Arduino is a great robotics and electronics introduction for kids 10 years and up. Arduino is a great platform to experience and create your own hardware without prior programming or electronics knowledge.
All Starter Arduino kits include the board and the components to create lots of projects. It’s amazing to teach kids basic circuits and programming.
For example, one of the first projects that can be made from an Arduino UNO board is to build a robotic arm. Then you can add functionality, combine modules and create new projects. Once you start with DIY projects, the robotics oriented maker options with Arduino are awesome.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Arduino?
- 2 Arduino Starter Kits
- 3 What can I do with an Arduino Starter Kit?
- 4 Which are the best Arduino kits?
- 5 Arduino UNO Starter Kits
- 6 Arduino counterfeits
What is Arduino?
An open-source electronic platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino is a physical programmable circuit board called microcontroller and a piece of software or IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that runs on your computer, used to write and upload computer code to the physical board.
Arduino boards are quite cheap, ideal for starting in the robotics world. There are lots of workshops, introductory after-school Arduino classes and schools that use Arduino. Also, it’s an amazing STEAM gift for home.
Arduino Starter Kits
At what age can I introduce Arduino starter projects to kids?
You can start pretty early. Kids between 8-10 years old should be under adult supervision. First, make sure your kids understand all the basics. Start with small projects. Repeat the basics and evolve step-by-step. So yes, Arduino is for kids!
For them to be more independent, the ideal age is 12 years and up. This will always depend on your kid interests and the type of Arduino starter kit you buy; board and components are quite similar but not the manuals (some are easier to understand than others).
What can I do with an Arduino Starter Kit?
It is a series of electronic components used to build small projects with. It is used to teach you how electronics work and to use electronic devices and build things from them.
Arduino board has a small computer controller that operates the devices you built by programming it to do certain functions.
An awesome thing with Arduino starter kits is that it’s not essential to have prior knowledge of electronics or programming to learn and play with them.
Usually Arduino starter kits include owner’s manuals and instructions with a step-by-step on how to mount each circuit with the included pieces.
Also, you can check YouTube and internet. There you will find lots of video tutorials, projects and information.
Which are the best Arduino kits?
There are lots of options, depends of your age, previous knowledge and interests. There are lots of Arduino Boards aimed for different uses:
- Arduino hobbyists
- Learn Arduino at home with kids
- Educational high school
- Engineering students
Arduino UNO R3 Board is one of the most popular Arduino boards. Inexpensive, easy to get hold of, simple to use, lots of tutorials and small projects. We recommend a kit with the board plus some other components.
An Arduino UNO kit is the one you should buy if you are a beginner who won’t be doing large projects or a mBot building robotics kit with a board compatible with Arduino.
Arduino Mega 2560
Arduino Mega 2560 is more advanced. Robotic kit Makeblock mBot Ranger is based in this board.
It’s the big brother of Arduino UNO, pretty much the same but with more possibilities and with lots of I/O options. There are also lots of projects and examples on the internet.
You should buy Arduino Mega 2560 if you are a beginner or more advanced user who think you might end up wanting to do bigger projects. Arduino Mega 2560 is perfect for advanced users: Arduino hobbyists, professional lab engineers or electronic college students.
Arduino Pro as the name says, it’s for professional and advanced projects. Here you have some Arduino Pro recommendations by Sparkfun like Arduino Pro 328 5V / 16MHz, Arduino Pro Mini 328 or Arduino Pro Mini 328 3,3V / 8MHz.
Arduino UNO Starter Kits
Total beginners usually start with an Arduino UNO. Then, after you learn more, you’ll be able to understand the differences between those Arduino boards, and choose which one is more appropriate for other projects.
Official Arduino Starter Kit
Official Arduino UNO Board is properly licensed to include the Arduino name and logo and it’s made by authorized manufacturers that pay a small royalty to Arduino to keep the project going. You can read more on FAQ arduino.cc Some of your options are:
- Buy the Arduino UNO R3 official board.
- Buy the official Arduino Starter Set.
- Buy the Official Arduino Starter Kit Deluxe Bundle with the book Make: Getting Started with Arduino.
Arduino UNO Clones
Since Arduino is open source, anyone can create an Arduino Board. Clones are exact replicas of Arduino boards (or almost exact since they don’t have the same quality standards) with a different branding. The most famous ones are Elegoo Starter Kits for Arduino. Some of your options are:
- The cheapest Beginner Starter Kit for Arduino! Buy the ELEGOO UNO Project Super Starter Kit with Tutorial for Arduino.
- Buy the Elegoo Arduino UNO Complete Starter Kit with Tutorial for Arduino (63 components).
- Buy an Elegoo UNO R3 Board for Arduino.
If you want more info about and ideas about, we have a guide with the best Arduino UNO Starter Kits.
There are also another group called counterfeits, these are boards that clone the official board including the Arduino branding (that is a Trademark infringement).
How to spot a Counterfeit Arduino? Read this article in the Arduino webpage.