What It Is
We're back with another amazing new set from littleBits. This Second Edition Gizmos and Gadgets Kit from littleBits electronics is an immersive set that truly inspires creative play around engineering. It's simple to use, highly intuitive, and capitalizes on children's natural curiosity and the excitement of making something themselves. Like the best learning activities, the whole idea is that kids will master the concepts and then turn be turned lose to make whatever kind of crazy inventive things appeal to them. The basics of the system are these aptly named little bits. Each has a specific function and is color coded (blue is power, red is for input, orange is for wire, green is for output, and the accessories are purple). You can tell them apart just by glancing into the box and seeing the plastic ends on each bit. There are also two low-energy Bluetooth chips that make connectivity and control by a mobile device easy and effective.
Is It Fun?
We like that the bits connect by magnets and they only go one way thanks to polarity, so you can't make a bad connection. You'll want to check out the invention guide too. We were very impressed at how clear and concise the directions are for every project. The directions walk you through step-by-step and include detailed explanations of why things work and real-world applications of the principles and circuitry that kids are building.
For the purposes of this review, we chose a simple creation: the Spinmate. This is the easiest level of suggested activity, so assembly is easy and it works really well. There may be a bit of trial and error, involved but that's all part of the process. With each error, kids will learn something new. Rule number one with this: don't fear the process because the process is the entire point. The guidebook has lots of projects, but also a plethora of information to inspire kids to be creative.
Who It’s For
If you have a curious, creative kid, he or she is going to get a lot out of this set. The set is recommended for kids, ages 8 and up, and the content is completely appropriate. Kids should be able to jump in and do this with little or no supervision, though we're betting adults may want to play too.
What To Be Aware Of
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 out what more you can do. This set, in particular, is a significant investment, but the opportunity to grow and expand makes this system unique and a great long-term value for kids inspired by littleBits.