What should you buy first if your child is ready to start STEM activities?
Hi parent maker,
Thank you for tuning in. I hope the last article "What if my kid want to start with STEM" helped you. If you have any questions, please comment at the end of the article or your can also reach me by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
So you know your kid want to start making things and you chose to buy a STEM kit to help him/her. Where to start?
That 's a really good questions and we will try to see it more in details depending of what your child wants to do.
It all depends of the age of your child
Depending of the age of your child, we need to use different educative tools or toys. We cannot use high level coding with 7 years old kids. They will feel frustrated and will give up the on STEM. And this is definitely not the result we are looking for.
Robotics activities (4 yrs old +)
It has so many area in robotics. Build robots, code them, create a environnement for them and of course lay with them.
Today, we will focus on robot we can code such as the following:
Those robots usually come with a proprietary software for the coding of the machine. Starting with a blocky language (drag and drop blocks) for the younger children.
Prices usually starts arounds $70-80. You can find cheaper prices, but more often those robots need to be mounted and are a little bit more complicated to code. We will dedicated an article specially for them in the future.
Other types of robots and brands are also available. We stay focused on these ones for this article.
3D printing for kids (8 yrs old +)
Nowaday, you have different type of 3d printers on the market. All different prices, shapes, materials and brands. You can even find 3d printers for children. The added value that are included are mainly for protection:
A case to prevent mechanic and temperature issue with the kids
A dedicated software which is easier to use even though being limited
a lower temprerature for the melting of the consumible (Filament). Filament are quite hard to find and you cannot find all the types that are available on the market for the adults. So less possibility and creativity. Knowing that the purpose of STEM is to expand the kid's mind.
Since we have those little hard spot, we will stay with the 3d printers for adults. But you can still have a look on the 3d printers for kids with he following links:
You also have kits that need to be assembled on your own. It may be a good way to start and leaned during the process. But today, We will stay focus on ready to use printer on the market that everybody use. There are the major brands:
On thing all those printers have in common is that they are all costy. More than $1300 for the cheapest one.
If you don't have the financial ressources to buy a 3d printer, you can choose a 3D pen. Your child can learn how to design 3D project in 10 minutes. here is one of the 3D pen for kids:
We'll talk more in deep about 3D design software in another article and also about 3d printer itself in a full article. I know we have a lot to do and see. So stay tuned every week for fresh advices. ;-)
One thing to remember, never leave your child alone with a 3D printer since it workss a reall high temperature.
Hands-on activities (4 yrs old +)
Hands-on activities may be the most accesible for everyone. It allow the kids to make things with whatever is in their environnement. Such as straws, cardboards, rubber bands and use tools such as glue, scissors, pins, etc.
All types of STEM projects can be done with hands-on activities like a catapult, rockets, etc. A video is available right after to show you an example.
Electronics (8 yrs old +)
By electronics, I'm thinking about boards, electronic circuits, diodes, batteries, resistors, etc. For the boards, the most famous one with a big online community always ready to help are:
Arduino: Big as a credit card, it allows you to learn the basis of electronics, coding and prototyping by following step-by-step tutorial
Raspberry pi: The raspberry pi board are also big as a credit and also with a big online community with tutorial. It is also be turned into a small computerwith the right extensions
I have some tutorials on these board available on the website. Let me know if you want more tutorials on them( they are on their way for sure):
Arduino: How to make a piano with an arduino board
Raspberry pi: How to use a LCD screen to display whatver you want with a raspberry pi board
Free tools for STEM activities and after-schools
In the next article, we'll talk about free ways to introduce STEM to your kids. Thank you who? Thank you internet. :-)))
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Talk to you next week for the rest. ;-)