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8 Year old Introduction to Electronics

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by trevrobwhite, Apr 10, 2017.

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  1. trevrobwhite


    Apr 10, 2017
    Hi All,
    I'm after a bit of advice, I'm from Cornwall, UK and we visited the At Bristol yesterday during holiday, my 8 year old boy who likes science found the electronics stand and we spent hours making circuits using crocodile clips and motors, the staff there were also very impressed when I showed him how to use two sets of batteries in Series to boost the power and by the end of it we had many motors, switches and buzzers, he loved it, I've never seen him so buzzing about something like this, coming from an IT background this was really nice to see.

    He was gutted that the shop had nothing to take home so I said we would make a kit and get some components from Maplin or Amazon.

    I was certain I wanted to go down the crocodile clip route mounting components of pieces of wood because the kits to be honest are really expensive and hide a lot of the stuff that's going on.

    However in my search I've discovered breadboards and found kits on Amazon (link below) which makes me wonder if I would be better to go for a breadboard or crocodile clip everything.

    One concern of mine, which is why I wanted to ask is breadboards seem to want a power supply unit, but I don't like the idea of letting him loose on anything that connects to a wall socket, I was hoping to do it via 2 or 4 1.5v battery packs, as I'm worried about short circuits which will of course happen, or will the power supply protect from that?

    What's your thoughts? I've got a day off Thursday and I'm very keen to continue the work the science museum started whilst it's fresh, so don't want to wait for a china shipment but I'm also a bit limited on funds so was hoping to keep below the £20-£30 mark if possible, because of his age, buzzers, motors and lights are the thing to interest him rather than circuits but who knows where it will lead, I did electronics at secondary school but swapped to IT when it realised I was really rubbish at soldering on a circuit board, although I'll give it a go again.

    Here is the link to that product on Amazon:

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Bluejets


    Oct 5, 2014
    Wall supply should be ok as long as you buy an approved unit.
    Some that come from China etc. are not isolated supplies and dangerous in that situation.
    Don't you have safety switches on your power outlets? my, my.!!!
    Batteries, under certain circumstances, can house quite a punch also so don't be misled there.
    Difficult to get into trouble with a couple of AA dry cells but not impossible.
    Perhaps adult supervision for starters?
  3. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    If be more happy with AA cells. If you purchase cheap cells in bulk packs they will be less likely to be dangerous even if shorted.

    You can purchase coloured leads with crocodile clips on the ends. The would be ideal for connecting things up.
  4. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    Did you check into any pre-assembled kits for kids to learn electronics?
    You'd have something that would be a good starting point, and could add to it later if his interest continues.
  5. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

    Dec 18, 2013
  6. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    Aug 23, 2006
    This thread brings back some memories! I imagine a good selection of LEDs, motors, resistors, pots, diodes, buzzers etc... would be a great start. You just need a few of those components plus a few 1.5V batteries and you can't go far wrong. Croc clips are great, as they'll connect almost anything.

    There are some fun looking kits around, but they're a bit over budget:

    The advantage in something like that is that it would have a booklet containing circuits aimed at kids his age, so he could progress through the book building increasingly complex things as he learns more.
  7. royalmp2001


    May 20, 2014
    When I was around your son's age, I got my parents to get me an electronics project set from Tandys. It was the Science Fair 65-in-one set - meaning you could wire up 65 projects. For me it was the perfect introduction to electronics. I do not know if Tandys still exist in the Uk, as i now live in the states, and here Radio Shack have closed down a lot of their stores. These old Science Fair sets are often available on eBay. Make sure the manual is included. Someone else suggested to check out Maplins. They have similar kits with spring terminals.
    Arouse1973 likes this.
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