As a parent of three young boys, I have learned the hard way that LEGO’s can be a parent’s worst nightmare. I spend hours picking up LEGO’s and sound like the proverbial TV dad yelling at his kids to pick up their LEGO’s. I have also seen the important lessons that LEGO’s can teach kids.
I have watched all of my boys build unique and imaginative creations for hours and then I watch them cry in horror as their poorly engineered structure comes tumbling down. Then I watch them rebuild it again, maybe a little better next time and so on. All three of them now build very creative LEGO structures and creatures.
Enter LEGO Robotics – LEGO Mindstorms EV3
We took my oldest son, who was in kindergarten to his school’s science fair, we walked around and looked at all of the cool things the kids had built. On the way out, there was a table set up by the schools LEGO robotics club. We stopped and he watched all of the robots absolutely mesmerized with what he saw.
He started asking the kids in the club questions and I could see his excitement growing. From that day forward, he asked for LEGO Robotics for every gift giving holiday. I started looking into them and realized that they were recommended for kids aged 10 and up. Since he was 5, I didn’t want to buy them for him and him be more upset that he couldn’t use them properly. Instead, we got him a LEGO Robotics book to give him something to look at and see if his interest held.
LEGO Technic-A Good Trial
We started buying him some LEGO Technic sets since the LEGO Mindstorms is built using Technic pieces. I thought it would be a good (and much cheaper) trial of his ability to use these pieces. These pieces can also be used in the future to build his own LEGO Mindstorms creation.
He quickly mastered the LEGO Technic sets and started coming up with his own interesting creations. I knew it was time that he moved on to the real deal.
LEGO Mindstorms EV3– Investment In The Future
LEGO Mindstorms EV3 is not cheap, it is actually quite expensive. I was looking at it as an investment in his future. With the world becoming more technologically immersed, his generation will need a good solid foundation to excel.
My wife and I made the decision that we would recommend that he ask Santa for the LEGO Mindstorms set and see if he got it for him. At this point we were locked in, he would be getting a several hundred dollar LEGO set with several hundred tiny little pieces!
The excitement on his face when he opened it was priceless. He of course wanted to get started right away building something.
The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 set is beautifully designed and set up for success. It comes with printed instructions for one robot and then you can go online to the LEGO site to download building instructions for many more.
Within an hour he had his first robot built, the TRACK3R. He did it mostly by himself with very little help needed. Most of the help he needed was to just get one of the pieces pushed together.
I downloaded the LEGO Mindstorms software, we plugged in his robot and uploaded the program to it. It worked flawlessly, he was so proud as he drove it around the house.
He has now built all five of the LEGO robot plans that came with the set. There are many other designs out there from third parties he can build and then start using his own creative juices and build his own robotic creations!
I’m excited to see where this goes from here and will make sure to add updates as necessary.