Last year I received an Arduino starter kit for Christmas. The kit included an Arduino Uno microcontroller and a host of LEDs, resistors, pre cut wires and other components. The first couple of weeks with the kit, I had a lot of fun going through the first several projects. Then life and reality set in and I was not making the time to go through the projects.
This summer my interest was renewed when I had the opportunity to help develop a tester at work that was built on an Arduino Mega microcontroller. This was a very simple project as the circuit was already designed and I merely had to clean up the sketch. However the project did inspire me to dust off my kit and finish walking through the projects. As of today, I have finished 11 of 14 projects and I can honestly say this is a really cool toy.
The kit was $110, but it truly has everything to get you started. The instructions are easy to follow and the code is very straightforward. I don’t think it would be suitable for children under 10, but after that anybody can really improve their understanding of electronics, circuits and programming without having to know how to solder or assemble a host of components piecemeal. However good eyesight or a magnifying glass is required as it is kind of tricky to read some of those small components.
Also since the starter kit was quite popular, anytime I got stuck, I could find a youtube video or thread on troubleshooting my circuit and/or code.
I look forward to passing it on to my daughters as they really enjoy the snap circuits kit we have. In the interim, I plan on buying a Littlebits starter kit as that should be age appropriate for theme now.
Personally, I may look for other kits and project books to build on the skills I have developed over the course of this year.