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Two or three of my six grand kids have the potential to be DefCon Kids now what ? Answered

So I have access to six young minds by helping my wife and retired teacher to sit with them 4 days a week.
Four I drive to school while the parents (my children) earn a living. 
Two are easily motivated and do well with Legos.  One likes robots, they all do math window games.
I teach chess and play when thy want ( no Queen or rooks for me )

Programming is my artistic expression but I would push too hard and blow them away.

What low level intros can be a leap into DefCon Kid status that you know worked well in your experiences ?


Oh, and you have a little time, you may get inspired by a short, easy to read, and very inspiring book called The Spark

I'm being pointed to scratch, spark and snap
A whole bunch of Ss :-)

The Spark is about an autistic boy that was yanked from "the system" because they weren't helping him. By age 13 he had learned so much, he developed his own theoretical construct of the universe. All he needed was for his mom to "see where the child was strongest, and go for it". When very young, the child arranged all his crayons in a goemetrical pattern, with the colors in their proper order oin the electromagnetic spectrum.
I ended up reading it (because of not having much time) in just two days. . .

Sorry, no disrespect intended.
Thought it was about programming.

Stories of how children overcome obstacles arrayed in their path
always leave their emotional courage affect with me long after the reading.

Everything's not always about autism Goodhart. In this case SPARK = Simple Programming, Animation & Robotics for Kids.

I understand Jayefuu, however, I did say The Spark

And, IMHO, the book is a GREAT one for anyone leading ANY child (autistic or not, as the mother ALSO ran a successful day care that inspired all the kids) or trying to inspire them.

I would add a few more wheels to that ladder and make a huge articulated firetruck luge to send all the kids downhill on.

Modeling arts with your hands. I did model rocketry, railroading, airplanes, soapbox cars, pinewood derby. Start out with paperplate and cardboard spaceships, give them a video camera to make their own movies with special effects, give them a regular digital camera to take pictures and modify them on the computer, Let them play with air-hardening clay, build an adobe fort, planting a garden is nice, do some basic carpentry stuff like make bookends or a coathanger, personal mirror, do T-shirt mods and printing, build a slackline or an obstacle course, kids need to run around and you want them tired out, look up teambuilding exercises and competitions for things to do....everything else except watch TV or let them be babysat with an ipod or ipad or video game console. Good luck.

Thanks for the charm !

I never did the video idea .... we will have to try that.

Between my wife and I we do all the others excepting dangerous power tools.

Their mothers my daughters could solder in fourth grade but I have no experience
guiding boys and my wife hates programming ( a result of continuing education
for Nevada teachers fiasco ).

May be we can turn them on to Instructables.


indymogul on ibles has a whole bunch of DIY videos that are fun to watch and do. And you can really do all the stuff with a webcam and basic software like windows movie maker or imovie already on the PC/mac. My daughter's 2nd grade class did a whole thing on making a news program https://www.instructables.com/id/TV-set-cutout/. Everyone had a job from writing stories, reporting on air and the production crew during the videotaping.  Build one of those clappers - slate board with the pivoting stick to make the sound.  Nothing like putting on a show to stoke the imagination and to watch it when done. 

and Lego stop motion animation is popular. or do puppetry and object stop motion object animation.

Find what MOST interests them. Build on that and make it relative to other things. (legos can be use to teach building and structure sure, but they also can be used to teach math, volume measurements, etc. Go with their strengths first.

Of course ... but you know, a child's strengths can change in a fortnight ;-)

Yes, they can. And will, but the idea is to try to keep up with them :-D

1] try starting with something like mechano, or technic legos, to teach them combining static things into some cool folding bbq or whatnot.

2] next up give them all an android starter kit, after letting them play on their own for a bit, set challanges, like they have to make some light following robot, obviously while beeing able to ask you for help, then after x days you all decide wich one workes best/coolest/funnest and that kid gets a price, then repeat that till they know their electronics.

3] Once your at that point, idk, time for some more advanced robotics? teach them to build you a pr2! :P

We play with Robots ( a word invented by a non-existent countryman of mine )
and my preference would be a Furby

So now what of the three or four of your six grand kids that do not have the potential to be DefCon Kids? SOL, another S?

I'm learning the definition of  DefCon Kids  is much broader

there is Science, Selenology,  Serendipity, Serology and perish the thought  scientology.

As long as you don't run into senility...


4 years ago

If the two are good with legos, and want to develop their building creativity, get them each their own Minecraft account! There's lots of educational value in that game. Check this site out: http://minecraftedu.com/page/

I was sure that I responded to you before ?

Anyway good suggestion.

We started two of the boys on minecraft earlier this year.
They are busy creating their worlds and we have to limit them to
spend some summer time outside.


And your the second to point me to it :-)

Steve would be a good person to chat to, his kids are a little older than your grandkids (?) and have become interested in programming in the last couple of years.

Right .... and you know them personally
Ill PM him and thanks.