This week I received a special delivery from KitHub with the "make your toys talk kit" that they designed with Eric Rosenbaum. In the Tinkering Studio, we're interested in dissecting toys and creating twisted remixes, so having tools available to quickly add sound effects seemed like a fun thing to mess around with. We also think about ways to share our activities with physical kits and its fun to see others that do it well.
The package came with colorful tissue paper and nice bright instructions showing pictures of people working on the project. I like how there are instructions for a basic started activity to get you going, but other prompts that don't have step-by-step directions.
The kit came with an index card with a circuit board, mic, speakers, and cables attached to buttons or alligator clips. There also was a stuffed fox, some conductive materials to use with the electronics. It was pretty straightforward to set up the first project and make one button record a sound and the other play it. It was nice to have familiar materials (foil, paperclips, and safety pins) to complete the circuit.
After getting the toy working as shown in the instructions, I cut open the stuffed animal and inserted all the components into the skin. I made one paw be the record button and another be the playback. I could imagine some really funny mash-ups using the singing and dancing toys that we usually work with.
One thing that I like about this set is that it encourages you to find parts from your collection to add to the kit. We have a bunch of salvaged switches in the learning studio that I tested out to use for different purposes.
This first thing that I thought about was adding sound effects to our marble machines board. I attached a small dixie cup to the end of the switch and connected it to one of our blocks near the end of the run.
It's a little hard to hear at the end of the video, but as the marble hits the switch, my machine says "gooooooal" in celebration! I like how the kit works a a starter set that can be modified for different unintended uses. It will be exciting to think about other ways to incorporate new technologies into our work and continue to push the boundarys of tinkering activities.