How to Host a Hack Your Backpack Workshop

How to host a Hack Your Backpack Workshop

Go back to school in style with the coolest backpack out of all your friends! You’ll walk down the hallways with a book bag that can blink, buzz or even write out a message, but the best part is that you built it yourself. At the littleBits Hack Your Backpack event, parents and guardians can gather with their kids to create their own wearable technology. Events will be taking place around the world, including our New York City Chapter, our new store and lab in SoHo. As always, no prior hardware or programming experience is needed to participate.

Place: A makerspace, school or flexible outdoor space so people can work in teams.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Time: 2 hours
People: 10-30 participants
Recommended Kits:
– Workshop Kit (facilitates 20 people working in pairs)
– Pro Library (facilitates 35 people working in pairs)
– 10 Student Kits (facilitates 20 people working in pairs)

Skills: Design Thinking, Technology Literacy, Documentation

Elementary (ages 8-10)
Middle School (ages 11-13)
High School (ages 14-17)
College/University (age 18+)


littleBits Basics
Makerspace Workshops

Tape 1
Glue dots 1
cardboard 1
popsicle sticks or balsa 1
String 1
Googly Eyes 1
velcro 1

Pens & Pencils


STEP 1 : Before the Event

How to host a Hack Your Backpack Workshop1

1.1 Create an RSVP link for your event. Using a platform of your choice, spread the word about your event to your local community and encourage them to sign up. Popular sites for this include, Eventbrite or Facebook.

1.2 Spread the word. If you are a Chapter leader, share your event link on your Chapter Page or if you are a not a Chapter leader, but a community superstar who wants to get your neighborhood involved, share your event in our forums. Whatever you do, don’t forget to tweet @littlebits and #littlebits to our social media ninjas. This will help us be able to promote your events. We have lots of friends and followers :).

1.3 Set Up Stations. On the day of your event, start by creating separate stations for your participants to choose from. For example one station can be dedicated to lights and motion Bits and another to synthesizer Bits. Make sure to have plenty of craft materials as well.

1.4 Recruit Volunteer Mentors. Ideally, you want each station to have a mentor who understands how to use littleBits well. If you don’t have volunteers to help, try assigning one kid in the group to be that teams’ leader and representative. This person will be responsible for uploading projects on the website and sharing back with the rest of the group.

STEP 2 : littleBits Demonstration

Start the Day with a Short Presentation. (5 minutes) Explain what littleBits are (to those who are unfamiliar) and give a couple of useful demonstrations.

2.1 Anatomy of a Bit: Every Bit has a top (which has the name of the bit written on it), a bottom (where the “feet” of the bit are), and two bitSnaps (an input and an output, except for power which only has an output).

2.2 littleBits Snap Together with Magnets: Inputs only snap to outputs, so if the bits don’t snap together, try rotating one of them around.

2.3 Bits Are Color-Coded: Blues are power. Pinks are inputs (like buttons and sensors). Greens are outputs (like motors, lights, and buzzers). Oranges are wires and logic.

2.4 Order Is Important: Every circuit needs to start with a power. Inputs only affect the Bits that come after them.

2.5 Some Bits Are Adjustable: Small switches or buttons allow you to change the behavior of the Bit (like changing the direction the dc motor spins). Small dials let you make adjustments to things like the sensitivity of sensors, the rate of the pulse bit, and color of the rgb led.

Remember to keep this short and sweet so you have plenty of time for people to play and build with the bits (step 4).

STEP 3 : Brainstorm. (15 minutes)

How to host a Hack Your Backpack Workshop2

Ask each participant to brainstorm different ideas for their backpack. What do they want their backpacks to look like? What sounds should they make? How could they make it different than all other backpacks? Encourage your participants to use pens, paper and whiteboards to document these ideas. If you have access to the web, encourage them to check out the Project Page to get inspiration and ideas.

STEP 4 : Get Making! (1 hour or as long as you want)

Allow plenty of time for participants to create their dream backpacks. During this time, walk around to each station to see if anyone needs help.

STEP 5 : Polish, Document and Upload Your Projects to the Project Page. (1 hour)

Whatever you do, make sure to have Bitsters add their creations on the Project Page , so they can be eligible to win prizes (and because sharing is caring). Tip: For great documentation, set up a spot with good lighting for them to document their masterpieces using cameras or smartphones to take photos and videos. A great way to end your event is by having Bitsters play with their inventions and share them with the rest of the group.

STEP 6 : Get social!

Share how your event went on Twitter and Instagram using the #littlebits hashtag. Share photos & links to your creations and feel free to reach out to us personally with feedback at the forums. We love hearing your stories!