LittleBits are fantastic, but I’ve never been able to recommend them for kids. Most of the company’s kits are just not intuitive for novices, nor do they contain everything needed to make gadgets that will keep kids interested. Well, the NYC-based gadget just released a kit that addresses this issue and it should be perfect for budding makers.
At least 12 gadgets can be made from the Gadgets and Gizmo Kit including bubble machines, pinball games and an RC car (video below). There’s even instructions to build a spy box that holds a secret compartment secured with wireless littleBits and a servo that opens the hidden door — and every kid loves spy gear.
The product comes with a LEGO-style board that can hold the littleBits modules. The rest of the gadget is built around this part. The kit comes with 15 different electronic parts and a bunch of extra parts like wheels and stickers that can be combined in different ways to build different gadgets. Several of the projects involve adding LEGO bricks and the kit packs the adapters to make the littleBit modules compatible. Unlike past littleBits kits, the Gadgets and Gizmo Kit contains everything needed to make the projects including the required 9 volt batteries. This is key.
LittleBits was founded in 2011. The product today looks and acts the same as it did then. LittleBits allows most anyone to build a little electronic doodad or gizmo thanks to electronic parts that snap together with magnets. It’s the perfect STEM product, but until this kit, the company’s products skewed towards those with a bit of established knowledge or required the builder to turn to the company’s vast online resource for guides to build gadgets. The Gadget and Gizmo kit is self-contained product with great instructions and all the accessories needed to build the fun projects. This kit isn’t just for smart kids. This kit is for every kid (and adult).
LittleBits just netted $44.2 million in Series B funding led by DFJ Growth, with managing director Barry Schuler joining the board. LittleBits has big plans for it, too, suggests Ayah Bdeir, the company founder and CEO, who says the capital will be used to support a number of new growth areas for the company including making a push into Salesforce, SAP and Twilio for internal development. The company is reportedly looking to start a subscription service for large customers that will give them access to different parts on a monthly basis.
Yet littleBits is not turning away from consumers. The company also just struck a deal with Barnes & Noble which will sell its kits later this year. No doubt this new kit will play a big role in its holiday sales drive when the kit is released on October 8th. It’s the first littleBits kit I can recommend for kids under 10 — if the parent can stomach the $199 price.