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.

Snap Circuits Review


My son has been playing with Snap Circuits recently so I thought I write up a review of how we got on. Elenco Snap Circuits is a range of electronics kits for kids. It teaches kids about the principles of electronics circuits in a very hands-on way.

Each kit includes a plastic board to build the projects on, a set of electronic components that snap to each other and to the board, and instructions for lots of projects to make with the kits. There's no soldering involved.


My son is 6 so we've started with the Jr kit which has 100 projects to make. One thing I really like is that you can get upgrade kits that extend the basic kit so we'll be able to add to our set when he's ready.

The reaction from my son has been fantastic. He has been choosing his electronics set as a before and after school activity since we got it a couple of days ago. He has been working through the projects following the instructions and being really pleased when it works!

Each project has a clear layout which shows which pieces to place on the board in what order. You do need to put the pieces down in the right order and for some of them direction is important too. I think my son's extensive experience with following LEGO instructions has helped a lot here.

The board isn't necessary to make the circuits work, it just helps keep the layout clean and easy to match to the diagrams. The projects have lots of cool features that really appeal to kids like annoying noises and a fan that can spin up into the air to make a flying saucer. 
If I just swap the resistor for a wire ...

At first I was a bit concerned that he was just recreating the circuits and not learning much. But one morning he swapped out a resistor for a wire because he knew it would make the sound louder (because it won't resist the electricity as much, he explained.) And then he realized that his circuit wasn't working because it wasn't joined up to make a circuit - he had missed out a wire. I think he'll learn more as he goes through the models a second time as well. There is explanatory text for each project which explains what is happening.

He's very keen to experiment but you can actually break components if you set up a circuit incorrectly (don't worry too much, you can get free replacement parts) so he needs a bit more knowledge before he does that.

He has been able to make some sensible modifications to existing projects with Mum or Dad checking it over before he powers it on. But if you don't have any electronics knowledge you might need to learn some yourself first! His Dad is very capable while I seem to have forgotten a lot of what I used to know so this is a good way to brush up on my own electronics.

There's plenty of scope here to really learn a lot about basic electronics. This is very much a proper educational kit that is suitable for home schooling or just covering topics that kids don't get to study in school.

There is some basic information at the beginning of the project manual which explains what all the components do and what their various connectors are - power + and - and input controls and outputs. I wish these were marked on all the components. They are on some of them but strangely not on the audio components that have several connection points. It's easy for kids to miss the fact that they are connecting to specific connectors for a good reason. I guess we can fix that with a Sharpie.

At the moment my son is a little resistant to slowing down and reading all the useful information because he's having so much fun! But I've been trying to slow him down a little and go through things like what the various inputs and outputs on the sound chips are actually for. I'm also going to try and find him a good electronics book for young kids that he can read. He tends to prefer non-fiction titles so he would actually enjoy that if I can find the right book.

Basic electronics isn't actually all that complicated. There's just a lot of unfamiliar terminology to pick up. We're looking forward to more episodes of Adafruit's Circuit Playground kids show to help both my four year old and six year old learn the basics.

Snap Circuits has really captured my son's interest. I can see him requesting an extension set and I've got my eye on the Elenco Snap Circuits Green - Alternative Energy Kit with solar power and a hand crank and lots more fun stuff.

All Packed Away Neatly in the Box
And one of my favorite things about these kits is that they come in a box with a storage tray that makes it really easy to pack everything away and spot if there are any pieces missing. My son actually seems to enjoy putting the pieces away in the box when he has finished. 

I'd say these sets are suitable for a wide age range with younger children benefiting a lot if a parent is willing to work alongside them and older kids being able to pick up a lot more understanding of why it all works. For older kids choose one of the larger sets with more pieces and projects as they will be able to move more quickly.

Buy: Snap Circuits Kits @ Amazon




Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Snap Circuits Review
Snap Circuits Review
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
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