For a while now, I’ve thought that there are lots of great opportunities to expose kids to concepts that are generally considered “advanced” but might not be so if introduced at an early age. This project was an attempt to do just that with a few of the key concepts surrounding DNA.
The toy is a set of plush nucleotides that can snap together to form chains, and connect with velcro across the thymine-adenine and cytosine-guanine bonds. The objects are soft and of a size to be easily handled by a baby. The hope is that kids can use it at different ages, learning different things as they go, something like the following:
- infant: manual dexterity, help with letter recognition (A,T,G, and C, at least)
- childhood: that DNA is a thing that forms chains, is made of up four different kinds of blocks, and that there’s some logic to how those blocks connect
- teenager/college: beloved toy from early childhood that just happens to be a handy reminder of the actual names and chemical structures of the nucleotides
The project was a ton of fun to build, and seems to be being enjoyed greatly by the kids that have received a set. For more info, check out this album of the build process.