Is your child interested in IoT? The best way to give them a proper introduction is through hands-on skills related to IoT boards, along with LCD displays, sensors, relays, LEDs, and other components. What you’re looking for is a child-friendly IoT board that can teach important IoT skills without requiring any prior electronics experience. Check out some of the best IoT boards for children below.
Whether you need to acquaint your child with a single-board computer or an Arduino-based microcontroller, the following are some of the best IoT boards available for younger people. None of them require soldering, jumper wires, or any programming knowledge, so they may be a good fit even for adults who are curious about IoT.
1. BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor
An inventor coding kit themed around the Doctor Who series is the perfect New Year’s gift for junior coders. Backed by BBC Learning, the HiFive starter kit resembles the palm of a hand but really packs a punch in terms of features. It comes with a 150 Mhz RISC-V processor, which has many proprietary implementations, such as Alibaba Group and Western Digital.
HiFive supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, comes with a built-in color LED, and has an edge connector for expansion. There are thousands of Doctor Who-inspired challenges and lessons, such as building a robot, developing an intergalactic weather service, designing a security system, and more.
Suitability: Ages 7+
2. SparkFun Blynk Board
The SparkFun Blynk Board is a fully-programmed DIY kit based on ESP8266, one of the best variants on Arduino microcontrollers. At its core, the kit is an app builder that allows experimenters to add a variety of buttons, sliders, graphical displays, and LED controllers to their phones. There is a mobile app called “Blynk” to support these integrations over 2.4GHz WiFi.
No soldering is needed, as alligator cables are provided for a “plug-play” experience.
Is your child addicted to their smartphone? Maybe it’s time to put the addiction to good use with a phone-connected Blynk board.
Suitability: Ages 10+. Requires Android 4.0 and iOS 7.0
3. Grove Starter Kits for Arduino
Grove by Seeed Studio is a modular electronic platform that helps achieve fast and easy prototyping in an Arduino Uno environment. It’s a powerful yet affordable kit that comes with a base shield and 14 additional Arduino sensors and accessories.
The modular starting kit supports different functions, such as sensors, inputs, RGB lights, accelerometers, and a stepper motor. No soldering or wiring is needed, as everything is handled by Grove’s proprietary connectors. Considering the excellent compatibility with Arduino projects, even serious IoT enthusiasts can use these Grove boards as shields and not have to worry if they hooked them up properly.
Suitability: Ages 10+
4. CodeBug Connect
While still in the seeding phase, CodeBug Connect is a commercial project aiming to make IoT prototyping fun and easy to use. The main features are smart Wi-Fi connectivity and a Raspberry Pi-like interface, joysticks, accelerometers, GPIO legs, USB flash storage, and a complete coding kit which works as a step-by-step tutorial.
The CodeBug Connect kit will be delivered to you at the earliest by March 2021.
Suitability: Ages 9+
The above child-friendly IoT boards should be considered by parents who want to support their kids taking an interest in new IoT ideas. Have you come across an IoT board that can be used by children? Please share in the comments.
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