The Maker Movement has fostered some pretty fantastic developments for makers, creators and engineers of all ages and skill sets, including a new breed of toys that are helping to make electronics a fun, accessible and creative learning experience. With Christmas round the corner, why not help the future innovator in your family to get started on some exciting project work with one of these devices?
littleBits Technology - Snap ideas to life
In 2009, computer engineer Ayah Bdeir introduced her concept for littleBits at the Bay Area Maker Faire, where she won more than 20 awards. Two years later, littleBits was officially launched, raising more than $15 million in venture capital.
"It's about allowing people to understand how electronics governs our modern lives, and letting people become creators and makers," Bdeir has said of her motivation to start the company. The mission of littleBits is to bring experiential innovation not only into the home, but into the classroom as well. littleBits offers bundles for education, which have been adopted by many STEM middle and high schools for their proven ability to build skills in problem solving and understanding.
The littleBits library hosts dozens of modules, all of which work together, offering millions of combinations. The littleBits kits are not just open-ended tech toys. They encourage exploration, foster innovation and promote creativity.
Microduino mCookies - Think big, start small
Stackable, quarter-size electronics ‘mCookies' came from a successful Kickstarter campaign from Microduino, adding to their impressive and inspiring component portfolio. With three microcontroller modules in the mCookie series, the components can provide users a foundation to create and build a variety of projects from smart gadgets to robots and drones. These cute color-coded components are even LEGO-compatible and can be programmed with Microduino’s Arduino IDE, which can integrate into a variety of Arduino sketches.
mCookie kits are available in an array of packages including 101 Basic, 201 Advanced and 301 Expert. Additionally, Microduino offers its community more than 100 tutorials and 500 project ideas along with thousands of wiki pages aimed at supporting makers and hobbyists.
What are your favourite child-friendly learning tools for the engineers and makers of tomorrow? Share your thoughts in the comments section below...