Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Halloween Electronics Projects for Kids

Velleman Halloween Pumpkin Kit : MK145Halloween is fast approaching and it's a great time for some themed electronics projects for children. These can be just for fun or to add effects to costumes or set the scene for a party.

We love to take the opportunity to create some Halloween-themed surprises each year. This year my kids are big enough to get involved in making props and accessories so that's even more fun. I'll share some ideas for projects that kids can get involved in.

Halloween Pumpkin Electronics Kit

This is a fun electronics project kit for older kids and teens who are able to use a soldering iron. Younger kids would enjoy watching a parent put the kit together and would still learn a lot (and enjoy the result.)

You get the pumpkin shaped board and the kit comes with 25 LEDs. When completed it has a flicker effect than looks like a candle in a draft.

As well as soldering equipment you'll need a 9V battery to power the kit.

Halloween Electronic Wearables

Wearable electronics are lots of fun. A simple way to start is with the littleBits Light Wire which glows blue and can be used to accessorize a costume. This can work for lots of different kinds of costume including space and sci-fi themes and video game costumes.

You'll also need a power bit to go with it, the Coin Battery is ideal. We've got some littleBits pieces and they are great for putting together projects quickly and being able to reuse the pieces afterwards.

There are loads of other bits in the range so this is a good way to start with a simple practical electronics kit for kids that you can extend in future for other projects.

For teens you could go for a more advanced wearables project using the Arduino Lilypad technology.

We love this project by Geek Mom. You can turn a child into a video game for Halloween with this project that uses an Arduino Lilypad with an LED matrix and a controller to play simple games! Very cool.

You can find the instructions here

Makey Makey Pumpkin Drumkit or Game

Makey Makey is a fun hardware kit that enables you to control software with physical objects that conduct electricity, like say, pumpkins!

This cool project uses Makey Makey to make a pumpkin drum kit.

You could build something like this using the graphical Scratch language to control the sounds.

Or you could build a Halloween-themed game that uses pumpkins as the controls. Or make scarey sounds when a pumpkin is touched. This would be lots of fun at a Halloween party.

Look here for info on how to use Makey Makey with Scratch.  We have a Makey Makey kit and my older son has learnt some Scratch programming so we'll definitely have a go at something like this.

Halloween Props

We love setting up Halloween props. Our pumpkins always get LED lights and we've used a pressure mat to trigger scary wolf howls. The boys also have buttons set up on a remote control that play dinosaur noises in their bedtime - great for scaring friends who come to visit.

littleBits is just perfect for getting kids (from age 8) involved in creating Halloween props. You can use pressure, bend and light sensors to trigger things. There's a vibration motor to make things vibrate mysteriously and a motor to trigger movement. There are littleBits buzzers and lights to create sound and light effects. Lots of potential here!

For older kids and teens you can think about Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects that combine software and hardware. How about an Raspberry Pi controlled pumpkin and an Arduino skull.

We'll be having fun with some Halloween tech projects this year. I hope you will too.

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