Roady the Helpful Robot


I think we may have a future engineer on our hands.   Which quite naturally brings a smile to the face of his engineer father. 

Last week my son came out one morning and told us he thought up a robot in his mind the night before.  He wanted to know if he and Daddy could build it.   The timing couldn’t have been better as Scott had taken the week off of work as we welcomed the baby into our family.

Scott told him to first draw a picture of the design because before you can build something, you should first have a design for it.   Here is the initial drawing my son came up with.

IMG_0160After drawing it, they talked through the design.  Scott brought up some potential problems they might encounter and my son would go away and come back having brainstormed a solution.  My son wanted the robot made out of a paper or plastic cup.  He wanted the head to be a light bulb and he wanted one arm to be a light bulb.  He also wanted one of the arms to be an actual retractable arm.  The legs were to be made from bolts.  Scott was able to steer him away from the articulating robot  arm though he admitted it would be cool.

Scott then helped him draw an official looking engineering drawing which would include the details of how it should be wired.  Scott drew most of this one as he explained to my son how the battery would make the light bulbs work.   My son doesn't have it all down yet but he does understand that the electricity leaves the battery and has to make it all the way back to the battery or nothing will work and that that is why a switch works.


The next day they had a father/son outing to Radio Shack to buy the supplies.  During their car ride they discussed a few revisions… they decided against the paper cup and for a tin can instead as the body.  They also decided against wheels on the bottom and went for “rocket boosters” instead. 

My son came home quite excited with his robot supplies.  The next morning they got to work building the robot. 

My son was beyond thrilled to get to use a “real drill” to make holes in the can. 


He then got a lesson in what soldering is and how it works. 


Even getting to hold the iron


Then they put the switch in.  While they were working, the girls and I were inside playing games, reading, and baking cookies (baby brother made all of this possible by taking a long morning nap).  The girls however were very curious about the project outside and came to see how it finished up.

IMG_0214 They got it to work.  It lights up using a real switch.  IMG_0221

He named his robot, Roady the Helpful Robot.  And it really was his brain child.   He was so excited about coming up with it all in his head and then actually building it and being able to use it.  It was a wonderful learning experience for him as well as a bonding experience for the father and son. 

And because it just seems too soon to do a post without still including a picture of the baby, here is a completely unrelated picture from last week that I love.   Look, we caught him “smiling” in his sleep.



  1. Your son's Nana (An Engineer-want-a-be) is sooooooooo excited for both your son and Dad.
    The photo essay is great. Love the deep concentration in the soldering pic and in the last photo of the "Roady the Helpful Robot" the complete joy on Big Brother's face. WELL DONE!

    And I love the add on photo at the end. I think he is smiling because he is so proud of his BIG Brother.

  2. That is so awesome! Way to go Big Brother and Dad! They looked like they had a great time together building it. It will be neat to see what their next project will be. I am sure your little engineer will have lots more.

  3. That's awesome!!! I can totally picture Patrick doing something like this with our girls someday.

    Oh, and baby boy continues to show off his preciousness...

  4. Way to go big brother. Even your little brother liked it.

  5. SO COOL! that boy is brilliant! and his dad is pretty darn awesome for taking the whole week off to make a robot. :) if that isn't homeschooling, i don't know what is!

  6. I like the pictures

  7. awww, SOOO cool!!! I LOVE this finished project!! Thanks for posting :)


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