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.

Gizmos & Gadgets - A New Kit by littleBits

UPDATE: Gizmos & Gadgets Kit 2nd Editionis now available and includes the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) bit and new littleBits invent app. The price of the kit has remained the same.

The littleBits Gizmos & Gadgets kit launched October 2015 and is available for purchase at $199.95. We took a closer look and discuss how it stacks up against our own littleBits sets and experiences so far.



littleBits is a fantastic tool to get kids (and adults) creating and inventing with electronics. A bit like Lego bricks which allows you to build anything from buildings, to cars and spaceships, littleBits click together with magnets allowing you to build anything you can imagine. The new Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is a brilliant starter kit for families looking to develop STEM / STEAM skills and encourage problem-solving and creativity.

What is in the box?

Firstly we really like the colours of littleBits, there's no deliberate gender selling here. This kit consists of:

  • 15 Bits (fan, slide dimmer, buzzer, light sensor, bargraph, power, servo, split, wire, DC motor, wireless receiver, and wireless transmitter); 
  • 47 accessories (from mounting boards, and mechanical arm to brick adapter,to add your LEGO bricks, and wheels); and 
  • inventions booklet (freely available on their website)
UPDATE: The 2nd Edition Gizmos and Gadgets kit lost the wireless receiver and wireless transmitter, in favour of the bluetooth low energy (BLE) bit, which allows you to control your invent with your device.

The Second Edition includes 13 reuseable electronic building blocks and instructions for 16 inventions.

Compared to our Premium Kit which contains 14 bits, the biggest attraction of the Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is the accessories and the wireless bits. The buzzer, light sensor and bargraph bits are also not in the Premium Kit, but then it contains a sound trigger, pressure sensor, pulse and roller switch (not in Gizmos & Gadgets). It seems all the bits will be available to purchase separately, however their individual price is such that we think you may be better off purchasing the kit instead.

I've printed off the Gizmos & Gadgets Inventors Guide to see how many of the projects we can try out with our own Premium Kit. Check back to see how we get on with our projects.

What makes this kit better?


We think this is a great starter kit to get you going with littleBits, especially if you are from a less geeky family and need a few ideas to get you going with your inventions. The booklet is packed with lots of ideas, challenges and customisations. The 12 projects listed vary from creating a car to a spinning lamp. The concept is that once you start building, new ideas will start to flow and before you know it, you've unleashed your inner inventor.

The accessories in the kit makes it a lot easier to literally open the box and start creating. You can see wheels and a platform, put some bits together and wallah you have a mini car. We think this is so important, especially for busy families than need an activity they can pick up and do and not spend ages to figure out how to make something with it. With my own kids I find once they have achieved the first project they are much more inclined to try something different.

The booklet is a fantastic improvement on previous littleBits instruction manuals. It is definitely does a better job in guiding you through the invention process, describing what each bit does and giving examples of what you can do with them. What's more they encourage you to keep on inventing and share your creations with the littleBits community via the mobile app.

We really think littleBits is fantastic, our only criticism would be the cost. Individual components are expensive to purchase separately.

UPDATE:
The new BLE bit now allows kids to connect and control their inventions with their smart devices and transform passive screen-time into creative making time. The littleBits invent app becomes a personal invention advisor and helps create a new digital experience.




A growing Makers trend

There is a growing Makers trend, and littleBits does a great job of fueling that creativity. Suddenly with these easy clickable modules electronics become accessible and less scary to work with. littleBits have a growing set of modules to encourage exploration of technology including:

  • Arduino coding kit (allow you to code your bits using the Arduino platform)
  • Synth kit (using KORG analog synthesizer to make it easy for novices and experts to create music)
  • Makey Makey Starter kit (use every day items at home to trigger sensors and control your computer)
  • Cloudbit Starter kit (allow you to instantly create internet-connected devices)

We are at the start of an amazing age of innovation. Your kids is most likely going to be doing jobs in the future, we have not invented yet. Why not encourage them to build skills and be problem-solvers and creators for a future we are yet to discover. We love the fact that success with littleBits comes through trial and error. It is only when you try, fail and try again that you will create something magical.

Projects we've made with littleBits:

Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Gizmos & Gadgets - A New Kit by littleBits
Gizmos & Gadgets - A New Kit by littleBits
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
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