A friend of mine recently asked my advice. Apparently his twelve year old nephew is turning out to be “quite the geek”. As my friend described his nephew’s love to take stuff apart and make something new with it, I could tell we had the beginnings of a fine young maker.
The challenge is that the boy’s parents are not necessarily so technical. They know that he built something out of an Xbox and laptop, but they cannot begin to explain what it is. They’ve tried to support him by getting him some kits from Radio Shack, but he wasn’t really challenged by them.
My friend turned to me for some suggestions for challenging kits that would not “do any damage to the house”. So here is my list of…
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.