Do you have a child with an interest in electronics? Do you find small bits of wire hiding in your fuzzy house slippers on a regular basis? Are you intimately familiar with the smell of smoking ICs? Here are some of our family-tested, favorite resources for your electronically inclined explorer.
1. Snap Circuits
Great for even the youngest electronics enthusiast. No wire, no soldering; just nice chunky blocks that help you build over 300 projects. Works well for an introductory kit.
2. 130-in-1 Electronics Kit
Next step up. No soldering; wire ends are hooked into a spring. This kit provides room for growth (we went through two) and a basic understanding of each component’s role in the circuit. (Update: This one seems to no longer be available. The Maxitronix 200-in-1 Kit will be a great substitute.
3. Getting Started in Electronics by Forest M. Mims III
Next it’s time to assemble your own components, hook up a breadboard and try your own circuits. An easy to follow, introductory book that can help you get started. Try his other books for more ideas.
4. Elenco XK-700TK Digital/Analog Trainer in Case
If you are willing to invest in an electronics lab that will fit a high school student from DC to AC to programmable devices, you may be interested in this kit from Elenco. No soldering; all of the components are included. This is a perfect replacement for the now discontinued kit we used. You can view the manual at the manufacturer’s site.
5. AC/DC Electric Circuit Card Game
A card game from those fun folks at Ampersand Press. Can be enjoyed by all ages regardless of electronic aptitude. Update: Appears to no longer be available. But still recommended if you can find it!
Most of these resources can be purchased at your favorite homeschool science supplier or at Edmund Scientific. A casual look through the electronics section will yield a whole new world of ideas for your budding electronic genius!