC2 (7 at the time) added a bunch of LED lights to a poster project last winter break, but I think that involved actual soldering. DH says he ordered parts from adafruit (not sponsored) which he says is a great website for kids electronics projects. He suggests going through their projects guide for kids. The poster idea came from one of these. (You can also get more chibi electronics stuff and somewhat lower prices than amazon from adafruit.)
I know there’s a youtube community that makes little houses (like christmas villages but not for christmas) somewhere– that’s probably where you would want to be looking for tips and tricks, but I’m not entirely sure what to look for (I once clicked on a twitter video and then youtube suggested a bunch, but it has been a while). Aha! Here’s one of their youtube channels: Miniature Land. That’s probably the direction you want to take your google searches– figure out how these miniature doll house makers do their automation and lighting. There’s all sorts of hobbyist webpages
In terms of non-lego robot/electronic/engineering projects:
Ozo-bots (not sponsored) were really fun for both kids for about a week over winter break a few years back and then they got bored. The prices have doubled since we got ours.. I don’t know if the kit has gotten better.
We never did get much use out of the Lego Mindstorms (not sponsored) DC1 got many years ago. I’m not sure why not. It seems better suited for Robotics teams rather than home use, somehow. DH says this would be the most obvious way to add movement to legos, but it is expensive and will be hard for a five year old. (Here’s some more movement stuff directly from lego (also not sponsored))
Neither of the kids were huge fans of snap circuits either.
We have two raspberry pi... and an arduino (not sponsored) those also got about a week of use last summer before going back to sleep in their boxes forever.
DC1 (then pre-teen) had a lot of fun designing things with an online CAD program and then we sent off hir designs to shapeways (not sponsored) and they sent back the item in whatever material we requested. (Zie made a ring for my sister that way one year.)
DC1 LOVED the theramin kit zie got last Christmas. (Though it too has been put away for a while. But it did get a lot more than one week of use!)
What I’ve really wanted is one of those big circuit board kits that Radio Shack used to make where you could use the set to do a ton of projects like make a short-wave radio station or an alarm or a ton of other stuff. I spent days playing with it. But last time I searched I couldn’t find anything like it. I mean, snap circuits does some of the stuff but not any of the really cool stuff. Here’s an example.
Grumpy Nation, do you have any suggestions for adding movement and lights to legos? How about other fun electronics toys?