Startup Markets DIY STEM Projects for Kids

A new startup is providing easy-to-make electronics kits designed to help children between the ages of 5 and 12 make things and, in the process, expand their STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) skills.

KitHub has launched a wide variety of kits that range from a "make your toys talk" project to an "underwater microphone" project. In the former, kids can record their own voices and sounds, create simple switches with common household items and make their toys come to life. The underwater microphone kit allows children to listen to the world underwater — be it the ocean, a lake or their own bathtub, recording their findings and sharing them with others.

Other kits have allowed children to build their own simple robots, light-up Valentine's Day cards and interactive games.

Brian Bettle and his 8-year-old son built a robot with a cup, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, LED lights and a small motor.

"The biggest thing my son is learning is how things work, and how to make stuff," Bettle said.

The kits are designed to take 30 to 60 minutes to build and come in categories according to age and skill levels.

KitHub is the brainchild of two Los Angeles-based partners: Tara Tiger Brown, founder of the nonprofit LA Makerspace, and Luz Rivas, founder of DIY Girls. They partner with toymakers and teachers to create new kits on a monthly basis.

By going to their Web site, teachers and parents can order the kits (which range from $12.95 to $49.95 but cluster in the $20-$25 range). KitHub offers discounts for teachers who use them in their classes along with appropriate curriculum materials. Teachers can also sign up for a subscription package and receive kits on a monthly basis.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.