Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

littleBits STEAM Student Set

littleBits STEAM Student Set

Spring 2016 Toys
Ages: 8 - 14 yrs.
Price: $299.95

The littleBits STEAM Student Set, designed for students in grades 3-8, is intended for up to four children to work with at one time. (That is, of course, assuming the children have mastered their sharing skills and are well acquainted with the collaborative spirit of discovery.)

The ready to go eight-challenge set includes 19 color-coded interchangeable Bits (aka littleBits electronic building blocks), 38 accessory pieces (for wheeling, blinking, walking and buzzing), a private labeled 9v battery (nice touch) and a 72 page illustrated invention guide.

The guide neither complicates nor dumbs down the information. The format and design are welcoming; the "voice" is authentic, authoritative and age appropriate. We first meet each bit, review a sample circuit and how it works, try out a mini- challenge and equate it to several real world analogies. The challenges, both guided (Self-driving Vehicle, Art Machine, Throwing Arm and a Security Device) and open (Hack Your Classroom, Invent for Good, Chain Reaction Contraption and Hack Your Habits) are given an estimated minimum time to complete, a challenge level, a step by step guide, a clear and uncluttered description of how it works as well as how to take that completed challenge to the next level and ways to share and discuss. And yes, there's a page devoted to troubleshooting.

There is no gender bias. As one eight year old girl put it, this is "kid stuff, not girl or boy stuff." Using the written instructions and the pictures to complete each step, our testers' finished projects worked. We heard and saw the sense of accomplishment. And that boosts confidence. And with confidence comes more exploration, more learning, and way more fun.

Claire Green   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Claire is president of Parents' Choice Foundation and cofounder of Sandbox Summit®. She looks for toys and media that will unleash children's interests, and celebrate the fun of learning.

Look for this product at:
littleBits Electronics, Inc.

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