Easy beginner soldering project

Hi, I’m looking for an easy soldering project for my daughter (13). Her first experience with soldering is when I convinced her to sit down at the learn to solder table. Tonight she looked at my soldering iron and said “I want to solder something”. The problem is, I’m also new to electronics so I really don’t have anything for her to practice on. So we are looking for something for her to make. Any ideas?

This is the kit I gave my son when he was 8 or so. It’s also what got me interested in microcontrollers again.

http://www.adafruit.com/products/20 – mini POV toy

One problem with this kit is you need to have a serial port handy to program the message into the chip.

Based on the same board:
http://www.adafruit.com/products/287 – Brain machine.

I can’t personally vouch for any of these, but vellman kits are classic.:

I’ll check those out. Also, where (besides the shack) can I buy components and kits locally?

I wish I knew, (maybe other hive members have suggestions).

But when ordering components from mouser.com or digikey.com hive members sometimes pool their orders to save shipping costs. And I have a few things I need to get from adafruit if you are thinking about ordering anything from her.

Oddly enough, MicroCenter up on the north side has some kits and parts - albeit at a premium but definitely “instant gratification”.


You can try Microcenter, but their selection is limited.

I'm sure I'll be ordering online soon enough, I just wanted to find something local while she's still interested. You know, strike while the iron is hot. never thought of microcenter

Debco by rookwood on Edwards also has a decent amount of kits.

Not to disparage making something your first go, but when my dad taught me to solder, my first “projects” were just soldered pieces that looked interesting. I put them on boards I had drawn on and etched myself (cool designs, my name, etc.) I eventually started making working things, but when you’re just making something that looks cool, you get a lot more comfortable with safety, the iron, and the process. Oh yeah, and I then got to practice de-soldering the parts as well.

I forgot about microcenter. I was shocked at how many kits they had the last time I was there.

Debco Electronics (not a very good site), like Dave B mentioned, is great for components. Though they have terrible business hours for the average 8-5 person like myself. I think they’re open something like 10a-4p on weekdays only, no weekend hours.

As stated above, MicroCenter has a huge selection of kits from some popular companies in the hobby electronics world like Adafruit, Sparkfun, and Evil Mad Scientist. The electronics section is on the far left wall (as you enter the store) about half way to the back wall, in the video games department.

As far as simple starter kits, check out the SpikenzieLabs kits at MicroCenter. Their music game, drum kit, dice kit, and soldertime watch kit are all $30 or less. The MintyBoost kit from Make (actually Adafruit) is great, since it’s simple to build and can recharge your 5V USB electronics with 2 AA batteries. The Larson Scanner Kit from Evil Mad Scientist is awesome, I made a Cylon pumpkin last year with it. Sparkfun’s Simon Says kit looks pretty simple, and you get to play with it too.

Good luck!

Ian M

She decided on a MintyBoost by Adafruit. We stopped by the hive Saturday so she could make it. At first she was a bit uncomfortable walking into an unfamiliar space to do something she wasn’t completely familiar with. But once I opened the tutorial on my laptop, and she successfully soldered the first couple components in place, she gained confidence then there was no stopping her. For a brief moment when verifying output voltage, she was disappointed, until I pointed out that she had one of the batteries in backwards. Once everything was together we plugged her phone in and waited for the charge indicator. Seeing her excitement when the battery bar started moving was priceless. On the way home she said " Now I want to spend the night at someones house so I can show it off." :smiley:

Awesome. I hope one day mine will react the same. :slight_smile:

Awesome, Jon! The mintyboost is great, I use mine quite a bit on vacations and camping.

Great! Next year she can help teach at the “learn to solder” table. :slight_smile: