Want to teach your kids the fundamental skills they need to excel as a developer (or engineer or scientist!) this summer? Then pull up a chair and get out the pipe cleaners, glue, or good ‘ol fashioned hammer and nails and start making!
Sometimes, just giving a kid a little bit of time and attention, along with access to an array of stuff you have lying around the house, can set them on the path toward becoming a creative genius.
So, this summer “don’t be bored, make something!”
Makey Makey is an invention kit that allows you to turn everyday objects into keys that can be used to control computer programs. Watch the video and you’ll understand!
Forget soldering! littleBits helps little ones create all sorts of fun projects by snapping together magnetic pieces (bits) that each have particular functions, such as light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, pulse, or motors. (We also love that the company has a female founder!)
Build a dollhouse and learn about circuits at the same time? What could be more fun and engaging for a kid? Love this.
This site is awesome in its simplicity. The site includes photo and video tutorials on how to make toys from trash. It’s a great—and, cheap—way to get making!
Lego has created kits that include sensors, microcomputers, motors, and remote controls that allow kids to build fairly complex robots. Researchers in university labs have even used the robots as a cheaper alternative to the more complex machines that they use to build artificial bones.
Make has a number of projects on their website that are geared toward kids, including the popular Diet Coke-and-Mentos volcano. In addition, the site has a good selection of products to get you started for sale in the Maker Shed.
3DTin is an open-source software product that allows beginners to create 3D models using a variety of pre-formed shapes, including cylinders, cones, wedges, and spheres. These models can then be uploaded to sites like Thingiverse or Shapeways and turned into actual objects using 3D printing.