For this review, we will be focusing on the “Rule Your Room” building block kit created by the startup littleBits. The growing company offers many new kits that teach different concepts/ideas to children eight and up. Electronic building blocks have been rapidly growing with companies like Cubelets and LightUp however littleBits are more affordable and offer many different possibilities.
In the Box
The littleBits “Rule Your Room” kit is a smaller kit available for around $99.95 USD and arrives in a nice, well-organized box. The kit is recommended for children 8+ and comes with 7 electronic building blocks. These components are referred to as “bits” and this specific kit has the following ones:
- bar graph
- Makey Makey
- sound trigger
The instructions provided by littleBits are fantastic. Very easy to read and understand. One thing we immediately noticed with this kit is a large number of projects available. Included along with the bits are a number of different components used to complete specific projects. For the “Rule Your Room” kit, projects like a moving collage, paper launcher, and burglar buzzer can be accomplished using additional components included.
Some projects do require parts that are not included in the kit. Screwdrivers, artwork, scissors and pencils are a few good examples and although they aren’t included, they aren’t hard to find.
littleBits are magnetically connected. They also only connect one way. This is a fantastic feature with littleBits and allows children to play around with the blocks until they have something that works. The quality of the bits is also very good. We tried many different combinations and had absolutely no problem connecting and using the bits. We also decided to take a closer look at each bit individually.
The Servo Bit
The Servo Bit is the only bit we had questions about. When using the Servo Bit, we noticed somewhat of a shaking action that we aren’t very familiar with (especially having used servos in the past). It was very rough to use and shook quite a bit. We are still unsure whether this was with our specific bit or whether this is simply how the bits are supposed to act. Either way, if there was a way to smoothen the action, it would definitely improve the use of the bit when completing different projects.
The Power Bit
The Power Bit is exactly what you think it is. It simply supplies power. It is very simple and we find it great that you can simply connect a battery to it to power all your creations. Durable and perfect for portability.
The Buzzer Bit
The buzzer is also a great bit that isn’t as loud as we expected. This can be a good and a bad thing. For one project/invention, you have the ability to make a small burglar alarm. For this specific project, the buzzer is somewhat quiet. For everything else, it works perfectly.
The Sound Trigger Bit
The sound trigger bit is another straight forward bit that has good sensitivity and simply pulses when sound is detected.
The Bar Graph Bit
This is a great bit that needs to be addressed. When testing the kit, the bar graph bit was used very often. It is very reliable and a great choice especially when displaying the possibilities of the bits. The bar graph bit teaches quite a lot when it comes to power and is extremely useful all around. Again, it is also very durable and we were able to test everything perfectly. To show how it works, we connected it to a dimmer to change the number of LEDs activated on the graph.
The Dimmer Bit
The dimmer bit is accurate, simple, and easy. It is used for many different projects and is extremely useful. It is another bit we found very cool to have included in the kit.
The Makey Makey Bit
The Makey Makey bit is probably the best bit in this kit. Using conductive objects, you can make triggers and create some very cool projects. The bit is capable of connecting to your computer, household items, and even food.
Overall, the littleBits “Rule Your Room” kit is a fantastic toy for children and offers many different learning opportunities that spark creativity among youth. It is a great gift idea and provides the basic understanding of circuits using special bits designed to work together and create amazing projects. Each bit is made extremely well and the design is perfect for kids. The bits have tabs to ensure they only fit in one direction and we would definitely recommend this product to parents looking to get something that will keep the little ones busy. We would recommend this product to young children over 8 years old, however, would not recommend this to teens who already have any basic knowledge of circuits. littleBits carries more advanced kits as well for children over 14 which we would recommend for those who would like to try something more challenging.
We will try to provide a review of an advanced kit (possibly the Smart Home Kit) at a later date.