My wife and I are always on the look out for some good STEM related toys for our girls... I find that sort of technology and science learning to be highly important for a properly rounded education, although I guess my own personal background has some sort of influence in that particular bias! Unfortunately, much of the stuff that is sold is targeted at boys and the "girl" kits tend to be less good... that said, there are a few companies that are trying to change that for the better.
Around Christmas, we had picked up this Hot Wires electronic set for our oldest girl. She had had fun building simple electronic circuits at school and in some out of school activities, including one construction where she was allowed to solder some components into a circuit. So, we thought that this would be a good fit for her... and it was! (Thankfully... sometimes, it can be really tricky to know if your child will like something or not... or is just being polite but disappointed!).
It is a kit that is completely jam packed with cool electronic components that are aimed at a beginner level... with a simple snap in place design which makes it a breeze to construct circuits. Best of all, all the components are pretty well protected from accidental breakage... less a hazard with my older girl, but more something that needs to be protected from her younger sister!
There is an accompanying book with hundreds of interesting circuits... ranging from helicopter models, to alarms to... well, whatever you can think of! For each construction, there is a simple picture to follow for the construction (I do wish that they would also include a proper circuit diagram to help with the visualisation between the components and the circuit "code").
There is also a brief explainer on each page as to how the circuit works and what it does... however, I have found that it is best for me to construct the circuit with her and explain in person what it does and how it works. If she does it herself, she is just copying the picture and hasn't really figured out how it all works together! The explainer is also a bit light on the actual details of how the current flows around and all of that sort of stuff... it is hard to do that in written words anyway, things are much easier when you can point physically at the components!
Sp, this was the first of the circuits... just a simple light and battery series circuit with a switch. It's the beginning... but it appears that the construction mania is quite infectious... we ended up spending a good few hours the past weeks and have built sooooooo many circuits! I think I'm ready to break out the Arduino starter kit for kids that I had bought several years ago...
.... this is going to be SOOOOO MUCH FUUUUUUUN!
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