NEWS$show=/search/label/news

Here's where you'll find all the latest news about technology for children. We love to follow cool new inventions on Kickstarter and we hunt out all the latest announcements about tech toys and gadgets for the coming Christmas holidays. You'll also get our take on children's technology stories in the media.

REVIEWS$show=/search/label/review

Our kids technology product reviews are intended to help you work out whether a toy, gadget or kit is a good fit for your child or family. There's lots of cool stuff available, but is it the right choice for the child or teenager that you are buying for? We'll help you make the right choices and get the best value for money.

GIFT GUIDES$show=/search/label/gift%20guide

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends assemble. We create gift lists to help you make good choices for kids technology which helps them develop the right skills for the future. We research the best in Coding Toys and Games, Making / Craft Tools and Kits, STEM/STEAM related gifts, Programmable Robots, Electronics Kits and Gadgets for Tech Age Kids and Teens.

PROJECTS$show=/search/label/project

Get crafty with technology. Here we'll post all our ideas and projects using technology to get creative and making with kids. You'll find anything from making a lemon battery to a glow-in-the-dark Minecraft sword. Our projects are tried and tested on our own kids or at events we run, so we are sure you can have a go at home with your kids. Some of our projects use specific tech gadgets which we provide links for you to purchase.

STEM$show=/search/label/stem

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In recent years there is an increased focus in these areas of study. We like to include Art and Design too, so we often talk about STEAM (A stands for Art). At Tech Age Kids we believe Coding is a new literacy and children need to understand how technology works, practice making skills and grow in their curiosity to make a better future for us all.

CODING$show=/search/label/coding

Coding is increasingly being recognised as an important skill for children to learn. Some will learn to code at school or at a coding club, but it's brilliant if they get support at home too.

ELECTRONICS$show=/search/label/electronics

We think it's really important for kids to get hands-on with electronics and learn how to make circuits and write code to control hardware. Younger kids can start with conductive playdough. For kids who like to combine craft and tech, littleBits are fab. And we love SAM Labs wireless electronics components for making it easy for kids to make Internet of Things inventions. Lots of electronics kits for kids have support for the Arduino microprocessor environment. The DuinoKit Jr is one of our favourites. Arduino is a fab skill for older kids and teens to develop.

ROBOTICS$show=/search/label/robotics

We love robots at Tech Age Kids, especially programmable ones. We've got lots of them and write reviews and projects that use them. Our programmable robots for kids buying guide is a good place to start if you're not sure what's available. Roby the mBot Meccano robot dog is one of our popular projects and has been with us to lots of events. Our Ozobot LEGO trailer is fab for kids who love LEGO and robots.

MAKING AND CRAFT$show=/search/label/making

We're advocates of the creative use of technology, but this needs to be balanced with developing physical skills such as papercraft, woodwork, clay modelling, technical drawing and soldering. If children don't develop these skills as they grow up then physical making projects can become frustrating rather than fun. The Maker Community uses the term 'making' as a broad term to include all sorts of artisan skills or craft activities. Being able to make things can lead to life-long hobbies or even careers. It's a great feeling to be able to take a project from an idea in your head to a real object that does something. We're particularly interested to explore products that combine maker skills with tech skills such as electronics but others focus purely on the physical making skills that are still important to modern making.

How Much Screen Time Should Kids Have?

How much screen time should kids be allowed? This issue is concerning a lot of parents so I thought I'd share our approach to screen time.

Screen time is not a phrase that gets used in our house. We don't have daily or weekly limits on how much time the kids can spend on the family PC, tablets, Wii console or TV. So far it seems to be mostly self-regulating.

Now our kids are 4 and 6 years old. So things may change as they get older. But I'm reading more and more stories about young children being addicted to iPads, and the terrible term iPaddy being used to determine a technology withdrawal tantrum.


We're pretty tech obsessed in our house. The kids have access to lots of gadgets and they get used regularly. So you might imagine they spend hours a day glued to a screen. Well most days they don't. All families are different, but some of our approach might be useful to other families.

Here's what we do:

  1. We watch very little regular TV as a family. TV is not part of our routine. We don't put the TV on in the morning and it rarely comes on after school. The kids watch Power Rangers on Netflix sometimes and we do watch documentaries and movies together as a family. This has been the way we have done things since they are tiny. It doesn't amount to more than 4 hours a week on average (and there are probably some weeks when they watch no TV at all.) Some TV is educational and it's fine to watch some for entertainment. But we can't watch the amount of TV that families used to and fit in all the other screens that kids now have access to.
  2. My kids are obsessed with LEGO, Playmobil, crafts and dressing up. We have always encouraged this and they are very good at occupying themselves, they will always choose to spend a large amount of their time in these activities. They also have a couple of classes they go to each week and we love to go for walks and visit museums and other things as a family. We also like to make stuff together. Basically, there's only a limited amount of time left for their gadgets. And they're not over-scheduled in the slightest, they just have a range of things they are interested in and want to do.
  3. In the morning before school I offer them a choice of activities, sometimes they'll choose to spend 20 minutes on a tablet, sometimes they'll choose something else. This morning we played with an electronics kit. Still technology, but no screen and very hands-on. 
  4. We sometimes allow a crazy binge of screen time. For example, there was a week when we all had coughs and colds and someone was always too unwell to go out. Their Dad played LEGO Indiana Jones on the Wii for several hours a day for a couple of days which they watched and made helpful suggestions. 
  5. They generally get free access to the family PC which sits in our living room. Most of what they use it for is related to their other hobbies. They watch YouTube reviews about new and old LEGO sets. My older son might research a history subject he's interested in. They look at objects under the USB microscope. I know what they are doing on the computer and suggest things that they might be interested in. Occasionally my younger son needs to be dragged away to do something else. He might make a fuss, but then he might make a fuss if we need to leave the park when he's having fun. Giving a five minute warning and then saying time's up and ignoring any complaints seems to work well.
  6. There's usually a bit of tablet time after dinner and before I read them a story. Often one will use a tablet while I listen to the other read. My older son loves to play physics games like Cut the Rope Time Travel and puzzlers like Call of Atlantis. (Put a historical theme on it and you've got his attention.) In my opinion this is an excellent thing for him to be doing. Sometimes he chooses to do some writing about something he's interested in or write a story. Again, not the kind of thing I want to limit. My younger son likes the LeapPad 2 and might choose one of the games or just to do some drawing. Sometime we play multi-player games together at this time or I'll help get past a frustratingly tricky level.
  7. The kids sometimes play a bit of Skylanders on the Wii with their Dad's help. Especially if one of them has just earned a new Skylander.
We don't concentrate on limiting screen time. Instead we focus on making sure the kids are doing all the other things they need to be doing for a healthy childhood which includes plenty of time for them to use their imaginations (unstructured time to play, draw, write or make.) Some of those activities involve screens, some don't. We also take an active interest in what they are doing on the devices and help them find appropriate content.

I hope we'll be able to continue with this approach as they get older. I'd actually be fine with them getting a bit more screen time than they do at the moment. But they are getting interested in LEGO Technic and making robots. Definitely tech stuff, but involving time away from a screen. So that's our strategy going forward: make sure they have plenty of interests that ensure they don't need screens to entertain them all the time.

Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: How Much Screen Time Should Kids Have?
How Much Screen Time Should Kids Have?
Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2013/04/how-much-screen-time-should-kids-have.html
https://www.techagekids.com/
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