If you're a child of the 20th century, you grew up playing with blocks, dolls, action figures or some assortment of those traditional toys. But for a kid of the 2020s, they'll be able to say, "When I was a kid, I built my own phone." It's a wonderful time to be alive, right?
As impossible as it might seem to believe, you can now actually buy your kid a kit to build their very own working mobile phone. With the CircuitMess Ringo DIY Mobile Phone Kit and Tools, you'll literally have everything your kid needs to dive in and put together all the components to construct a mobile phone that supports calls and texts, plays games, shows the date and time and works with virtually any mobile network anywhere in the world.
It's a project that raised over $300,000 on Kickstarter, probably because no one believed it was actually this doable. But give a kid around age 11 or older some basic electronics tools and the detailed build guide and tutorial along with this collection of pieces and in about five hours, they'll have their own working phone.
The phone features a full-color LCD display screen that'll play games, access apps and make calls or texts just like any smartphone.
But the project doesn't end when the phone is assembled. Using Scratch, Python or Arduino code editing platforms, users can actually create their own games and apps, then share them via the included SD card. The games can be played using the phone's own built-in gaming joystick, not to mention its own internal WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities.
The battery charges through an included micro-USB B cable and will last for up to three days on a single charge.
If you've got a tech-savvy kid who's intrigued by how everything works, there's no more enticing way to feed that creativity than with this ideal on-ramp into a STEM-heavy education. Heck, even if you don't have kids, it's a lot of fun to just cobble one together yourself.
While it may not be able to do everything your iPhone or Galaxy can do, it's also a bunch cheaper, only $179.95 after the current $15 price cut. It's also available in four colors: black, green, red or blue.