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.

Breadboard Electronics Starter Kit from Mallinson Review

We've tried out the Mallinson Electrical's Electronic Project Beginner Starter Kit which is a breadboard based introduction to electronics that was designed for the seller's 13 year old daughter.

There are various breadboard electronics kits on the market but this one is an inexpensive starter kit that still gives you plenty of scope for learning the basics in a hands on way.

Note: Andrew Mallinson provided a review kit for TechAgeKids. This doesn't affect our opinion of the kit.

The difference between this kit and a lot of others that are available is the price. It's inexpensive (around $22 shipped to the US at time of writing) and sticks to the basics. Some of the larger kits might be a bit overwhelming to a complete beginner, so being smaller isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's also useful to have a low cost option for supporting what a teen is learning at school or trying out a new hobby to see if they are really interested. See our breadboard kits for kids article for a wider choice of kits.

The kit includes a small breadboard which has an adhesive pad on the back so you could mount it in a project or case later if you wanted to.

There's a good selection of basic electronics components including resistors with a range of values, variable resistors, transistors, LEDs, capacitors, diodes and even an integrated circuit - the 555 timer.

You also get a selection of wires in lots of different colors to make it easier to understand your circuits.

As well as the components you get a guide booklet which I'm very impressed with. It provides a basic introduction to electronics including descriptions of the components that are included in the set. You also get a couple of simple circuits to get you started.

There are more projects online at breadboard projects to make at home, we just used a tablet to display these. (Note that some of the projects do require additional components.)

The kit comes very well packaged (as shown in the video.) The components and manual are inside a resealable plastic bag which you can use to keep everything up together.

And the components are sorted into smaller resealable bags that are attached to a piece of card. I kept the bags on the card so I could pop the components back to store them. You might want to buy a small plastic project storage case to make it easier to find the components you want, but you'll be able to get by with the resealable bags initially.

Before starting we recommend reading the booklet and watching the first part of this video by Andrew Mallinson which explains how breadboard works.

Make sure to read the safety advice and understand that some components need to be connected the right way around.

It works!
You'll also need a 9V battery and some wire cutters / strippers to strip the covering off the ends of jumper wires. If you don't have wire strippers you can manage with scissors, but the right tool will do a better job and be easier to use.

First we tried out a simple circuit from the included booklet to light up an LED.

You need to find the right resistor from the included selection. The guide booklet includes a guide to decoding the color bands on the resistors which is very handy. And the example given is the resistor needed for the first circuit.

We then displayed the other website projects on our Kindle Fire tablet so we could easily follow them.

You do have to do some thinking to make sure you are choosing the right resistors (there's a guide in the booklet) and positioning the wires correctly.

A motivated teen will probably be able to work things out for themselves but I think many would require a bit of adult assistance when they are getting started. Lots of tweens would enjoy working together with a parent to use this kit.

The kit is well put together and the supporting material is very useful for getting started. Hopefully we'll see more projects added to the website that can be completed using the kit, the ones that are there are good, but it would be useful to have a few more that make good use of all the included components.

After completing the provided projects you can find other projects on the web and you'll often have the required components to complete them - there's lots of scope for building interesting and fairly complex circuits with the components you have. Once you get to this point you might want to purchase a few more components to extend the kit (a buzzer is always popular!)

Teens that really get into electronics and start designing their own circuits will have a useful collection of components to form the basis of their  projects.

Summary: A great value introduction to electronics using breadboard and proper electronics components. Do expect to have to put in some effort to find enough projects to really make full use of all of the included components.

Buy: eBay.com | Mallinson Electrical (UK)



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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Breadboard Electronics Starter Kit from Mallinson Review
Breadboard Electronics Starter Kit from Mallinson Review
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2013/07/breadboard-electronics-starter-kit-from.html
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