Creation Crate is a tech engineering kit in a box. Designed for kids ages 12 and up, the goal of this monthly subscription is to provide the opportunity for students to get hands-on and build electronics for themselves.
Included in the box is everything you need to make a particular project – circuit boards, LED lights, amps, a pocket-sized computer, etc., along with all the complete instructions on how to build the actual hardware on the board and the programming code to tell it how to work. There are pictures and step by step instructions to help make it easier to put together. They even have a restricted website access for your project if you need more detailed images or instructions – which we found handy as we struggled with a few things where we found that the graphics were rather tiny and hard to decipher on some occasions.
The box they sent us to try out was to build a mood lamp – a lamp that changes colours in the dark and can be programmed to do specific levels and speeds of the light display based on how dark the room is.
I did this project with my 10-year-old – a little younger than the intended recipient, but he was utterly fascinated by it. When I asked him what he liked the best, he said it was that he was able to build something that actually worked, and he made it himself.
After creating the project, you download a software program from the website for the motherboard and type in your code needed to be able to run your hardware.
The instruction book gives step-by-step instructions on how to put in the code and explaining what each section of code means. It was a little bit advanced for my boy, but he was able to type it all in himself, search for errors, and explore what happens when you move things around, and alter some settings.
At the end of the book offers a few exercises – challenging you to change some settings and figure out how to do so as well as a troubleshooting guide to help you through some of the most common errors in case it isn’t working quite as it should.
We had a little bit of a challenge getting our lights to all work, but it was a great hands-on project for my little builder. He LOVED trying to figure it out on his own, rearranging things to see if he could make it work in a new way, and was very curious about what would come in the next crate. For my kid, I can totally see this being a worthwhile investment.
If you sign up for their monthly crate, each box becomes more challenging, building on the skills and things you have learned in the previous ones.
I think the premise behind these kits is fantastic – learning by doing and self-exploration. Electronics and circuitry don’t have to be mysterious and overwhelming, but fun and exciting.
Check out the Creation Crate website for more information or to order your box today.
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