Circuit Scribe: a gift idea that will illuminate your child’s mind!
Recently, my personal Facebook feed has been peppered with moms surveying their online community for gift ideas for their elementary-aged children. I can relate.
It’s easy to buy gifts for young children. Clothes, books, toys- their collections are just starting out and play is their job. I’m all over that.
But as kids get older, it’s more difficult to find affordable gifts that are purposeful, meaningful, and fun. I have found that my elementary kids are much more picky– not because they’re ungrateful– but because they’d rather have nothing at all then something they aren’t into. Makes sense.
My 4th grader has been learning about circuits in school. I told him I could give him zero help because I know nothing about electricity. The back story that I won’t tell him yet is that I dropped physics in high school BECAUSE of electricity. I couldn’t in my wildest dreams figure out why I needed to learn how electricity worked.
So, when I heard about Circuit Scribe, I immediately wanted to try it out with my son and slightly younger daughter. I never want my aversion to (or perhaps intimidation of) a subject prevent my kids from engaging fully in any given area. My son was loving his electricity unit and seemed to be picking it up well. My daughter loves all things science- she’s a tinkerer and loves to know how things work. And since I was certainly not going to be the one teaching them in this area, I needed a little help from an outside source.
Circuit Scribe (ultimate kit) is a set of tools that kids can use to learn all about circuits. The kit we have came with:
- Workbook + Sketchbook
- Steel sheet
- Conductive Ink Pen
- 26 modules
This kit was dreamed up by a grad student at University of Illinois, and through a kickstarter, was launched.
This kit is recommended for kids ages 8+, and I would agree. I think 7 or 8 is a great age for this kit, although you will most likely want to walk through some of it with them.
What we Loved
Here’s what makes this whole thing incredibly fun– the ink pen. It’s a conductive ink pen, which means that when you write with it, it allows you to create functional circuits. This blew our minds!
I also loved that a kid could pick this up and within 5-10 minutes, they can make electricity happen. The creators do an amazing job of giving opportunities to get hands-on right away, piece by piece. Any parent knows that too much set-up time jeopardizes a kids willingness to dig in and learn.
Surprise? I liked learning too! The workbook taught me a lot about electricity with a good mix between technical jargon and normal, everyday words.
This kit digs in. Kids are challenged to take learning to a 201 (maybe 301?) level. For those who love Snap Circuits, this kit takes that to the next level. Honestly, I think this would be fun for middle school or high school students as well. I think once you get what they’re teaching in the workbook, you have the tools to get creative.
My 7 year old ended up quickly moving to the maker mindset and started designing her own circuits, playing around with various ways of drawing them. She was excited to show them to grandpa, who happens to be amazing at this kind of stuff!
What we didn’t like
Nothing. Everything worked really well. The directions were clear. Everything is well made. We have no complaints!
This is a truly worthwhile, open-ended set that allows kids to have enough guidance to get started, but also enough space to explore and tinker. At $99 for this set, it’s affordable for all the tools it offers. For people who are unsure whether or not their child will enjoy it, they offer smaller sets as well (the smallest is only $9.99).