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Need Electronics projects for 8 year old

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by content1, Aug 7, 2016.

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  1. content1


    Aug 14, 2015
    Hey all,

    I am new to the forum. I am not an electronics person by any means but would like to get my son started in playing around with some electronic diy type projects. He is very interested in making stuff and I want to feed his hunger. Hes interested in motors, switches, making stuff that will actually work. Just wondering if anyone could steer me in the right direction. He loves ripping apart old toys with motors and just making the motors run with a battery. He's also starting to attach stuff to the motor with hot glue to see what will happen. Just trying to give you all an idea of what he wants to do. In a nutshell, he want to tinker. I've always been a tinkerer myself just not much in the field of electronics.

    Also, what exactly is Arduino and what would be a good starter kit for him/us?

  2. Rixen


    Feb 16, 2016
    The old man used to buy me those "DIY" assembly kits from manufactures like Velleman, there's no design involved, it's just alot of following the schematic, soldering and drilling, in the end you will have a finished product that can do "things"

    I think the first one I made, was a simple conductivity tester..

    I think this may be what you are after? :)

    Edit: Velleman not Weller.
  3. KJ6EAD


    Aug 13, 2011
    Take a good browse around Elenco's products. They have a variety of electronic, mechanical and other items.

    I wouldn't expect an eight year old to be ready for microcontrollers, even Arduino unless he's particularly precocious or gifted in the logical/analytical way that's needed to construct and debug programs. Even so, Arduino projects could be built sans understanding with a canned "paint by numbers" project approach.

    You may also find something appropriate from Robix or VEX robotics.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  4. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    I would suggest one of these "101 projects" kits that come with a book telling you how to wire together various circuits. You could both work through the projects together. (or leave him on his own and he will probably get way ahead of you :))

    shrtrnd likes this.
  5. Minder


    Apr 24, 2015
    I agree with BobK , initially I would get him involved in basic non-electronic problems to learn the basics involving resistor, capacitor, maybe simple inductors or a small DC motor etc.
    I would think a micro is throwing him the deep end, if interested in simple electronics then there are thousands of circuits and projects out there based on the old 555 for him to cut his teeth on.
  6. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    Jun 21, 2012
    I think the solderless breadboard approach to learning is a good way to start. These are simple devices that come in various sizes and support a wide variety of components. I have a dozen or so in my stockpile, some with circuits still attached that are functional after many years. While employed, we more than once delivered a "product" to a customer who was more interested in results than pretty packages.

    A few years ago I bought a Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab for a grandson as a Christmas present. I liked it so much I bought another one for myself. There are other similar kits available online. It's a good way to get started in electronics.
  7. content1


    Aug 14, 2015
    Thank you all for the replies. I will check them all out.

  8. Bluepoint SEO

    Bluepoint SEO

    Jul 28, 2016
    I learned BASIC on the old Acorn Electron when I was about his age maybe younger I forget! But I know other kids of similar age who are fascinated by learning to program by copying lines of code from books just like I was. My first stumbling block: trying to conceptualise a variable.

    I'd say Raspberry Pi for $30 odd USD (I think) and get him using and programming on that and then see how he gets on learning electronics - at some point I'm sure the two will merge.

    All the other ideas mentioned are good too. I remember having one of those 101 Electronic Experiment kits.

    Here's a project I did with my 6 year old daughter the other week; we made a simple buzzer toy where you have a hoop of wire that you have to negotiate its way around a loop of wire. If they touch a piezo buzzer would sound. Just a fun idea :) missing a buzzer you could use a light bulb, LED or all three. This type of thing:

    Great to see a proactive parent! :)
    KJ6EAD and hevans1944 like this.
  9. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    My input, is to go with the 101-type kits suggested above.
    Kids are kids. This may be a phase, and you don't want to invest heavily in something that may just be a fad.
    If your son's interest continues, you'll be adding to his electronics spare-parts box soon enough.
  10. Minder


    Apr 24, 2015
    You may also want to introduce him the now popular Mosfet. The 2n7000 is a good way to get accustomed to them.

    Attached Files:

    hevans1944 likes this.
  11. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    Jun 21, 2012
    An Arduino is a small Atmel microprocessor mounted on a circuit board with additional components to allow interface to the real world. It requires a personal computer (PC), connected to the Arduino via a USB cable, to program it in a "C"-like language. After the program is downloaded to the Arduino, the USB connection is removed and the Arduino operates as a stand-alone device with the addition of a small external power supply or battery that connects to a power-input jack on the Arduino. There is an LED (Light Emitting Diode) on-board that you can "play" with programmatically. Writing a simple program that controls this LED is the Arduino equivalent of "Hello, world!" that many beginning programmers use to demonstrate their introduction into the world of computers.

    You create the Arduino program using a free application you download from an online website and install on the PC. This application program allows you to create (edit) the program the Arduino will later execute without being attached to the PC. The Arduino processor has programmable non-volatile FLASH memory with a small boot(strap) loader program already installed by the manufacturer of the Arduino. Your program, that you write on the PC, is translated into machine code, sent over the USB interface, and downloaded into the microprocessor flash memory by the boot loader. You can do this as often as desired until you get your program working to your satisfaction.

    There is a HUGE amount of information on the Internet concerning the programming and use of Arduino-based projects. Although the Arduino is a stand-alone computer in its own right, it is not very sophisticated and has a limited number of input/output connections to the external environment. However, there are external circuit boards, called "shields" that can be purchased (or made from scratch) to extend the I/O capabilities of the Arduino. One or more of these shields can be stacked on top of the original Arduino circuit board using the pin-connectors and sockets provided on the boards. There are also canned programs, called "sketches" that can be downloaded from the World Wide Web (Internet) to ease the transition from simple Arduino to Arduino with shields attached. Many Arduino users "cut and paste" from these canned programs instead of (or in addition to) learning to write their own sketches. It does save a lot of time.

    It is problematical whether a young child will be able to fully appreciate the capabilities of an Arduino. If I were you, I would do as I did with my oldest son: start him off with BASIC to learn the rudiments of programming. If you can, purchase a laptop computer for his own personal use. I did this by purchasing a Commodore 64 for my son and just turned him loose to discover whatever he could. He's now a seasoned electrical engineer working for a large company in Atlanta GA after graduating from The Ohio State University. Go Buckeyes!
    Bluepoint SEO likes this.
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