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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.

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.

Making a Lemon Battery and How Does it Work?

The lemon battery is one of the most popular science experiments for kids. It features in Episode 2: B is for Battery of Circuit Playground by LadyAda from AdaFruit Industries. When my kids watched this episode they of course wanted to make a lemon battery.

It's a quick and fun experiment to do and kids can get really involved with it. When their cousin visited we had fun doing the experiment. We used a mixture of lemons and limes - any acidic citrus fruit will work nicely.

You will need:
  1. Lemons, limes other citrus fruit
  2. An LED or other low power electrical output
  3. A galvanized (zinc) Nail for the negative electrode
  4. A piece of copper wire or a copper Penny for the positive electrode (British pennies and two pence pieces work, modern US pennies don't actually have much copper in.)
  5. Connecting wires - we had some jumper leads with crocodile clips
  6. (Optional) a multimeter to measure output
N for Nail and Negative
P for Penny and Positive

Watch the B is for Battery episode of circuit playground to see how to set up your circuit. A useful mnemonic is N for Nail and Negative, P for Penny and Positive.

The experiment worked well for us. It was a very hands on way for the children (aged 4, 6 and nearly 7) to see a circuit in action and also to see the effect of adding more fruits in series.

We used a multimeter to measure the voltage with one lemon and then again as we added more lemons.

We tried to light the LED each time and got a faint glimmer with 3 fruits and a light that was very visible with the lights down once we had five fruits. (My older son wouldn't let us use the third lime as he wanted to eat it :)

How Does a Lemon Battery Work?

 

For very young children, the explanation in the Circuit Playground video is probably sufficient: the electrons want to move to the positive terminal.
"The electricity is not in the lemon." 
But for older kids, it's worth going into more detail about the chemical reaction that releases the electrons. I recommend this video from SciShow which explains the science. It's very quick so you might need to pause a few times to give kids a chance to take it in.

The video covers the prevalent misconceptions that people have about the lemon battery experiment and explains the science including electro-negativity and the ionic solution in the lemon. It's well explained and about as simple as it can be.


 The video also gives you an idea for a further experiment. You don't actually need multiple lemons to create more power, you can just add more electrodes to the same piece of fruit! This is obvious when you understand how it works, but it's easy to blindly follow the regular way of doing things (as we did.) If we'd thought of that we would have had spare fruit to make lemonade. Oh well. Next time.


Need more ideas for science experiments for kids? This book by high school science teacher Tom Robinson will give you lots of ideas.



Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Making a Lemon Battery and How Does it Work?
Making a Lemon Battery and How Does it Work?
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
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