Electrical Circuits for Kids

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by callasabra, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. callasabra

    callasabra Tele-Afflicted

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    All,

    My 7 year old has been talking about building "machines" for a while now, but recently he has been discussing electrical circuits, even watching some youtube videos about them. I would like to get him a kit or something to work with. I still have my breadboards, leds, ICs, caps, resistors, etc. from years ago, but the textbooks and lab manuals are long gone. Also, my explanations and instructions often include too much information at times resulting in a 30 minute tangent into some theory.

    Can anyone recommend a beginner set or something? I am also in need of a power supply. I have PSUs from computers lying around I thought about repurposing, and I have a variable wall wart adapter I could use (but it is currently on my pedalboard, small sacrifice).

    Since this forum is replete with fathers, electricians, engineers and hobbyists, I figured it was as good a source as any.
     
  2. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Radio Shack used to sell beginners electronic kits, but sadly they are gone now. I honestly have no idea where you could find such a thing now. Perhaps Amazon?
     
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  3. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe put together a breadboard LM386 guitar amp?

    You could get all the parts at Frys or somewhere online and follow the guide here

    http://www.ampmaker.com/store/NoSo-One-AK11.html

    Ruby & Noisy Cricket are same/similar.


    If he has a computer with USB you can mix circuits and electronics by making switches and sensors control simple programs like Scratch. https://scratch.mit.edu

    I use a Makey Makey interface and another called a Picoboard

    I'm sure there are lots of kits on Amazon though to makes loads of stuff. When my kids were young we had a clip together system very like this.. made radios, alarm systems, etc.

    https://www.amazon.com/Snap-Circuit...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=0M7N5RWZ61VWTDGMNBES
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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  4. CK5150

    CK5150 Tele-Meister

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    http://www.snapcircuits.net/

    These are fantastic. My kids are 13, 12, and 10 and still occasionally pull them out and mess around with them.
     
  5. cboutilier

    cboutilier Tele-Afflicted

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    I believe we got our beginners kits from Abra when I was teaching beginner electronics. Mr. Circuit was the name of the kits. There's 3 of them
     
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  6. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think that, instead of asking all of the old guys on TDPRI about what kids should learn from, you should let the kid tell you. He is probably gonna be interested in things that are millions of miles away from the stuff we all like.
     
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  7. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    At 7 years old, I would pull out those Power Supplies from the computers
    and begin to teach your young one about the safety that goes into
    working with electricity. It's never enough to do a refresher course either.
    Heck, even IBEW guys do refresher courses as SOP all the time.

    then check this out:
     
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  8. callasabra

    callasabra Tele-Afflicted

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    I asked him today what he wanted to build, here was our exchange:

    Me: What would you like to build first?
    Son: A soccer destroyer.
    Me: What is that!?
    Son: A machine that I can fly around the world and destroy soccer balls, and nets, and everything that is soccer. Except the people.
    Me: Why do you want to do that?
    Son: 'Cause I don't like soccer. Its not even a real sport, all you do is kick a ball. The trophies aren't even real, they're made of plastic.

    (At this point I feel the need to interject and defend myself since this is an international forum and I am sure there are many soccer enthusiasts here. I have never encouraged or discouraged one sport over the other. We are not big sports fans, but do engage in a variety of extracurricular activities that do involve various sports. I certainly do not share his strong feelings about soccer.)

    Me: I don't think that is a good idea.
    Son: I need a laboratory first.
    Me: Where are you going to put your laboratory?
    Son: it will have to be somewhere my sister can't get to. And it will need a lot of room for the wings on my Soccer Destroyer.

    Last year he wanted to discover lemurs in Madagascar, this year he wants to destroy soccer.


    @CK5150 and @Guitarteach I like those snap kits. I wasn't ready to hand him my soldering iron just yet. I have had the bug to build a small amp myself. If I can divert my son's interest away from evil and toward doing good, I might be able to toss in one of those amp builds as well.

    Thanks all.
     
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  9. callasabra

    callasabra Tele-Afflicted

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    @studio Thank you. I had found some resources online to save me some time, but that will be most useful.
     
  10. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Snap Circuits kits are the modern equivalent of the spring-and-wires kits many of us grew up with. They're pretty good. They run from batteries.

    For PSUs, I use a chap phone charger with the connector snipped and the ends tinned. Give me 5V, which is fine for my purposes. A couple bucks and you're set.

    I also gave my daughter an HF multimeter when she was 5. She ran around measuring resistance values on everything. Yesterday my 5 year old son was helping me check some circuit boards by holding a probe on a solder joint and telling me what the meter read.

    We've also built some simple no-solder kits of things like a solar powered car.
     
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  11. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hi,

    Please take a look at Arduino. It is is an open source, computer hardware and software company, project, and user community that designs and manufactures kits and instructions. It was (is) the perfect launching point for my son who has interest in this stuff.

    Good luck.
     
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  12. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lego robotics and not the cheapest but pretty awesome for making soccer destroyers and lenur hunting drone robots.

    IMG_1528.JPG
     
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  13. callasabra

    callasabra Tele-Afflicted

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    he loves legos. we played with some this weekend. I didn't know about the robotics. I will look into those too.
     
  14. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Please do not consider your offspring's desire to rid the world off soccer to be evil. I can think of no more noble endeavor.
     
  15. Osmosis in C

    Osmosis in C TDPRI Member

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    I'll second the Arduino suggestion, although it may be a bit advanced for a 7 year old. It's great if he's interested in the software/programming side as well. You have an integrated circuit that you use a simplified language to program and then you build the circuit around it. A simple example is making a digital clock. You can get kits for pretty cheap, when you consider you're getting an integrated circuit and a bunch of resistors, LEDs, sensors, etc. $40-$50 would probably get you a good sized kit with a wide variety of projects.
     
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  16. cboutilier

    cboutilier Tele-Afflicted

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    I'll even help with the circuit design
     
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  17. callasabra

    callasabra Tele-Afflicted

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    @imwjl and @Osmosis in C I hadn't considered Arduino. In my mind that is more programming, but you do build the circuits before programming them. Those can be done solderless as well.

    @Ironwolf and @cboutilier ya'll are hilarious. I will let him know he is not alone.
     
  18. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1 on Arduino. It's script / programming heavy but you can get a visual programming language. Maybe better for 11+ but endless ideas online.

    IMG_2722.JPG

    You can add 'shields'. This added a MP3 player that we hacked into an old phone to read stories when the receiver was picked up.

    IMG_2754.JPG

    Microbit is a new electronics system for kids in the UK.

    It has a fantastic visual programming environment with onscreen emulator https://pxt.microbit.org/?lang=en and it connects with all sorts of electronics and costs about $20

    http://microbit.org

    Every 11 year old in England was given one recently. It's easily used by 7 year olds

    There are breadboard electronics kids to complement and kits to make robots.
     
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  19. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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  20. cboutilier

    cboutilier Tele-Afflicted

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    My girlfriend is a soccer player, and I'm a baseball player. We don't exactly see eye to eye on sports.
     
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