AdaFruit has a plan to get even the youngest of children into building electronics. Meet Cappy the capacitor, Hans the 555 timer, and so on. Yes, puppets teach electronics!
AdaFruit, lead by the impressive Limor Fried, does things to be proud of and the latest idea is to create a puppet show - Circuit Playground - to encourage young children to at least recognize basic circuit components. My guess is that this is an attempt along the lines of the well-known Sesame Street to immerse children in the stuff of electronics. Each episode will have a story, a song and something to do.
In the interests of reality, we are informed that the blue smoke monster will make the occasional appearance (on my bench it makes an all to regular visit).
The full line up seems to include: Billie the Blue LED, Cappy the Capacitor, Connie the Transistor, Gus the Green LED, Hans 555 Timer, Mho the Resistor and Ruby the Red LED. It is clear that fun is going to be had explaining Mho's name and we are all going to have to be very careful how we pronounce Cappy's name if we are not to let our inner feelings about capacitors show.
You can also buy a range of soft toys which, I guess, will appeal to more than just young types. I can think of more than one electronic engineer whose devotion to the 555 timer is such that ordering a box load of Hans the 555 timer would seem like a good move.
AdaFruit produced an electronics coloring book a few months back and seems to be more than serious about building the next generation of customers for its kits and products. Currently all the soft toys are out of stock and the puppet show is promised for March.
This is a great idea and, as we suggested in the coloring book news, what about doing the same for programming?
I can well imagine that if we had puppets such as Sharpy C#, Jive Java and CPlussy - the result would quickly descend into chaos and inter-language warfare that would probably get it an X rating...