My daughter and I recently did a small automation project together. She wanted to make a food dispenser for our dog, Domino, and I thought it would be the perfect excuse to write some code that interfaces with real hardware.
We chose Arduino hardware, as it is open source, has a huge support community, and the hardware and software are easy to use. It is also a very inexpensive introduction to do-it-yourself (DIY) electronics. Due to its small size and price, we used the Arduino Nano for this project.
The project is not all original work. I found lots of inspiration (and instructions) online, and you should do the same. I didn’t develop the idea or the code myself. ROBO HUB wrote a detailed tutorial on making a pet food dispenser with basic materials, and I took notes. He also made a video, which I watched many times over (one of many on his YouTube channel).