Building your own robot at home is a great experience for kids. It is a fun, creative, entertaining and challenging STEM activity that offers quality time for the entire family.
Here’s how we did it
A few weeks ago we asked our daughter if she wanted to attend the Kids Robotics Course at her kindergarten. Although she was intrigued by the idea of building a robot, she refused. She said she preferred to play with me and daddy, instead of spending more time at the kindergarten (the course was after the program).
So, we came up with an idea: what if we make our own Robotics Course at home? We could choose what kind of robot to build (it has to be something suited for a 4 years old kid) and we could do it at our own pace.
After a bit of internet searching, we decided to create a Scribbling Robot, also called an Art Bot. It was appropriate for smaller kids and very easy to make with just a few common materials and supplies.
Bubu the Art Bot
- Small motor 1.5 -3 V (you can also remove one from an older or unused toy)
- 1 AA Battery
- a paper or plastic cup (we had a Minnie plastic cup left from our daughter’s birthday)
- 3 felt tip pens or markers
- a glue gun or play-doh (plasticine) or a few rubber bands
- scotch tape and/or double sided sticky tape
- a cork or an eraser
- an ice cream stick
How it’s made:
Take the cup and attach the 3 felt tip pens around it using scotch tape or a rubber band. Make sure they stay in place.
Glue the AA battery on top of the cup. Attach the small motor on top or near the battery. We attached them to the cup with some play-doh. Make sure the tip of the motor is facing upwards, so the arm can spin freely.
Stick one wire to the cathode (+) end of the AA battery and leave the other one as it is, for now. We attached the wire using a piece of double sided sticky tape.
Press the middle of the cork into the motor shaft. We didn’t have a cork at the moment, so we cut and used a piece of eraser. Glue one end of the ice cream stick on the side of the cork/eraser. We used double sided sticky tape for this.
Finally, attach a small piece of double sided sticky tape to the wire that will be placed on the anode (-) end of the battery.
Remove the pen heads and place the robot on a piece of paper. Stick the wire with the double sided sticky tape to the anode (-) end of the battery and… here it goes!
The Art Bot starts to draw!
Decorate your robot as you wish using various crafting materials such as googly eyes, stickers, pipe cleaners, glitter glue, beads etc.
You can also experiment with different designs, shapes and materials. You can attach a clothes-pin to the motor shaft, instead of the cork and ice cream stick, or try different lengths of ice cream sticks, from very long to short, to change the movement of your bot. Well, you get the idea…
We didn’t decorate our robot yet, but we’ll update the article when we’re done.
Meanwhile, you can tweet us some pics of your scribble robots at @HowWeRIE . We’d love to see what you’re working on and get inspired by your creations.