Blinkybugs are little creatures with blinking LED eyes. The eyes blink when the bug's long wire "antennae" bounce against the LED's leads. They were invented by Ken Murphy.
Earlier this week my 7-year-old daughter and I made a blinkybug from Murphy's new kit, Blinkybugs! Make Your Own Electronic Insects, published by Chronicle Books.
The kit contains enough materials to make three blinkybugs (out of watch batteries, pipe cleaners, a small copper tube, foil tape, music wire, and LEDs -- no soldering required) and it comes with a book that presents the instructions in comic book format.
I did most of the work on the first bug, but the next day, my daughter asked if she could build one by herself. She gathered the required tools (scissors, needle-nose pliers, a marker, tape, and a rule) and set up shop on the kitchen floor. She called me in once -- to bend the little copper tube -- but other than that, she was able to build it on her own by reading the simple and clear instructions.
Because she made them, she seems to like them a lot more than she would if someone had given them to her pre-made. The bugs sit in her lap when she watches TV, and she puts them on the desk so they can watch her play on the computer.
This is a great kit for any kid.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.