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.

It's Maker Faire Season 2015

During a conversation with another parent at the school gate, I mentioned we took the kids to a Maker Faire over the weekend. Her response was... "A Maker Faire...what is that?" Perhaps there are more people unaware what a cool activity a Maker Faire is with kids.

Currently based in the UK we attended our closest Maker Faire, the Brighton Mini Maker Faire on Saturday. We actually went last year for the first time, and recently I wrote an article on how to survive a maker faire day out. (I took heed of my own advice and we had a much better experience!)

Simply a Maker Faire is an event where makers, DIY enthusiasts and companies bring along their projects, kits and wares to show off to you, the participants. Every Maker Faire is unique in its offering, but you are guaranteed to try your hand at a variety of activities and depart with some cash spent on cool maker kits or gadgets.


We took our two kids, 4 and 7 year olds. There's definitely not a lack of things to do and explore during the event. We played a pixel chasing game, tried out soldering, made music using conductive paint, sketched around our bodies using a sketch-a-graph, put together a 3D-printed marble run, made fridge magnets with squishy air drying clay and so much more.

So you ask, what kind of things happen at a maker faire? Well, you could meet a maker, learn a skill, join a workshop, buy gadgets, it really depends on the maker faire.

Meet a Maker

A maker faire is the perfect place for makers and DIY enthusiasts to show off their projects. It's interesting to talk to makers about how they built their project and sometimes you can even have a play with their gadget. We got to sit in a real BigTrak made by a maker from Hitchin Hackspace. We also met a maker who made his own smartwatch and 3D printed a case for it, very similar to the recent O Watch I wrote about on Kickstarter.


Learn a Skill

We learnt a new skill at the maker faire this year - how to solder with Ragworm. For a very nominal fee my boys (and me) got to make a flashing Maker Faire badge. Ragworm set up stations with one-to-one instructors teaching kids to solder. I was so impressed my 4 year old was able to take part and actually made his own flashing LED Brighton Mini Maker Faire badge. Although we had to wait a while in a queue (a tough thing to do with small kids with no patience) it was a fantastic activity with my kids.  I even managed to solder one myself, shaky hands and all.

Join a Workshop

My boys were a little too young for the organised workshops, so Tracy's kids had a go.

(Tracy here!) My two boys aged 7 and nearly 9 attended two fab workshops at Brighton Maker Faire. First up was a LEGO WeDo workshop. LEGO WeDo is fab but they don't have it at their school (I'm working on that!). The workshop was really well run by Curiosity Hub and both boys were paired up with children their own age.

They also attended a Make it with Tech session in which they used the fantastic Crumble boards to motorise a craft contraption and add LEDs to it. They both did really well and one chose to try a light sensor while the other chose an RGB Sparkle crumb.

Craft, LEGO and coding are my kids favourite activities so they got really lucky here.

Buy a Gadget

If your kids are like mine, you won't walk away from a maker faire without some kind of gadget in hand.  Often the suppliers / makers will offer special faire discounts, so definitely worth bringing cash along and build your arsenal of maker stuff.  You will be able to see live demos of tech toys and gadgets.  Some stands ran workshops with their products which you could then purchase and try again at home.  There was really something for everyone's pocket so no need to feel you have to break the bank to get something for the kids.


We absolutely loved the day and were exhausted when we finally arrived home. Thank you Brighton Maker Faire for another fantastic event.  If you've never been to a Maker Faire, we really recommend you give it a try. Find a faire in your area on the Maker Faire Website and read our guide to survive the day. Share below your Maker Faire experiences.


Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: It's Maker Faire Season 2015
It's Maker Faire Season 2015
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
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