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We have come across a really cool tinkering kind of kit that is perfect for our son, Kipkay Kits.  Our son has been watching Kipkay videos on youtube for some time in addition to videos on wiring, testing various fire alarms and pool equipment.  Using snap circuits and jumper cables he has done his own wiring of iPods to fire alarms.  He has taken apart hundreds of electronics.  He really got hooked on the Kipkay how to build and weekend project videos as well as Make magazine DIY projects which further fed his desire to learn and do more.

He had wanted to learn to solder at around age 6 because of his interest in electronics, but we thought that was a little young.  He started receiving a subscription to Make magazine the Christmas after turning 6.  The Christmas after turning 7 he received the Elenco Learn to Solder Kit.  He read the manual and told us we couldn’t solder yet because we needed ventilation in our garage.  He devised a plan with bathroom vent fans and made a special request for a fan from his Uncle (who runs his own design and construction contracting company).  So for his 8th birthday he received an industrial air conditioner blower to suck/blow out soldering fumes in the garage.  He had to wait to install it as the unit could not fly back to TX with us and required grandparents to transport.  Needless to say when it arrived this Christmas, he was ecstatic.   He and daddy got to work on implementing his plans and had their soldering station completed by the end of February.  DS reread his kit and took its test.  He was ready to begin!  And, he was so proud of finishing the learn to solder kit.

That only lead to the desire to solder more as well as he came up with a new speaker design.  He purchased an op amp kit and is working on building his own speaker.  Thus, we knew we needed to find some other soldering projects to satisfy this interest!  And that is when I discovered that Kipkay has a monthly subscription of kits, or can be purchased individually.  By joining the subscription, my son gained access to even more videos for yet even more ideas.  He received his first kit, a DIY LED bulb.  It was a total hit.  My son is now hooked.  We ordered a few more kits from the Maker Shed (store from Make Magazine), and he is anxiously waiting for his next Kipkay kit to arrive (later this month).  Kipkay hobbyist level kits have been perfect for our son!  It has created some great dad and son bonding moments too!

Seeing our son’s excitement made me realize I needed to share our story.  In reality, as long as there is an adult supervising or assisting, our son is the perfect age for beginning these kinds of soldering projects.  Maybe we should have let him start earlier.  Either way, don’t be afraid of soldering kits.  You’d be surprised what kids can learn!  And, there is lead-free solder!

So for those with kids who love tinkering and electronics, Kipkay is definitely a place to check out!  Go to http://kipkaykits.com/ to either purchase kits individually or start subscribing.  And, https://www.youtube.com/user/kipkay is the youtube channel.  Our son is definitely coming up with more ideas thanks to Kipkay!

Other places to get great DIY electronics kits or ideas (I’m sure there are more than these, but these are a great start!):

  • Make (has online tutorials, magazine subscription, Youtube videos, and store–it is a favorite of our son)
  • Adafruit (it does not have a magazine but does have a coloring book of the A-Z of electronics, tutorials, and a store)
  • Sparkfun (store and tutorials)
  • Fry’s Electronics (physical store in some cities but also online store)
  • Electronic Parts Outlet (local store in Houston, my son loves it!)
  • Nightfire Electronics (online store)

You are never too young to tinker!  Go and be inspired to create something new!

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