electronics

Very basic electronics kits for 2 year olds!?

My 2 year old daughter appears to enjoy the very basic geeky things that she's gotten her hands on so far.  Things like plugging headphones into the iPad to listen to music; building things with large Lego blocks; turning torches on and off; playing with little remote-controlled-cars etc etc.

I'd like to see how she gets on with some sort of basic "electronics kit" which allows her to experiment a little while teaching her some very basic principals (like circuits require both a power source and a load).

All existing electronics kits I've seen would be way to advanced for her.  For example, she's years away from being able to understand what "completing a circuit" means (i.e. any kits which require you to connect both a negative and positive cable from power source to actuator would be way to abstract for her).

I'm thinking of making her a very, very basic "electronics kit".  Each component would be in its own little tinted, semi-transparent box. 

There would be several "sources" of electrical power (small battery pack, PV cells, little hand-cranked dynamo etc).  Each source module would have a single large DC socket to send power to another module. Each source would produce about 3 volts and would have short-circuit protection.

There would be several "actuator" modules like a lamp, motor, door bell, volt meter, radio etc.  These modules would each have a single small DC socket.

Cables would have a large DC socket on one end and a small DC socket on the other.  The use of large DC sockets on the power source modules and small DC sockets on the actuator modules should make it mechanically impossible to create a "wrong" circuit (like connecting a battery pack to a PV cell).

And maybe some basic "control" modules like a switch, light-operated switch, oscillator etc.  Each control module would have both a small DC socket (power input) and a large DC socket (power output to actuator).

Each class of module (actuator, controller, power source) would have its own colour.

Does anyone know if a similar kit exist for purchase?

If not, I'll make the kit for my daughter, unless anyone has good evidence that such a project would still be way to advanced for a 2 year old.  Of course, I'll start with the real basics like just a battery module, switch, light and two cables to see how she gets on with it.

If the kit is a success then we could extend it by adding "control" / "audio" cables (maybe 3.5mm jack sockets) so we could make a simple telephone, radio, synthesiser etc etc. (Yes, you've guessed it: this entire project is just an excuse for me to finally get round to building the modular analogue synth I've wanted to build since I was a kid!).

(I also posted this on the Instructables forum)

(BTW, sorry I haven't posted much about my PhD work for a while. Been busily wrapping up my data collection work and writing a paper).

Fixing a waterlogged iPhone 3GS

About a week ago, my wife's iPhone 3GS found its way into the washing machine and spent a good 15 minutes being washed before it was rescued.  We eventually got it to work this morning.  I'll quickly describe what we tried; what worked and what didn't work.

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