If you’ve had the opportunity to scout out many STEM-based subscription boxes online you will have noticed one glaring similarity. Most of these subscriptions are geared towards younger children. But what about STEM-focused activities for tweens and teens? The market until recently has been pretty abysmal. Which was why I was excited to be asked to review a subscriptions box from Creation Crate, a STEM-based service geared towards kids aged 12 and up!
What’s the service all about:
Creation Crate is geared towards bringing experiential learning to tech-education methods for students and educators alike, in a learning curriculum geared towards helping students learn the basics of engineering, robotics, and computer programing strategies.
Creation Crate includes monthly boxed crates that contain both the hardware of electronics and the programming for each specific project. Like with many other services, because of the programming required, you will also need a computer or laptop to download and use the Arduino software, the software that runs each programming grid. Projects are sent on a relatively simple start and as time goes on students will receive harder boxes as their subscriptions continue.
Each box included an instruction pamphlet to help guide you through the initial hardware setup, programming instruction, common errors suggestions, and exercises to utilize your finished programming project. You’re also given the URL to their online project support page, extra parts for your kit (something nonpresent in a lot of other kits), and diagrams and instructions for downloading the software for each kit.
The Creation Crate that we received was the Mood Lamp project-in-a-box. A fun choice for both my family and my husband’s middle school classes. As a family, we took turns assembling the kit and my husband programmed the kit for us.
It was my husband’s first time using the Arduino system but after two hours of trial and error, an hour of re-study of the setup diagrams, a quick rewiring of two cables, and we were back in business!
The finished lamp, with it’s with ever-changing red, blue, and green LEDs was fun to watch. It was neat to see the colors gradually and independently change brightness which gave us the perfect opportunity to discuss the process by which we used specific attachments to the circuit board to the battery caused this homespun light show to commence!
Though the kits say that no experience is required, we did not find this to be the case. My husband’s knowledge as a STEM, Robotics, ICT I & ICT II, and Project Lead the Way Educator, his previous knowledge for conceptualizing this build, is what eventually saved this project for us as a family. As well, the instruction pamphlet that comes with the box is pretty small, as are the diagrams, and in my opinion, neither delves deep enough into the detail needed to help beginners know how breadboards are designed using the Arduino system. Another nice touch would be telling users to program their kits before building.
It’s also worth noting that my initial shipper box did come somewhat stained and partially opened. Though this is not a reflection of the Creation crate service, packaging still plays into the initial impression of a service and it is worth noting in this review.
The Creation Crate subscription box is a wonderful gift or project for an older child or student wanting to learn more about electrical engineering and electronics. More sophisticated than something like Snap Circuits and Vex kits, learning with these kits will help lay a foundation for future study. If you have a budding Arduino or electronics master in your house, try Creation Crate to encourage your kids’ interests. If your kiddo is a beginner, come back to this service once they have a new other vex kits under their belt first!
With a cost ranging from $30.00 each month to teaching kits starting at $200.00 for numerous projects, there’s an affordable price point for everyone on your list! So be sure to check this service out as with Creation Crate projects, you’re putting together a real project – not theory, but an actual working lamp! And I think that’s pretty great!
Friends, I encourage you to check this service out for yourselves and to consider the gift of discovery for your budding engineer at home this holiday season! To find out more about this service, click here, and if you’re interested in our other home engineering projects to take a look at our education page here! Now I have to ask, do you have a favorite engineering or robotics kit at home? I’d love to hear about it below!
Connect with Creation Crate: