Tinkering is childhood’s outlet for curiosity. Curiosity fuels imagination, which allows us to think beyond present possibilities. And, that’s a crucial pathway to innovation. Who knows what absurd possibilities of today might become habits of tomorrow? Just like you’re probably reading this on a phone and adding Tacto Electronics to a digital shopping cart, which was impossible in the early 2000s. Stepping out of today’s box begins with the tinkering mindset.
So, what does this magical word mean anyway? Tinkering means playing around with objects in an unstructured way to figure out how they work. In a classic sense, it is associated with electronics or machines. But what it largely represents is free-form experimentation–the chance to learn from failure, tweak, explore and along the way, invent.
Tacto Electronics was developed to foster this mindset. Here are 5 ways in which it truly shines:
#1 Excellent gameplay – Ultimately, if an activity is not fun, it becomes a chore. The storytelling and gameplay in Tacto Electronics feels like a vivid children’s book coming alive. As part of unlocking the gameplay, you need to solve puzzles based on electronic concepts. need to apply knowledge about electronics. In one of three currently available games – Elliot is a curious young girl who stumbles into Witherland (an electronic Narnia of sorts), full of old devices waiting to be fixed, so the inhabitants don’t get disturbed by their malfunctioning. See what I mean?
#2 HOW things work, not just IF they work – I’ll admit, it’s easy to wonder how a digital interface can encourage tinkering. My child often used to ask, “What is IN a wire that makes it electric?” The ‘Electronics Workshop’ mode answers such questions very well, which in turn triggers the thought, “If I know how this works, I wonder how that one does.” This is essential to tinkering and a general understanding of the world around.
#3 SAFE, shockproof environment – If we’re talking about physically playing with live wires and batteries, there’s a lot that could go dangerously wrong. Tacto Electronics offers a safe alternative, where kids could experiment with digital versions of LEDs, motors, resistors, switches, wires, batteries, and much more. ANY parent knows the value of being able to switch off the ‘…what if something goes wrong’ button in their head!
#4 Well-planned progression – Tacto Electronics has 3 games with 50+ gadgets and over 500 circuits to build. More importantly, the complexity curve is well thought out, which keeps the game set relevant and interesting for a longer period of time. The challenges on the digital breadboard don’t (suddenly) get demotivatingly hard, or stay boringly easy for too long. Getting that challenge level just right, especially with STEM toys, is a tall order. But, Tacto Electronics delivers!
#5 Digital tinkering – Often, perceptions of tinkering are limited to a ‘classic’ sense – playing with a screwdriver, cutting wires, dismantling things, etc. But, playing with Garageband, Adobe Premier, or even photo filters on Instagram isn’t vastly different. It’s all experimenting. Maybe the edits will work out, maybe they won’t. Either way, you’re getting more proficient with each tool. Tacto Electronics, while rooted in a classic discipline, builds upon this more expansive definition of tinkering to present great value to Gen Alpha, whose sense of categories is wildly different from ours.