Recommended Fun/Game Circuits for Boys Learning Electronics?

HoraceTorys

Joined Apr 2, 2016
5
I'm teaching electronics with breadboards to a group of nine boys ages 8-15. We've only had one class, but they're really taking to it -- many solved my challenge to make and draw an AND, OR, and NOT logic gate that same night.

Once I get them up and running, I want to teach some circuits that you can really interact with. Current plans include:
• Twisty Wire and Loop Dexterity Game with Buzzer
• Reaction Timer Game Circuit (Player A presses his button, then Player B presses his button, and delay shows on 7-segment).
• Light Theremin
• Music Box (4017 plays series of notes)
This LED Zeppelin game from talking-circuits.com would probably be the upper limit of what they could do, and I won't teach it in class, but include it in the booklet I'll give them.

The kits I gave the guys have resistors from 100R to 1M, capacitors from 1nF to 470uF, 10x NPN and 5x PNP transistors, 10x diodes, 250k and 2x 10k pots, 1W 8Ω speaker, buzzer, earbud, electret microphone, loads of LEDs, 7-seg display, LDR, IR send and receive LEDs, and an 8x8 LED matrix. ICs are: 4011, 4013, 4026, 4060, 4069, 2x 4017, and 4x 555. No microprocessors or Arduino (yet).

We'll do some LED flashers, sirens, and similar, but I'd really like circuits with interactivity (links to diagrams if possible). What are some other fun games, noisemakers, or toys that can be built on a breadboard with basic components and ICs?

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
21,664
I've walked this path before and have a few ideas of my own.

Here's one: LED ping-pong.

There is a row of LEDs and only one is lit at a time, going back and forth.
This two-player game requires each player to press a push-button at the exact time the LED in front of them is lit.
Two seven-segment displays count the opponent's score when an "LED" is missed. The game ends when one display reaches 9.

For an additional challenge, you can speed up the "motion" of the LEDs as the game progresses.

A more difficult challenge for the game builder is to have the returned LED slow down or speed up depending on the response time of the "paddle".