Last year I gave my nephews an arduino starter kit as a present. They’re really bright, so it just made sense to them. Faster than I could demonstrate that wiring up the button and the lights let them create a control they’d already figured it out and wanted to know what else it could do.
I realize now it was handing someone of my generation a battery, some cash, and saying “you can power anything with this”. It fuels the path of creativity without nurturing it.
This year I was going to give them a raspberry-pi starter kit but it’ll just wind up being a way to run games if there’s not something to fuel and guide their imagination a little.
“It can do anything electronic”. “Like what?” “Uh, like, uhm, drive a motor” “Oh, to do what?” “Look, this is why I’m a programmer, just imaginate some stuff, squirt!”
And they’re too young for me to point them at “forums”. So:
I’m hoping some of you might be able to recommend maybe some kits, books, perhaps online courses or guides for a variety of beginner, entry/kid-level projects that include the programming but perhaps focus on the more physical aspect of doing things. They’re *not* gonna want a series of tutorials on how to make different patterns of blinking lights, they’re going to want something that demonstrates practical potentials and – ideally – gives them reason to go to the store with their parents and see the aisle of potential components they might tap into to fire off their little imaginations.