Top DIY Electronics and Programming Kits for Children
If your kid expresses a keen interest in your iPhone or other gadgets and is rather apt at using them maybe it's time for him to get involved in DIY electronics and programming, technology that they can do, not just use. Fortunately, the market offers a variety of kits and tools designed to make it easier to get someone engaged in the rapidly evolving world of electronics, as well as robotics, gaming, or mobile. There're so many cool things to discover yourself and to share with your kids! Whether they're interested in building computers, introducing circuits, creating games or robots, there's something out there for everyone. In addition, these kits are so fun that not only kids but adults will be thrilled with these technologies and enjoy playing them!
Electronics and Build-a-Computer
littleBits – This a literal "plug and play" kit of circuits, with pieces connecting magnetically. The projects involve lights, or a motor, etc. running in a flash. After you have mastered the basics consider checking their projects section if you want to build something more complicated and fun.
SparkFun – SparkFun is more than just a kit but rather a marketplace featuring a number of projects/kits designed for making electronics more accessible. Their inventor's kit consists of an Arduino, breadboard, sensors, LEDs, and more. Your kid will have more fun once he will start using sensors and other varying inputs/outputs.
Kano – A successful Kickstarter project, Kano is a computer and coding kit based on the Raspberry Pi. This means that it's primarily a tiny build-a-computer kit, leveraging the Pi but making it far more accessible. It is expected that the project will introduce some more interesting updates in the near future.
Lego Robots – Licensed to schools these robots are actually being used in the classroom to ignite kids' interest and curiosity in robotics and programming. Similar to classic Lego, the robot you create can be pretty simple or rather complex. The robots are used for teaching kids simple programming. And when you've gained some experience, check out the Python wrapper to make that language fun as well.
Vex Robotics – VEX is a robotics platform specifically designed with kids in mind. It would be especially interesting for those kids who love competing as it features rather extensive competitions for many levels.
App Inventor for Android – If you ever dreamt of becoming a mobile developer you can make this dream come true with App Inventor for Android. It will let you create an Android app with a drag-and-drop interface in the browser. The programming part is similar to portion the "Blocks Editor", like in Lego programming: you will drag and drop pieces of logic together to specify behaviors.