This post sharing my honest thoughts about Circuit Cubes Smart Art projects is a sponsored post. All opinions remain my own.
When my kids were in preschool, neither really had any interest in sitting down to draw or do coloring books. Le sigh. All the crayons and markers and finger paints I purchased? Mostly wasted.
Instead, my son discovered building blocks as a toddler and graduated as he grew older to LEGOs. To this day, he loves legos and wants to be a LEGO Master Brick Builder (or an environmental scientist). My daughter followed his love of creating and building, which means we don’t often sit and do art.
When I heard about Tenka Labs and their new Circuit Cubes, however, I had to try them. These $60 kits (check sales – Tenka Labs has them for $39.95 currently) combine STEM and building to create projects. With three kits currently that create various vehicles (Whacky Wheels Kit), luminaries and light sabers and more (Bright Lights Kit), and various art projects (Smart Art Kit).
What’s Inside Circuit Cubes Smart Art Kits?
Each kit comes with a USB rechargeable battery cube, plus a motor and an LED cube. They include the wires to build the kits, bricks to get started, and instructions with project ideas to start.
This is what I love most. While there are project ideas contained with clear instructions, once you get the hang of the Circuit Cubes, you have the chance to get creative and make what’s in your head. This follows the model my son uses with LEGOs. That freedom is what helps him come up with the most amazing ideas, and I love seeing this thinking encouraged in other toys, too.
We received the Circuit Cubes Smart Art Kit. In addition to the basic items, this included a sheet of paper to get started and six markers that fit holders in the cubes perfectly. I tested later once I convinced my daughter and her friend to go outside to play, and traditional skinny markers fit, as well.
What Did My Kids Think of Circuit Cubes Smart Art?
First, these kits get kudos because STEM teachers designed them. They know what engages kids, and they know how to make learning approachable and fun. They succeeded admirably here.
The Circuit Cubes Smart Art (and other kits) fit with LEGO bricks, which makes it even easier to get creative. For example, the taller standard markers don’t cross as easily to adjust the size of circles you draw. I added a couple one by one LEGO bricks to one holder, and suddenly, we had much more flexibility.
I wasn’t the only one playing with these, however. For the first time, my daughter sat down to create art projects. She loved the engineering aspect of building with the bricks and motors and connecting the circuits in various ways, then testing to see how the changes created different patterns on the paper.
The instructions to build have no words, just pictures, as so many building blocks do. Specific projects included in the instructions requires reading, but the basics of assembly and play? Reading isn’t a barrier.
If your kids simply want to create and experiment with the various scribble builds, go for it! Let them practice to see how changing angles and order and builds also changes the drawings they make. The projects are cool, but as a parent, I appreciate that my kids started with scientific experiments to see “what happens if.”
In fact, my daughter and her friend kept playing with the Circuit Cubes Smart Art Kit until our battery wore down. If that isn’t a testimonial from a child who never does art projects, I don’t know what is! Interestingly, my son showed just as much interest in the building and experimentation as she did.
What Does Mom Think of the Circuit Cubes Smart Art Kit?
Pro tip: open the box and charge your battery before your kids want to play. While many batteries come partially charged (thank goodness or I’d go crazy every time I upgrade my phone!), the battery here needs to be charged before it works.
The included USB cord is a standard charger, so if you misplace this, you likely have plenty of chargers elsewhere. This one may be a short cord, but I love how thick and sturdy it is – small hands and all! Additionally, I gave the battery a 15 minute charge. Then I let my daughter have at it, and that gave her enough juice to keep her entertained for nearly an hour.
I haven’t had a chance yet, but I plan to buy a roll of butcher paper. This will give my kids a large space to continue experimenting. They may not realize what science they pick up by trying this and testing that, but I love the critical thinking this STEM toy encourages.
Even better? Circuit Cubes Smart Art (and all the kits) come with a canvas drawstring bag in the box that contains all the parts – except the instructions – easily within it. When we need to clean up, this goes away neatly. I don’t have to worry about a piece dropping out or getting everything to fit perfectly. It simply does!
My favorite may be that it fit with LEGO pieces. That greatly increases the utility of the Circuit Cubes. This isn’t a one trick pony! We may not have the Whacky Wheels kit, but my son doesn’t care. He plans to use the cubes to build vehicles with his existing LEGOs that now can move. With the kit we have, he can do that.
Turn on the creativity, and sign us up!