Mom Michele reviews the LittleBits Rule Your Room kit.
We live in a technological age and, for the most part, we are the users of the inventions. How neat would it be for a child to be the creator, and the user? My children and I reviewed LittleBits: Rule Your Room Kit, which gives children the opportunity to be creators of their own inventions! Using LittleBits is an active way of inventing devices using circuitry. The Rule Your Room Kit provides an outlet for children to learn and apply innovation, creativity, and knowledge of electrical components. It brings out the inventor inside each of us.
The Challenge of Finding Creative Play with Technology
Many times it can be difficult to find ways for children to use materials and technology in an innovative way. The LittleBits Rule Your Room Kit is an excellent way to introduce basic circuits and the concept of electricity through fun kid-friendly inventions. Teaching about circuits is not a common lesson standard students come across very often in schools. LittleBits offers children a way to be introduced to the concepts of electricity, engineering, and inventions starting at a young age.
What It Comes With
It comes with an Invention Guide, full of clear, detailed instructions for 8 inventions, and a challenge to invent new creations using the different types of circuits that are acquired from the kit. The “bits” are magnetic and clearly labelled, making it very easy to connect them correctly. There are diagrams and pictures, explaining the anatomy of the bits. The bits are also color-coded to make it easier to distinguish the functions of each bit. Everything is laid out clearly, taking you step-by-step, from understanding the role of each part, to going through the process of building each invention.
There is a supplementary app to download with detailed instructions of each invention along with bit controls to pair with a bluetooth device. This is another convenient option if children want to use a remote device.
LittleBits strengthens many skills, making it an extremely valuable tool for learning. Creating the devices requires the children to follow directions. They must be able to go through each step, strengthening organizational skills and reading comprehension. If results do not go as planned, or if something does not work accordingly, then problem-solving skills are put to good use. For example, when my daughters were building the “Domain Defender,” an invention that launches paper balls, the arm that launches moved in a different direction. They had to think about what we needed to do to resolve that. The handy Invention Guide provides troubleshooting tips, and my daughters were also able to figure out what needed to be adjusted by going back a few steps. LittleBits also fosters innovation. At the end of the section of each invention, there is a “Remix” portion listing open-ended questions to try other ideas out. By learning what each of the parts does, there is room to personalize the invention and make something on your own with the basic start-up.
The Rule Your Room Kit taught my children concepts and vocabulary that I normally would not have introduced to them such as input, output, insulators, and conductors. It explained these concepts clearly and provided opportunities for the children to learn about through hands-on activities that they greatly enjoyed.
My family is truly impressed with the quality and detail of LittleBits. It is clear, thoughtful, challenging, and inspiring for children and adults alike. The thought of creating circuits and making inventions with them was foreign and a bit intimidating to us prior to reviewing this product. However, littleBits made the process straightforward, organized, and seamless. We liked the progression of difficulty with each invention. It was not overwhelming because it starts with the basics, and progressively gets a bit more challenging each time.
Based on our experience, it may be geared for kids who are in upper elementary and up for independent creations, but it can be used with early-elementary aged kids with adult guidance. My 6-year-old said, “I like how the arm moves, and that we can make many different inventions.” My 5-year-old said, “I like that it’s magnetic.” With magnetic bits, the pieces snap together to ensure correct assembly. This allowed my kids to feel successful knowing which was the proper way to put the pieces together. In addition to being magnetic, there are arrows pointing in a specific direction, as an added visual for proper alignment.
The types of inventions made with LittleBits are kid-friendly. Kids like protecting their belongings, pulling pranks, and making up games. The inventions in the Rule Your Room Kit are geared towards these interests. One invention was the “Domain Defender,” a rotating arm to fling paper balls at an “intruder” entering a room or trying to open a private drawer. Another invention my kids enjoyed making was the “Creepy Eyes” that lit up through sound activation. After my kids built the device, they lured their father to the room, and the sound of his approach triggered the “Creepy Eyes” to light up. They were so pleased at the results and the effort they put into creating an invention that worked. My daughters also created a moving collage with princesses they drew. They got a kick out of seeing their artwork move. My kids were entertained for hours making so many inventions for their room.
We also thought it was helpful that real-life examples of each bit were provided in the Invention Guide. Therefore, the skills and parts learned through each invention can be connected to real-life inventions we see in our daily lives. For example, the buzzer in the kit was compared to a doorbell or car alarm. The swinging servo (a motor that can swing back and forth) is similar to the motion of the windshield wiper. I think that is important for people to make that connection, to get a stronger understanding and context of what they are using. That way the children are not just seeing the inventions they are making in isolation, but are able to be aware of and apply these inventions all around them.
Rule Your Room Kit is something we highly recommend to challenge and inspire young minds in a fun way.
About the All-Star Blogger
Michele is a wife, mommy of 3, and educator. When she’s not homeschooling and chasing a toddler around the house, she likes to bake, read, and blog. You can find her blogging adventures at Fil-Am Teacher Mommy.