Help Your Child Build Their Own Robot These Winter Holidays

What could be more fun for a child than building their own robot? Robotics is not only an exciting field, it’s also very educational. 

Building a robot teaches kids about electronics and helps them develop creative and critical thinking skills. It’s a perfect way to help kids get inspired about STEM.

There are many robot kits you can buy which come with detailed instructions. The great news is you can also make one at home with a few low cost purchases and some everyday household items. 

Steps to Building a Robot

To successfully build a robot, it’s important to plan it out. Kids should be involved in every step of the process.  

Research your options: Do some online searches and consider the costs, time and materials involved for different robots. Youtube is a great source of ideas and detailed how-to videos.

Select a project: Try to select a project that allows your child to do most of the work. Take into account their age and abilities. The project should not be too difficult or time-consuming for a first attempt. Discuss your options and weigh up the pros and cons of each choice together. 

Create a procedure: Both simple and complex robots will have instructions, but you can tweak these instructions for your own needs. You might want to break the steps down into individual roles, particularly if you have more than one child.  

Collect required materials:  You’re now ready to collect the materials to build your robot. If you’re making one from everyday household items, send your child on a scavenger hunt. Items you might need include cardboard, electrical tape, buttons, toy wheels and googly eyes. 

Organise your workspace: Before you get started, ask your child to organise your workspace. This teaches them about the importance of having a clear and ordered area to work in. Get them to lay materials out in sequential order based on the instructions. 

Take a step back: Building a robot is challenging. It’s very tempting to jump in when you see your child struggling. Instead, take a step back and give them time to figure it out for themselves. Ask questions to lead them to the answers, rather than simply telling them what to do.

Fun Project Ideas

Here are a couple of fun and easy projects to get you started. 

The Bristlebot

This is one of the easiest robots to make. All you need is:

*a toothbrush

*a small motor

*a coin cell battery

*double-sided tape

*a pair of googly eyes 

*pipe cleaners

To make the Bristlebot, cut off the head of the toothbrush. Stick the motor and the battery to the tape and add the eyes and pipe cleaners for the feet. This little bot will delight kids as it scuttles across any surface. You can find the full instructions here.

Mini Bug Robot

For this ingenious mini robot, you’ll need:

*a clothes peg

*a small motor

*a battery 

*a pair of LED lights

*paper clips

To make this robot, secure the motor between the peg’s teeth. Add the LED lights for eyes and straighten three paper clips to use as legs. Bend these and glue them to the bottom of the peg, and then glue the motor wires to the battery and affix this between the peg’s teeth at the back. You can find full instructions here.

Building a robot is an awesome holiday project for kids!

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