Cover picture taken with the new Android Prisma App
I believe that an active and curious mind and a love for learning are the some of the most valuable behaviours that parents can inculcate in a child. Creativity, innovation and ability to create, understand and use technology are essential skills for the next generation and an early start can be a lifelong advantage. Here are three exciting gift ideas for parents how want to raise budding scientists and inventors:
3. Piper Computer Kit
I got to assemble my first computer when I was 14 years old, from parts I bought, at what was still an upcoming, computer market in New-Delhi’s Nehru Place. I can still distinctly remember the excitement and animation of plugging-in and connecting the various components and parts. The fierce pride and possessiveness of having built the thing ensured that I inculcated, what would later become life-long, habits of conscientious usage and appreciation for computers and indeed all gadgets.
In this age of sleek laptops, tablets and smartphones a desk-bound PC makes little sense. So I’ve been trying to figure out someway to give my kids the opportunity to assemble their own computer. Enter the Piper Computer Kit (Available on Amazon Launchpad).
This magical box is a gorgeous, fully-functional wooden computer (to be assembled by the little inventors themselves) specifically designed for young kids.
It contains a fully functioning computer running on a Raspberry Pi 3 Project Board with 1GB RAM and a 1200 MHz QuadCore CPU. The kit even comes with a special version of the Super-hit game Minecraft and a WiFi adaptor.
2. Nurugo Micro
This is a ‘little-wonder’ smartphone camera lens and App from the recently concluded and very successfully crowd-funded ‘Nurugo project campaign’ on both kickstarter.com and indiegogo.com. (Final totals: Kickstarter- $233,228 with 3,784 Backers , 466% from their target goal of $50,000 in just 45 days. Indiegogo-$106,495 USD total funds raised, which was 162% funded of their target amount.)
Nurugo Micro claims to be the world’s smallest 400x Microscope for Smartphones and boy does it deliver!
It fits snugly on iPhones and most Android phones (the box contains two types of holders with some extra gizmos to accommodate most common smartphone shapes) and all you have to do is install the nurugobox App and the little inventors and good to go.
We ordered our set on the original Kickstarter campaign and only recently received the package.
I found that both my 9 and 11 year old were very fascinated by the concept of being able to magnify and unveil the vastness of the countless tiny things around us. We since had many eager and engaged discussions about material science, chemistry, biology and art.
Read more about this wonderful lens here
1. LittleBits Electronics Base Kit
Admittedly this next kit is not for the fainthearted. Be prepared for all kinds potential mischief and hilarity. The littleBits is a kit that opens up boundless possibilities and that’s just in the home.
At its core the kit contains easy to click together magnetic electronic modules that can combine to make all kinds of wondrous inventions. All manners of ‘Things’ will spin, glow, move, make sounds and occasionally even be useful.
Available on Amazon launchpad the basic version of this powerful kit is priced at a modest USD99/- (with free shipping to Singapore for orders over USD 125/-). More expansions and add-ons are available as the little inventors become more confident.
A word of caution: this is a serious kit and not a toy and adult supervision is greatly recommended.
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