A few years ago, I thought I would help out the parents of my gifted and talented students by writing about some games, toys, or books that I thought might make good purchases during the holiday season. I called the series of posts, “Gifts for the Gifted,” and I have continued to do it annually on every Friday in November and December. These gifts are suggestions for any child – not just those who qualify for a GT program. Sometimes I receive a free product for review, but I am not paid for these posts, and I never recommend a product that I wouldn’t buy for my own child. For past “Gifts for the Gifted” posts, you can visit this page.
This year, I have decided to do my annual “Gifts for the Gifted” posts all in one week. This should give anyone who likes to shop ahead of time a good start! For this year’s suggestions so far, click here.
The Make Code site allows users to simulate what will happen on the physical Circuit Playground Express. Once satisfied, creators can download the program to the Circuit Playground, and remove it. The Base Kit is a good buy, as it includes a battery pack with batteries, USB cord, and a container. This makes the Circuit Playground Express a portable electronic device that doesn’t need soldering, breadboarding, or any kind of advanced electrical knowledge.
With lights, music, and multiple inputs, the Circuit Playground Express would be the next step up the ladder from the Makey Makey. Suggested “makeable” products are listed on the Adafruit product pages for the Express, as well as on the Make Code website. Because of it’s size and portability, the Circuit Playground Express also makes it a fun choice for wearable inventions.
UPDATE 12/3/18: Rob Merrill has published an e-book course for Circuit Playground Express with great ideas here.
(It should be noted that several other beginner products can be programmed on Make Code – most notably the Microbit, which is used extensively in the UK. I have not used it, so I can’t review it, but it has extensive coverage online with multiple projects and tutorials.)