There are two schools of thought when it comes to teaching electronics. The first school of thought is that it is important to develop a solid foundation in basic electronic theory before tackling any hands-on activities. The other school favors the hands-on approach that combines learning theory while conducting experiments and while building practical projects. Personally, I favor the latter approach and I have incorporated it in all the Adult Ed classes that I have taught over the years. Building simple electronics projects allows the student to see electronic theory in action, and it allows them to develop essential skills like soldering, disordering, working with pc (printed circuit) boards, etc.
Electronics is a hobby that the whole family can enjoy. Nevertheless, before tackling your dream project, you need to learn some basic theory, develop some practical skills, and build up your electronics workshop. One of the first skills you will need to learn is how to properly solder and unsolder electronic components because components and pc boards can be damaged if it is not done properly. Using excessive amounts of heat can loosen the copper traces on a pc board and destroy components like diodes and transistors. The good news is that soldering is an easy skill to master. Carl's AK-100 Learn to Solder Kit is one of those simple electronics projects that not only teach you how to solder, it teaches you another essential skill, how to read color codes, while building a working electronic siren. This kit also provides you with all the tools and supplies you will need to handle any basic soldering job that you will encounter in assembling any electronic kit. The good news is that it will cost you less than $20 and applicable S & H costs.
After you have mastered the art of soldering and after having added a professional grade 30-watt soldering iron and a pair of diagonal pliers to your tool collection, you are ready to tackle another project. Why not surprise your lady with a custom-built music box for Christmas. Well you can buy the box and then install the electronic playback unit that you have built from a kit. Carl's Music Box kit is another of those simple electronics projects that allows you to practice the skills that you have already learned while developing new skills and mastering new theory. You can select any one of a dozen romantic tunes for it to play when your loved one opens the box or you can set it to cycle through all twelve tunes. Again, you can build this kit for less than $20, of course that does not include the cost of the jewelry box that you install it in.
The fun has just begun. Enjoy your newfound hobby of building simple electronics projects. Carl's is just one o many online sources for electronic kits, tools, and supplies. A simple Google search will turn up hundreds.