Don’t let anyone tell you electronic toys can’t stimulate creativity! While we pride ourselves on a huge selection of toys that run on pure imagination, there are many toys with batteries and plugs and lights and sounds that still only truly come to life in the hands of a child (or a playful adult).
Makey Makey: An Invention Kit for Everyone is a device that lets you turn virtually any item in your home or your environment into a computer mouse or keyboard keys. If it can conduct even minimal electricity, then it’ll do: just plug Makey Makey into your computer’s USB slot, snap the alligator clips onto your item, queue up a computer program, and go!
The most obvious example of a Makey Makey invention is their Banana Piano, which uses bananas as the keys to play a song on the Virtual Piano program, but the possible uses for Makey Makey are literally infinite. This demo video shows you some of the basic inventions that your kids will want to try first:
The most obvious uses of Makey Makey are musical, since it adds hilarious theatricality to every song:
I found the musical paintings particularly impressive – the one at 1:04 in the video, made using conductive paint, seems downright magical.
Or, you could just make cooking more interesting:
The educational value of Makey Makey is obvious: not only will it challenge your child to discover cool new ways to play, but it will also make it downright fun to learn how electronic circuits work. After all, articles like “What is a Circuit?”, “Voltage, Current, Resistance, and Ohm’s Law,” and “Voltage Dividers” are way more interesting when you can experiment with the concepts as you read! STEM toys like Makey Makey (and Goldieblox, and LEGO Mindstorms, and so many more) make it very clear that science is cool and inventing is fun.