Electricity, as I’ve mentioned before, is something of a problem for me.
It’s obviously brilliant, and pretty important to modern life and that, but I just don’t really understand it.
Recently, we bought our machine-obsessed son a kids circuit kit called Snap Circuits, and it turned out to not only be the introduction he needed into the world of electronics. It was what I needed too.
The kit is pretty simple – lots of parts, be they wires, resistors (I think I’m beginning to understand what these do), LEDs or motors, which clip together easily and an instruction set with 100 different circuits to try and some pretty good explanations as to why and how each one works.
Obviously, the best bit comes when you put the instructions down and you try stuff out. ‘So, what do you think would happen if we changed this for this?’, ‘How could we connect this circuit up?’. That joy of creation, of doing their own thing, is strong in kids. The (very) simple circuits he and I create are basic compared to those in the books, but, for him and so much more exciting, because we’ve done it.
For me, it’s exciting too, because it’s a sign that I’m beginning to remember and/or learn some of these basic bits and build my own knowledge. I’m not going to be making my own robots any time soon, but I can make a light switch on and off now. Without the instructions. It’s a start.