Tween Program: BristleBots

Tween Program

For those who don’t know, BristleBots are small robots made out of toothbrush heads.

This was a really fun event but definitely a bit chaotic. I looked over our kit and the pictures from the event we did a few years ago. I saw the previous kids figured out that the bots needed legs to stay upright. I told my kids outright that the bots might be a bit top-heavy so they should think about putting legs on the bots.

I didn’t have any volunteers for the event so it was just me (plus a few parents that hung out in the room). I had the kids come up one by one for me to hot glue legs or other decoration to the bristles for them. After everyone had been hot glued, we finished assembling the BristleBots. Once everything was assembled, we adjusted legs and other stabilizers as necessary. I’m not going to go into detail about how to assemble BristleBots. Here’s a good link but you could also Google “BristleBots” for more information or buy a complete kit online. Once everyone was done, we raced our bots against each other. Kids talked about why someone’s bot did better than another. I was surprised that several kids were theorizing about what did better and why.

What I would change: Kids are really, really antsy.  I should have let them assemble the bots at the beginning and then work out how to attach legs, stabilizers, or decorations after it was assembled. (I’m still not sure how well it would have worked out because I was worried about hot glue getting on the battery or in the motor.) There needed to be a better adult to kid ration. I had 10 kids to me (plus a parent or two helping their child.)

Verdict: The kids loved it and almost everyone that registered showed up. Next time, I would do it in a smaller group or have another helper or two in there with me.

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