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.

Den Building teaches Design and Engineering Skills


My boys ABSOLUTELY love building dens. Strangely it is an activity we're drawn to in the winter. The wetter and colder weather outside, makes den building a perfect indoor activity.

Over the years we've built dens using large cardboard boxes, bedsheets and blankets and it always seems to involve rearranging the furniture. At first it seems a hassle, but soon we get into the swing of things and the kids really enjoy the process.

Design, Build and Engineering Skills

I would, sometimes, build a den as a surprise when they get back from playschool or school, but mostly we build together. I think the process of choosing the right materials and where to put things, how they will be fixed in place are all part of the fun. What's more, the kids are learning design and engineering skills without noticing.

  1. Design

    - How would you like your den to look and what accessories will you need?
  2. Before you start building your den, spend some time chatting about how you would like it to look. Is this going to be a small den or a large castle with many rooms? Chatting with your child about the design of the den, will help asesss which material and tools you will need for construction. The design step in den building is really important to ensure it is a fun and creative activity and doesn't end up being a frustration because you don't have that large cardboard box or the right tools to make the bedsheet stick to the window.
  3. Materials & Tools

    - What makes good den building materials and tools?
  4. Once you have your design, you can explore the house for your materials and tools. Do you have everything to make this design work? If you find you don't, go back to the drawing board and make adjustments. We have found some brilliant tools (listed below) which will definitely make den building with kids lots more satisfying.
  5. Building & Structures

    -What type of structures are sturdy enough?
  6. Now the fun part, building. My kids love this part and eagerly help with building. You need to help them think systematically about the build process.  What needs to come first to make sure your structure doesn't collapse? How do you connect one material to another? We have used lots of duct tape and clothes pegs in previous den building  missions.

Keep the Den and Accessorise


Kids love creating small cosy spaces to play in

Allow the kids to build a den and keep it in place for several days.  We often build a den at the start of the school holidays and it remains in place for the week. The build process can often be enough for one day, and the kids really start enjoying to play in the den on day 2 and 3.

Have fun making dens this winter!
Be conscious of how you "accessorise" the den.  I have a vivid memory as a child, where my brothers and I set a blanket alight, because we added a lamp inside our den and it was touching the blanket.  Thankfully we caught it in time and no harm was done.

Products to make Den Building more Creative


We found some gems to help make your den building adventures even more fun and creative. Break away from the standard bed sheet over a few chairs and let your creative abilities make extraordinary dens.




Bildy Toys for Imagineers


Bildy, from British designer Jayne Bromfield, are giant sized ‘building boards’ and connectors, that allow kids to build life-size structures and let their imaginations run free. Kids as young as three can create a house, car, truck, tunnel and castle.

We love its gender neutral colours to encourage both girls and boys to play with construction. Bildy is currently running a campaign on Kickstarter, which only has a few days left, if you are interested to get an early bird product.

The Bildy Town App is a brilliant tool to connect the digital and physical worlds for kids. The interior designer in me, just loves the idea of building the structures using the app and then seeing those designs come to life with the "Mega Boards".


MakeDo Tools

MakeDo is an ingenious product which helps you turn the tons of cardboard everywhere, into fantastical creations. The MakeDo tool kit consists of a "safe-saw", "scrudriver" and "scrus" which you use with recyclable household items and cardboard to make your den.  We would say some adult supervision is advisable, but it's the kind of thing you can reuse and kids will get better at working with the kit.

The MakeDo Space Pod kit includes everything you need to make the space pod, except the cardboard. We couldn't really think of a better Christmas gift, especially with the potential tons of cardboard that would be left over on Boxing Day.

We also love that MakeDo is now working with the maker community and have designs for more tools available on Thingiverse which you can 3D print at home. You should be aware that some of the designs are still a "work in progress". MakeDo's free 3D printable files on Thingiverse, include a hinge, mini-tool and angle bracket.


PL-UG

I so wish I found PL-UG, when my kids just started making dens. The amount of times we fought with clothes pegs that just didn't stay put. This is a brilliant kit of connectors which helps to hold your bedsheets in place. PL-UG comes in small, medium and large kits, each with additional connectors.

We recommend a couple of small kits to give you the best value for money. The Small kit contains 2 x clamps, 2 hooks, 2 x suckers, 4 x grips, 1 x sign. The medium kit contains the same items, but includes a sheet and 2 pegs (we recommend using already available clothes pegs and bedsheets from home). The large kit has an additional rod system, 2 pegs and a sheet, but you still only get the same number of other connectors as the small kit.

The bedsheets are secured using the connectors without causing any damage and can be used both indoors and outdoors. I have added a couple of the small kits on Santa's list for my kids this year.

Crazy Forts

If you want to really get the kids thinking, Crazy Forts is perfect.

The kit includes tubes and balls (connectors) to create large lightweight structures. You'd need more than one set if you would like to get really creative with Bild Ogo and your engineering skills will be put to the test.




Happy Den Building

Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Den Building teaches Design and Engineering Skills
Den Building teaches Design and Engineering Skills
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
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