My brother the computer scientist sent the twins each an Arduino kit - I had never heard of this, but I have done a bit of programming and it seemed like fun. The first model (which we've already taken apart to build this) took about 3 hours with my brother's help because while I'm pretty handy with code, electrical engineering is another thing altogether!
This one only took about 45 minutes to build and code, and we were so excited when it worked the first time!!!
I've heard of kids doing programming classes as part of their homeschool, but hadn't seriously looked at it because mine are so stinking hands on, physical world kids that I just wasn't sure they'd see a point. But this is so very different!
They can code the behavior, and then see it in action on a real-life item. I think that satisfies the hands-on part of their personality in a way that perhaps game programming may not. Their take on games is that they work, so why should they care how and why they work?
With Arduino, they have a purpose beyond seeing something on a screen.
We have big plans for these little pieces of tech, and I'm sure that we'll be cannibalizing a few broken rc cars for parts to build the animatronic critters they want ... my brother just told me that I should hide the vacuum and power tools from the boys.
Should I be worried?