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Electrical/ Electronics for an 8 year old


Arrserati, I know someone here will have the answer.
My 8 year old son received one of those self build, solar powered, 6 in 1 robots for Crimbo.
Unfortunately the solar panel was knackered but I managed to bodge it to show how different voltages affected speed (we made a windmill) & the effect of reversing polarity.
The cheap crap motor didn’t last long but now he’s dead keen to get another electrical/electronics kit to build.
I’ve looked online & most seem to be simple snap together (he maintains it must have wires & shit (he listens to me too much) & he needs to connect them) or are way to complicated for him & me.
Any suggestions from the experts?
There are probably some young-age Arduino kits about. Those have a breadboard of some sort (hence no soldering needed, but still with "wires and shit"), pre-written programs that can be modified, assorted sensors and motors and whatnot and - of course - a real live microprocessor.

Joshua Slocum

Book Reviewer
These are good, plenty of sticky tape and glue

and a useful book
I prefer books to laptops as kids can write notes in them and visualise circuits much better
Amazon product
These are cheap as. Good intro to coding, advance to Raspberry pi or Arduino. There are kits with wires and shït to build stuff on breadboards to go with. There’s a Raspberry pi thread on here too. Use the J button.


Got an 8 year old, we got him Hotwires. It's a fabulous teaching tool. At 8 he understands the basics. Ohms law, what a capacitor and transistor do, how to wire simple circuits. It's fun and Dad / son time, and it's productive. Tried to get him to do some basic soldering at Christmas but he hasn't the hand eye coordination yet. We've got him an Iron to do some wood burning type art and he loves that. After a while we'll progress!


Maybe speak to @Ravers for ideas?

Have you considered a Velleman kit? Very good, and helpfully not holes to drill for leads. Their educational projects page looks promising, with a solderless breadboard based kit for various circuits, and a solar projects kit that needs no soldering. There is even a start to solder kit.


I estimate that my electronics know how is close to the 8 year old level. So I browse these sites for ideas from time to time:



Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
But him a classic Italian car and then you can spend hours of endless fun tracing earth faults and trying to get the thing to work properly.

In all seriousness I reckon some sort of radio controlled machine would be the way forward. When I was about 7 or 8 me and the old man built a radio controlled glider from scratch. Had to wire up all the servos and battery compartment etc.

We also did a radio controlled ship. HMS Lindisfarne if memory serves.
Bit basic compared to some earlier suggestions, but the following was a great starter kit for my then 8yo son:

Amazon product
Easy enough for him to do himself after you've done the first few together. Although I still join in anyway.

US link but available in the UK, albeit Amazon UK seems sold out


Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I’ll have a look through them all with him & see what happens.
Don’t wanna shell out a fortune if it’s just a flash in the pan!
Cheers, Stinky.


Book Reviewer
Found this while looking for something else, some quite cool stuff listed under it too.


Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I’ll have a look through them all with him & see what happens.
Don’t wanna shell out a fortune if it’s just a flash in the pan!
Cheers, Stinky.
I hear that EDF has some kits for a nuclear power station going cheap,
That should keep an eight-year busy
These youngsters appear to know more about this technical shite than us oldies
Not sure if either of you are into Star Wars at all, but there are some people who build "lightsabers" using things like Adafruit neopixel strips and arduino based circuit boards called Proffieboards that can be programmed to do all sorts of weird and wonderful things. My children and I are currently attempting to build one after my eldest saw this video on youtube;



War Hero
When I was about that age I got started with these (which is why it's called a "breadboard")

Vellemans kits are probably the closest you'll get these days.

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