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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

LEGO Technic Sets that Are Not Vehicles?

LEGO Technic Off-road Racer 42010 LEGO Technic Off-road Racer 42010 

I've been looking at the new LEGO Technic sets as my older son is heading into the age range for them, 7+. The sets look great and have lots of cool moving parts and even pull-back motors as well as compatibility with the Power Functions motor and other components.

But ... my kids are not interested in vehicles (unless tied in with some kind of fantasy theme.) They've never shown more that a passing interest in cars, trains or diggers. Now I know lots of kids, especially boys do love all kinds of transportation and yes, there should be LEGO Technic sets for those kids. But surely a bit of variety would be a good idea.

The Technic section in the LEGO store currently shows 18 sets and every single one is a vehicle of some sort including the four new models: Hovercraft, Mini Backhoe Loader, Off-Road Racer and Race Car.

Vehicles aren't the only things that move! Surely LEGO could get a bit more creative to appeal to a wider audience. It would be good to see Technic sets that would appeal to more girls too.

I've looked back at the historical range of Technic sets are there have been a few variations on the vehicle theme including the occasional animal and robot, but you have to go back quite a few years to find them.

I had to go back to 2001 to find the LEGO Technic Asimo Robot and that was a promotional set. The sets in recent years just seem to keep recycling the same old vehicles with updated designs.

Now I know there's also LEGO Mindstorms, but that's quite a different experience to the pure Technic kits. There are also Technic pieces in sets from the other themes (like some of the CHIMA sets we have.) And there are also some interesting LEGO educational kits.

But I'd like to see a wider variety in the LEGO Technic kits that are generally available where the focus is on construction using rods, gears and connectors, rather than the usual stud-based LEGO bricks.

So here are a few ideas of new LEGO Technic sets I'd like to see in future:
  1. A mechanical grabber that kids can use.
  2. A rolling 'hamster' play ball that kids can put a toy in (not real pets!)
  3. A Jack-in-the-box that pops up
  4. Mechanical automata like a dragon that flaps its wings
  5. Mechnical animals (my son would love a woolly mammoth!)
  6. Childrens play park with swings, teeter-totter, merry go round, etc
  7. Rube Goldberg type wacky contraptions
  8. A medieval catapult or trebuchet that really fires
  9. Kid-sized roleplay accessories like a light-up crown, sword or disc thrower
  10. Mini crazy golf course with ramps and clubs
Of course we can have a go at these on our own and lots of people have made cool custom Technic models. But when a child is getting started it is very helpful to have kits with all the right pieces that demonstrate good construction techniques.

I hope LEGO will be a bit more broad-minded when developing ideas that come from their Toy Alive research initiative too.

Update: This article was written in 2013 but a recent comment reminded me that the situation hasn't really moved on much since then. Over the years we've managed to make the best of the situation and we've written a few more posts about how we've used LEGO technic which may be useful to readers in a similar predicament:


Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: LEGO Technic Sets that Are Not Vehicles?
LEGO Technic Sets that Are Not Vehicles?
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2013/06/lego-technic-sets-that-are-not-vehicles.html
https://www.techagekids.com/
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