Thursday, January 21, 2016

homemade circuit boards are so so much fun!


   A great way to get kids to understand electricity is through The Magic School Bus, and the Electric Field Trip. I have tried to explain to my kids what atoms are and electrons and protons, neutrons etc.., but why they are relevant in a kid friendly way, was beyond me. The book was so cute and explained what electrons do so well that my three year old understands!
 So we are playing with homemade circuit boards this month. It's a nice indoor activity since the weather is so cold. I remember my little brothers playing with these as kids and reading the Magic School bus book. They would go to Radio Shop with dad and spend hours looking at their stuff, and soldering wires and making alarm systems for their bedroom doors to keep nosey sisters out!
  Anyway, I bought all the stuff on Amazon- super cheap all with free shipping at the time. I will list it all in this post. Some of the prices are fluctuating, at the time these were the best prices per item.

I think the knife switch is the easiest switch for little kids to use.

Knox has a fancy two way toggle switch which my husband rigged up- not that exact one, one my mom gave him. Brad's days putting up electric fences for cows and horses helped him figure out how to mount it on the little piece of wood. (I'll put it this way- I wouldn't have thought of it!)

This is Brenden's board below, it has two little lights and a small d/c motor and the battery packs. We have small alarm buzzer coming next week- not sure what is taking so long, they were ordered two weeks ago.

Brad knew how to mount the little d/c motors- I wasn't sure what to use but he had the metal pipe strap 

downstairs already. There are several variations you could buy in plastic or metal. I think the metal was the easiest because it can be bent to fit it easily.

The little motors are pretty nice! I got them for $6.62 for a 5 pack with free shipping, the price went up, but I am sure they'll go back down again.

I ordered them a double AA battery pack

and a single AA battery pack

They came straight from China via airmail in two or three days.

The little light sockets and bulbs can only handle 3 volts, so no more than two AA batteries! We blew a couple bulbs experimenting. The E10 bulbs match up with the sockets you see below. The screws adjust in height for your wire leads to touch and attach. They worked great! We nailed them down to our boards so the sockers wouldn't wiggle around.

Genna is my queen experimenter. She got all the motors and lights running earlier this week by connecting her alligator clips around in one big circuit. She is pretty darn smart. Knox came to her for advice a couple times. She explains it well too "You just have to make a big circle Knox!"

I purchased 9 volt battery snap on leads and the company sent me a package of free alligator clips to review for free! Of course they work just fine- lol They are alligator clips it's hard for them NOT to work.   (That was my first time receiving anything free to review on Amazon! My kids were able to use them just fine without help. The heads were small enough to clip on our little motors and light sockets, and easy to pinch for them. I don't know anything else about them other than that..they served the purpose we needed them for- children).

The buzzers are still coming in the week. Then this won't be quiet fun anymore, especially since they are 5 volts.

I also purchased some helicopter blades which are coming later next week too, they already have a little motor on them.

I am hoping the kids can start building some styrofoam cup robots or other simple machines using these parts. 
You can build your own electromagnet after you read Magic School Bus book. It's pretty simple, there is even a kit on Amazon you can buy if that's easier. And it's really not to expensive. What you would spend running around on a battery and the switch and wire if you don't have it all already is about what you spend on this kit.

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