Tickles & Waves with Littlebits

April 30, 2017

Like many STEM (science, technology engineering, maths)-appreciating parents, I’m totally overwhelmed by the mountain of STEM (or preferably STEAM – science, technology engineering, art, maths) toys out there.  For me, the best value is a STEAM toy that can deliver varied learning experiences even as a child grows – the wider the age range of usability, the better.  Of course, it should also be fun, have uncountable possible activities, inspire creativity and innovation; preferably a play-without-adult toy….  OK enough with the long list of demands 🙂

After toying with the idea of Littlebits for a while, I took the plunge and bought one for my 8 and 10 year old children.  We were excited to get the box open, exploring the parts of the Deluxe Set.  Within 15 minutes, my son understood the role of all parts and created quite complex circuits.  I thought concepts like the inverter, pulse and latch would be tricky but he just took it in his stride.  It took my 8 year old a bit longer, but she too quickly “got electric.”  My kids already had some introduction to electronics at school so perhaps their responses are not the “S.I unit” for evaluating this toy.  However, if all Littlebits has to offer is circuitry, it would be a very expensive, albeit child-friendly, lesson in electronics.

Littlebits is awesome.  Mostly because it’s board-free system, delivers huge flexibility to create.  It can be stuck to things, hidden in sleeves, connected to craft creations.  This is more than electronics – it’s about innovation.  The next generation need to be innovative – add something that automated robots simply can’t deliver.  It’s about “making something that does something;”  assessing the tools you have and creating something interesting (and hopefully valuable) out of them.

It’s still early days so we have made a few projects.  We had fun with the tickle machine and waving our tired “hand” lazily.  However, my kids are full of ideas.  So am I. We can’t wait to make, make and make!  My only concern is my wallet.  There are additional kits that deliver internet functionality, codability and more.  So tempting!

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