Many makers and hackers were introduced to circuits and electronics in the form of kits. Until fairly recently, those were usually some sort of PCB that you could solder components onto to build basic devices. But educational electronics kits have come a long way since then, and many kits offer the flexibility to build whatever children want, all without soldering. The Grove Junior programmable magnetic electronic blocks kit is the newest of those high-tech kits.
Grove Junior, which is a product of CH MAKER Ed and doesn’t appear to be affiliated with Seeed Studio’s Grove kits, recently launched on Kickstarter and has already reach more than four times the funding goal. Each kit is designed to get children interested in STEAM and contains a set of electronic blocks that can be assembled according to the instructions, or mixed and matched to build something unique. There are a variety of kits available that come with different sets of blocks, but all of them are interchangeable and will work together.
Those blocks include motors, batteries, LEDs, displays, sensors, and many more. Kids can simply snap the magnetic blocks together to create complex circuits. They can then program their creations with Codecraft, which is a Scratch 3.0-based graphical programming environment than runs on a computer. Additionally, Grove Junior can be programmed through the Grove Junior App, which is also built on Scratch. Grove Junior is even compatible with LEGO, so kids can use the LEGO sets they already have to add on to their designs.
The Grove Junior Kickstarter campaign is running until December 29th. The Grove Junior Bit Kit, which is the least expensive, costs just $29 for early birds. They’re advertising delivery in December 2018, so you may be able to get your kit in time for Christmas.