How I Spent My Summer Vacation

its-izzy on Flickr

Not sure what you will do this summer? We have some ideas!

It’s summer in much of the world. And that means time to play and explore different things. The Instructables.com website is a fun place to start for all kinds of projects.

But the neat thing about technology is that there’s all kinds of technology. You don’t have to be a software programmer to play with technology. You can create buildings or fun art with SketchUp, for example. Or try out 3D printing. Best of all, there’s free 3D printing models online if you want to focus on the printing process. There’s also electronics with Pico and Raspberry Pi, two inexpensive boards that make it easy to create all kinds of computers, for example, to measure whether a plant is thirsty. Or as a web server.

And, if you’re really adventurous and have a little time, try setting up Mycroft, a free open source fully private version of Alexa and Google Home that can be installed on a Raspberry Pi. I had lots of fun playing with it. Find it at https://mycroft.ai/get-started/.

We’ve also included Python and Scratch resources if you want to learn and play around with programming.

Whatever you choose, these resources will provide you with lots of ways to explore technology this summer. Have fun!

SketchUp

While we have not written articles about this software recently, it’s a fun easy way to build buildings online. People also use SketchUp to build bicycles and other products. Our website has lots of tutorials.
https://www.sketchup.com/try-sketchup#for-personal
https://kidscodecs.com/sections/sketchup/
https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/

3D Printing

If you want to take creating models online further, why not do 3D printing? You can create lots of models, which can be complex. That’s definitely worth exploring. But there’s also free 3D models online you can print at a local 3D printing shop. Search online for “3D printing near me” for shops.
https://www.thingiverse.com/
https://all3dp.com/2/3d-printing-for-beginners-all-you-need-to-know-to-get-started/
https://3dprintingindustry.com/3d-printing-basics-free-beginners-guide

Electronics

While there’s all sorts of electronics sites online, the Raspberry Pi organization has two excellent websites to explore for projects and news, HackSpace and MagPi. There’s also Adafruit and a site with a fun name, Technology Will Save Us.
https://hackspace.raspberrypi.com/
https://magpi.raspberrypi.com/
https://www.adafruit.com/
https://make.techwillsaveus.com/

Python

Perhaps one of the easiest and most professional languages to learn, Python has lots of resources online to teach and practice this language. The Python language site also includes a virtual emulator (interactive shell) where you can practice without installing Python.
https://www.python.org/
https://realpython.com/start-here/
https://learnpythonthehardway.org/python3/

Scratch

If you’re not ready to dive into Python but want to start learning programming, Scratch is a great way to begin. It’s been around 15 years, there’s lots of projects to study, and it’s mostly drag and drop things that you then customize to make neat stuff happen.
https://scratch.mit.edu/

Learn More

Summer STEM Projects

https://explore.envisionexperience.com/pat-exs/

Summer STEM Activities

https://www.steampoweredfamily.com/activities/summer-stem-activities/

Summer STEAM Projects

https://makeandtakes.com/summer-steam-projects

Ultimate list of summer STEM activities

https://theivyacademy.org/the-ultimate-list-of-summer-stem-activities/

50 exciting STEM activities

https://www.steamsational.com/summer-stem-activities/

Summer STEM for kids

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/100-summer-stem-activities-science-experiments/

110 Summer STEM projects

https://www.pinterest.com/swetalk/summer-stem-projects-for-kids/

Super STEM summer activities

https://www.123homeschool4me.com/super-stem-summer-activities_98/

20 Summer STEM activities

https://www.kitchencounterchronicle.com/summer-stem-activities-for-kids/

Easy, affordable STEM experiments

https://earthsciencejr.com/10-easy-affordable-diy-stem-experiments-to-keep-kids-and-teens-engaged/

26 STEM products for kids

https://diyjoy.com/diy-stem-science-projects/

Author

  • Tim Slavin

    Tim is an award-winning writer and technologist who enjoys teaching tech to non-technical people. He has many years experience with web sites and applications in business, technical, and creative roles. He and his wife have two kids, now teenagers, who are mad about video games.

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