Yesterday afternoon my boys were planning some cardboard costumes with electronics in and then I saw this new project on Kickstarter. Crafteeo kits help kids make cardboard armour with programmable lights. Cool.
This is definitely our kind of project! Our house is full of bits of cardboard armour and electronics. Now many families will have children with those interests but might not have the expertise or time to help them to make something from scratch, and the Crafteeo armour looks very professional too.
The Kickstarter includes a variety of weapons and armour in kit form with some options for digital PDF templates too. It's the Pulsar Helmet and Pulsar Armor projects that include electronics to light up a panel.
Crafteeo will use an off-the-shelf Arduino-compatible microcontroller for the light effects. Online tutorials will be available at three different levels to teach kids from age 8+ about electronics and coding. Assembling and programming Crafteo armour is a very practical application of electronics and coding skills which nicely builds on kids interests to teach them new skills.
There's no soldering required to put the electronics together, kids just need to slide connectors over pins to join the jumper wires and connect the components. As well as the microcontroller and an RGB (multi colour) LED there's also a photoresistor (which reacts to changing light levels.) The kit is powered by a standard battery pack. The microcontroller will come pre-loaded with code so younger kids won't have to write code to make the project work - but the option is available for kids who are ready.
Crafteeo encourages kids to reuse the electronics in new projects. I can imagine kids having multiple projects and moving the electronics between them depending on what they wanted to play with.
The project kits include all the materials including metal, plastic or leather accessories (depending on the piece) and also the glue and paint needed to finish the project. The instructions are video based which many children are used to these days.
Crafteeo are already making and delivering cardboard armour kits without electronics. The Kickstarter project is to launch the new kits including the Pulsar Helmet and Armor. They even have a backstory for the characters that wear the armour.
Crafteeo is hoping to deliver the Kickstarter rewards in November 2015, not in time for Halloween, but in time for Christmas.
We totally get this project! Perfect for maker kids and kids who you want to encourage to develop their practical skills.