Mother’s Day was approaching, and I am getting my 8 year old son started with electronics. So why not combine the two? In the next few pages we’ll show you the project we did – a blinking heart with several effects, all driven by a microcontroller. Taught my son not only about how to make mommy happy (she LOVED the present), but also about project planning, prototyping, soldering, programming, and testing. Everything a budding little engineer needs!
As this was a learning project for my son, I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible. We started out breadboarding some fundamental circuits – hooking up the microcontroller, blinking a single LED, and so on. Then we decided about the layout of the LEDs and went scavenging for the necessary components in my lab in our basement.
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, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, 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.
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