Reviewed by Ryan Traynor, Editor-in-Chief
Produced by Tactiles
Recommended for ages 4+
I am always looking for fun and creative ways for kids to experiment with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) toys so they can learn while they are having fun. Recently I stumbled upon an educational new product called iQube that introduces kids to electronics in a fun way. Since I had completed a project with my dad in grade school where we build different circuits to demonstrate, I was curious how a toy company would come out with a product that is simple enough for kids to understand while still being safe.
One concern I had when the product arrived was that it did not come with instructions. This product is not fully released yet so this may be fixed when finally sold at stores. But don’t fret. Just by experimenting with various designs you can quickly see how the cubes fit together, causing different circuitry to work. I had a great time just redesigning different connections which allow you to put in lights, fans, switches, and more. The different blocks are labeled with standard electrical signals so you know what each piece does, but again, it would be nice to have a chart telling you what they do. Perhaps this will be available in the final shipping box. After 10 minutes checking each piece out you can easily identify what they mean, but for younger children or those that have never worked with circuits, you may have to do some research or experimentation to use it properly. There is an online app will walk you through what you will need based upon which designs you want to make.
The cubes are well put together and will be sturdy enough for children of all ages to handle easily with small or large hands. They meet safety standards, with small parts secured and access to electronic pieces solidly blocked by sturdy plastic corner guards. The electronic symbols are etched at the top of the blocks with the actual components themselves. This allows kids to immediately relate one to the other and build circuits intuitively. The blocks are also color coded depending on function for easy identification. They snap together magnetically, allowing the kids to experiment, be curious and most importantly, take risks — safely. The app comes with tons of projects, and it is designed to progress in difficulty and complexity. The projects are divided into two kinds: Concept projects that teach the user an electronic concept or theory, and Application projects that show them how those concepts are used in real life objects. The iQube is used with a mobile app.
I think the iQube will be interesting for all budding electricians or anyone that likes to build or put things together. It adds a new dimension to building, as you can see how electrical wiring can expand the things your devices can do by creating circuits. This fun, creative and educational toy will get kids interested in careers in electronics and give them hours of play time. I also liked the fact that it focused entirely on circuitry, rather than adding other complex additions that you will find in robotics kits that may overwhelm a child’s introduction to the concept. This product is a good first step to let them understand the basics and then move on later to more complex products.
The product is being introduced through an IndieGoGo campaign launch and is not yet available in stores. Here is a video about their product and fundraising campaign.