The elegantly designed basics of the system are these aptly named Little Bits. Each has a specific function, and they're color-coded. Blue is power, pink is for triggers and switches, green is for a buzzer and orange is what they call the Makey Makey Bit. This will be the heart of your creations and it conducts power from a source through a conductive material to complete your circuit. Completion of the circuits is what brings anything you create to life.
One of the other elements that make this design so effective is that the bits connect by magnets, and they only go one way (thanks to the polarity of magnets), so you can't make a bad connection. Once you familiarize yourself with all the pieces, you're ready to build and create.
Well, one more step. You'll want to check out the invention guide. We were very impressed at how clear and concise the directions are. The set is recommended for kids ages 8 years and up, and the reading level and content is completely age appropriate. Kids should be able to jump in and do this with little or no adult supervision. (Though we're betting adults will want to play, too.)
There are eight suggested projects for kids to explore and build. The directions walk you through step by step, and includes detailed explanations of why things work and real world applications of the principles and circuits that kids are building. The kit includes various pieces, motors and other features, but you may need to augment with things from your home. Among the pretty amazing things you can create are interfaces that allow you to turn virtually anything--from a pen to a banana into a computer mouse. The step-by-step guides also introduces the engineering/electronics principles clearly and concisely.
So, because this is a Rule Your Room kit, we decided to build an alarm that would go off if something valuable was stolen. Following the directions, we assembled the littleBits, and then used foil, tape and string from the pantry to complete the project. We attached our circuit to the box, and the alligator clips to the tin foil. Now, when the two pieces of foil connect, the circuit will be completed and the alarm will sound.
But wait, how do we protect it from going off all the time? Well, by creating a buffer between the pieces of foil that prevents the circuit from completing. In this case a simple piece of paper. We attached one end of a string to the paper, and the other to the action figure. When the action figure is moved, the paper slides out and the pieces of tin foil touch, completing the circuit and activating the alarm.
Now, a seasoned criminal, or reasonably intelligent younger brother, could easily defeat this system. But that's not the point. It's all about what you can make and what you can do, and how your creativity can be brought to life.
In addition to the projects, the Inventor Guide includes a wealth of information to inspire kids to be creative. The building guide is complemented by online ideas and an app that allows kids to share their creations and be inspired by other littleBits fans.
Other sets and bits are sold separately, and as you add them to the library on your app, you can find additional suggestions for projects.
As noted, additional littleBits are sold separately and integrate with the system.
1 9-volt battery required
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