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Stuck at home with your kids with nothing to do? If so, these seven challenging but awesome DIY projects are a fun way to keep your kids occupied and are a great way to bond with them. They're also a sure way to spark your kids' creativity and introduce them to the cool world of robotics.
1. Arduino Train for Kids
A train set doesn't just offer kids entertainment; it also encourages creative play and even helps improve hand and eye coordination. A DIY Arduino train project with your child offers you a chance to bond, gets them thinking, and puts their extra energy to work.
Program the microcontroller and create the layout by installing a power feeder on the mainline and siding track. Isolate the two tracks electrically using insulated joiners at the siding track's branching location. Next, install the driver shield on the board and be careful not to bend the pins. Connect the track's power wires and the turnouts to the motor shield. Mount the expansion shield on it too.
Now connect the three sensored tracks on your layout to the expansion shield, place your train on the siding, connect the Arduino power connector to the 12V power source, turn it on, and watch it choo choo away as your child jumps up and down in excitement. You can even add more turnouts and more trains to make it more fun for you and your little one.
Related: What Is Arduino?
2. Crawling Arduino Robot
Introduce your kid to the world of walking robots and how they function by making a crawling Arduino robot. Once complete, you can control it from your smartphone or tablet using an Android Bluetooth app.
You'll start by attaching the servos to your 3D printed critter legs and secure with mounting screws. Attach the legs to the base ensuring the knee's servo frame is inward to denote right and left robotic legs.
Using mounting screws, mount the meped board on the base. Install the ultrasonic sensor into the shell, attach the 6V 4-battery pack, and leave the power cable extending out on the lower-left corner.
Find the latest version of the Arduino crawling robot sketch file, and upload it to your board. Add the batteries, and power your robot. Download the little bot app from the Google play store, calibrate the critter to behave how you want on command, and enjoy hours of robotic entertainment with your child.
If your kid(s) love this project, they will definitely love to try out other exciting Arduino projects.
3. Homemade Wobblebot
Although a wobblebot lacks the decision-making abilities of a functional robot, it can wiggle, dance and is, most notably, a fun DIY project to do with your mini-me. It takes roughly twenty minutes to make and is super cheap.
Cut out any shape you want for your wobblebot's body and head from the cardboard (ask your kids for suggestions). Ensure it has enough room for the motor and battery holder. Hot glue the five cork legs to the wobblebot's underside and the googly eyes to its head.
Glue the battery holder to the wobblebot's body. Be generous with the glue, as all the wobbling it'll do later might cause some parts to fly off. Solder your battery holder's wires to the base of your motor, place the batteries, and your wobblebot will be ready.
This is a simple homemade wobblebot, meaning you have to remove the batteries to turn it on and off. If you want, you can add a pre-made switch for effortless functionality.
4. DIY LCD Game
Take a trip down memory lane and introduce your child to the fascinating world of LCD games by taking on this DIY project with them.
Connect a long hookup wire to connect the Arduino's 5V and GND signals on the red and black rows of the breadboards, respectively. Now plug the 16-pin male header on your LCDs module into the breadboard. Be careful with this step, as this is where all the electric signals that'll control your LCD game panel pass.
Connect GND and LED to the black row on your breadboard using short hookup wires, and then connect the VCC pin to the red row. Bend the red and brown colored leads of the resistor and connect them between the LED's positive end and the red row on the breadboard. Bring in longer hookup wires and make the remaining connections to the Arduino.
Mount the pushbutton near the left edge of your LCD screen, so its top two pins connect to the black row on the breadboard and the other pin to pin two on the Arduino. With the hardware part complete, program the Arduino and test it out.
If you successfully complete this project, you can introduce your child to other a bit advanced but exciting DIY projects that are child friendly.
5. Backpack Alarm
Tired of having your kid's belongings stolen out of their bag? If yes, this DIY backpack project will solve the problem and be a great way to stimulate their creativity.
Solder the HC-SR04, the buzzer, female connectors, DIP socket, and coin-cell holder to the perf board. Hot glue all five switches together and ensure they are strongly bonded. Wire the switch by connecting the GND wire to either upper or lower terminals, casually alternating to create a pattern, and then connect another wire to center terminals.
Connect both wires to a 2.54mm male connector and then hot glue to secure all loose wires. Now solder the HC-SR04, LED, security switch, buzzer, and power source to the Arduino microcontroller. Finally, upload the code, and test the newly made backpack alarm for your child.
6. Arduino Line Following Robot
As the name implies, a line following robot can detect and accurately follow a predefined line on the ground. It makes a great, classic car-like toy for your kids and is surprisingly easy to make.
Start by attaching the motor shield to the Arduino, and then fix the resulting piece alongside the battery holder onto the chassis.
Next, install IR proximity sensors at the front at either corners and ensure they're facing down. The left proximity sensor should connect to the Arduino: VCC to 5v, Gnd to Gnd and Out to A4 while the right connects the same way except the out wire connects to A5 instead of A4.
Mount the switch, connect the motor to the shield and plug the shield onto the Arduino. Connect the battery holder to the motor shield using a switch, upload the Arduino code, and the line-following robot will be ready for use.
7. Programmable Robotic Arm
A robotic arm can grip, spin, and even weld and is one of the coolest DIY projects to spark your kids' creativity. For this project, the Arduino microcontroller controls servo motors serve as joints for the programmable robotic arm.
Glue a servo motor in the middle of your hard cardboard (you can use any other flat, stable surface) and ensure it has a 1800degree area of rotation. Place a small cardboard piece on the first servo, and glue the second servo on it. Similarly, ensure it has enough space for rotation.
Cut a small cardboard piece (3cmx11cm), create a rectangular hole on one end, and fit the third servo motor in it. Cut a similar cardboard piece, and follow the same process to mount the fourth servo. Attach the setup to the base and move on to making a hook for the robotic arm.
Cut two pieces of cardboard measuring 1cmx7cmx4cmx5cm and glue them together. Mount the resulting piece to the base, and connect the circuit to the breadboard. Run the code, and you'll have a fully functional programmable robotic arm made from easily accessible items.
Have a Blast
An afternoon with your kids doesn't have to turn into chaos. It can be fun and productive for you and them if you try out any of the seven challenging but awesome DIY projects above. Most of them require easily accessible items, and while they do feature some programming, it's something you can handle with basic computer knowledge. Have fun trying them out.
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About The Author
(4 Articles Published)
Alan Blake is a passionate and proficient writer who loves exploring, learning, and sharing his findings in an engaging approach. He not only likes to keep up with SEO trends but also technology advancements. He currently works as a writer at MakeUseOf where he covers tech DIY among other niches.
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