Reviewed by Debbie Talbot
Education is very important for children, but how do you get the information across from a variety of subjects in a fun and educational way? For us at home, toys and playsets work very well and can help supplement what they learn at school in a fun way and in the comfortable surrounding of their own home. STEM toys have become increasing popular and can be great fun, and we just love playing with them and trying out new ones.
I can remember having electronic circuit sets as a child and spending hours and hours building various circuits, which involved lots of stripping of wires and fixing to springs etc. I was therefore very excited to be offered the Tech Will Save Us Electro Dough Fantasy Kit to review, which has made creating simple circuits very easy. This set is suitable for children age 4 and upwards.
The Tech Will Save Us Electro Dough Sets are a great introduction into creating basic circuits using conductive dough (this is different from regular playdough), learning about conductivity and insulators, and creating their own characters. It also encourages children to create their own stories which help get their imagination work and talking about their own feelings as well as their creations – i.e. if their dough monster eyes light up red, is it happy or angry? What colour would the eyes need to light up to be happy?
The kit arrived quickly in perfect condition and contains:
- 1x Battery pack (batteries included)
- 2x Connectors
- 4x Pots Electro Dough
- 8x Lights
- 4x Pop-Sheets
I was interested to read on the Tech Will Save Us website that the company design their kits in line with the KS1 and KS2 curriculum, so are perfect my children and will supplement what they are currently learning at school. I love the fact that they even provide online tutorials to give you ideas about activities you can do with the kit too so that you can join in and help the kids (who knows, you may even learn something yourself!).
I knew my 7-year-old twins would be delighted and excited to see this kit. It encompasses two of their favourite things, playdough and science. First of all you need to unpack the contents. Then you need to remove the various pop out templates from the pop sheets.
We decided to freestyle things. First of all, we made a rabbit using some cute eyes and long pink ears from one of the pop sheets. We then made a second ball of dough and used the instruction sheet provided to build a basic circuit. I am not sure who was more excited when the red light lit up, myself or my sons. One of my twins confidently went about making more dough objects to make a circuit from – a round snowman, a flat man figure, a bowl etc. The other tends to need more encouragement. He was proudly building circuits and making the light switch on and off, which gave him the confidence to continue and build more. We had a fantastic conversation about why if the two dough objects touch the light goes out – i.e. due to a short circuit. They listened intently while I explained how the current travelled from the battery, down the wires, through the conductive dough and to the light. I talked fondly about making circuits as a child. One of my twins enjoyed mixing the dough together to make multi-colour objects.
Whilst we have stayed basic until now, I love the fact that there are a multitude of video tutorials on within the Club Make section of their website, which we can try out. The lovely thing is that people who have made items can post online showing what they have made. Our plan is to try out making polar bears next, this tutorial seems easy to follow and it even tells you the difficulty level. My boys will love making a mummy or daddy bear and baby bear. I think that this is lovely as it can teach them about nurture too.
I think that the tutorials are clear enough for both parents and children to follow. My twins would be able to follow it with no problems at all.
We have not used the dough now for a few days, but on going back to it, it is still in as great condition as when we last got it out of the pots.
We had hours and hours of fun playing with this kit. I can struggle to engage my sons with activities, but this did not happen with the kit. A testament to a good activity is when children get up the next morning and ask to have the product straight away before they have even had breakfast. I think that the dough-based activity is perfect too for helping develop motor skills, creative thinking, giving that basic introduction into circuits and how things work. The quality of this product is fantastic and the template pieces can be reused over and over again.
One of the easiest 5/5 scores I have ever given.
For more information or to buy visit www.techwillsaveus.com.