Through taking #ECI831 with Alec Couros, I was made aware of a lot of really intriguing maker related toys and tools for the classroom. Makey Makey was the first big one, which I blogged about here. Unfortunately, once you start, it’s hard to stop; there are so many amazing tools out there to inspire creativity. Having dabbled a little bit with Arudino, I realized while the applications are endless, there still requires a technical savvy, especially when it comes to coding. My grade 5 students aren’t there yet.
Enter Little Bits. Unlike an Arudino there is no coding, no breadboarding or soldering. Instead each piece serves a particular purpose, and when attached in a chain, easily I might add thanks to the magnets, creates something pretty amazing. Little Bits jumps right into hands-on creating, and is an excellent starting point for incorporating interactive elements into lego or cardboard creations, or to create neat little tricks and traps for other friends or family members.
The box says 8+, but so long as your child is not too rough with the pieces, I’m positive that even a four year old can have a lot of fun, simply putting the pieces together to see what happens.
Here’s a video of how one of the pieces, a small dc motor, can be used to bring life to a LEGO Technics helicopter.
There are already so many different little bits, which can be ordered direct from their website. As well, on their site there’s a ton of other activities you can do with your bits, after you’ve run through the activities in each of the provided booklets that come with each individual kit.
There’s also an amazing Korg + Little Bits collaboration kit where you can build your own synth. Here’s a quick demo of the kit in action:
I haven’t brought it into class yet, simply because we are focused on getting our cardboard games ready for this Thursday’s Winter Festival at our school, which is another blog post entirely!
One caveat to Little Bits is that they are still largely available only in the US. I was able to order some kits through buyapi.ca, but all the extra add ons, like the lego connectors, and all the individual pieces, like the amazing cloudbit and smart home kit are still a US shipping and duty taxes ways away.