With all the technology around us, our kids are facing a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they are so comfortable with technology that they think in ways that I never will! But on the other hand, the bar is set incredibly high for our kids’ understanding of technology as they grow up.
Now is the time for our kids to be learning and making and doing projects like the one I’m about to describe! Our kids can’t just play video games and become SnapChat experts and hope to have a competitive advantage when they graduate high school.
Technology education made fun!
When Chris Gatbonton, the founder of Creation Crate contacted me to see if I’d like to review his electronics subscription box for kids, I jumped at the chance!
Creation Crate is a subscription box for kids ages 12 and up who want to learn to build electronics. They send you everything you need to build a working electronics project – things like a DIY lock box, 2-Player reflex game, and more.
Each kit uses a tiny little computer called a UNO R3. You use this computer together with some real electronics parts to create a working project.
Our electronics project
Our Creation Crate arrived just in time for a frosty Saturday morning – the perfect activity to lure my kids away from their devices. We got the mood lamp kit, the first box in the subscription series.
Assembly was straightforward – my 12 year old is a whiz at following directions which is a good thing because I’m more of a wordsmith and thinking in 3D isn’t my strong suit.
After you build the hardware, you write the program that will tell the mood lamp how to operate (changing colors and such). Don’t worry – they walk you through how to write the program and there’s even an option to download the finished script if you run out of patience! But it only took about 5 minutes to get the whole thing typed in.
We ran into a problem when our code wouldn’t upload. I contacted Support and they helped me identify our error – we had missed a step during the installation of the software – oops! Anyway, that’s the way things are in the “real” world of electronics. I like it when my kids have to persevere with these kinds of projects. It makes the reward all the better when you’re done!
We actually ran into a snag when our mood lamp code wouldn’t upload. Thankfully, the Creation Crate staff saved the day with the right fix and our lamp turned on!
Once you build your first project, you can stretch your knowledge with the challenge exercises provided in the book or even take the mini-computer and create new projects with it!
What I liked about the Creation Crate project that we did was that it was a “real” project – not theory, not just a video of something cool; my kids actually built a working lamp! I think that’s pretty great! And the time investment was only about 15 minutes for the hardware and 15 more minutes for the code. So you don’t have to wait long to have a working project!
The one downside I see is that you do have to take care with the parts. Again, since these are real electronics parts and since they are quite small, I can see a kid breaking something if he uses too much force to put the pieces together. This didn’t happen to us, but I think it’s something to be aware of. So definitely discuss this with your kids before they start.
This is also another reason that this kit is recommended for kids 12 and up. Younger kids will likely not have the fine motor skills needed to assemble the electronics components. (By the way, Creation Crate does have a kit for younger kids called Think With Art. My 6 year old is already bargaining for that subscription for his birthday!)
Here’s where you can find Creation Crate on the web:
Creation Crate Coupon Alert!
Creation Crate is generously offering a coupon to Early Bird Mom readers. Enter earlybirdmom to get $5 off your first month’s subscription.
That would make your first month as low as $17.49! I just spent double that much at our local trampoline park so I think this is a great deal.