There are amazing things happening in the world of geeks. Yes, of course, there are always amazing things happening in the tech world, but I’m talking specifically about the kinds of kits and toys your kids can now explore. Little Bits sums it up nicely:
“We spend more than 7.5 hours with technological devices every day, yet most of us don’t know how they work, or how to make our own. … At littleBits, we believe that we need to create the next generation of problem-solvers, and interventions need to occur early. The time is ripe to create the pipe cleaner and the popsicle stick of the 21st century.”
I’ve found three small companies that are ready to share this revolution with you and your kids, each with it’s own focus, and tons of room for exploration. I can’t wait for Birdie to be old enough to tinker with each and every one of these.
Little Bits (above): Focusing on a system of modular individual units that connect via magnets, each unit focuses on one small function (a blinking light, sensing pressure, etc.). Build your complicated circuits by simply snapping your magnetic units together. Check out their project gallery for some examples.
Roominate (above): Targeting a more girl-centric play pattern, Roominate focuses on building a house with circuits, interaction, and creative design ideas. With ideas as varied as a spinning dog, a cooling fan, or lights, the possibilities are wide open. Because, as Roominate says, “Every young girl is an artist, engineer, architect, and visionary!” Hear, hear!
Makey Makey (above): With a circuit board and some alligator clips, you can turn anything – a banana, a pencil drawing, your body – into the controls to interact with your computer. Simple concept, with some hilarious and truly innovative outcomes!