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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Learn about Circuits using Electro Dough

Playdough is great for so many reasons and now you can use it to teach the basics of electricity to your budding inventors. Really, you ask? Yes! Squishy circuits, conductive playdough or electro dough are all names given to playdough that is conductive and with the addition of a few LEDs and a power source you have SUPERCHARGED playdough fun for the kids.

We received a set of Electro Dough from Technology Will Save Us which I used with my 5 and 7 year old kids to learn about circuits.


Out of the Box


I think it must be the designer in me, but I just love the Technology Will Save Us kit packaging.  The colours and images invites you to take a closer look and unleash your inner creativity. OK, enough about the pretty box, what's inside?  With the Electro Dough kit you'll get a power pack for batteries (not included - you'll need 4 AA batteries), LEDs, a buzzer, two tilt switches, crocodile clips, wires and 3 cookie cutters.  You're given a recipe card for the dough which you can easily make with everyday items in your kitchen.

The box is sturdy enough to keep as a storage unit for all your bits. You'll need an additional plastic tub to store your dough. If you make sure the container is sealed properly the dough will keep for weeks.

electro-dough-kit


The Best Conductive Playdough

We've made conductive dough before using a recipe from Code Club for a previous project - Conductive Playdough Pumpkin. Here we discovered lemon juice works really well and also preserves for weeks.

For today's project we used the recipe provided in the Electro Dough kit.  I made one batch using lemon juice and another using cream of tartar.  The kids were keen to see which one will work the best.  We added some bright food colouring - I use paste instead of the liquid food colouring as you get a much better colour without the liquid of the food colouring interfering with your dough consistency.

There wasn't any visible difference on the brightness of the LEDs between the lemon juice / cream of tartar dough. Tracy did a test with her kids using a volt meter, and they got the same reading with both dough recipes. The dough with the lemon juice was a little more pliable and probably cheaper to make.


Learn about Circuits


Before we started playing with the Electro Dough, we discussed how circuits work.  We've used Snap Circuits before so they understood that electricity likes to flow in a circle and if you break the connection, the light / buzzer will not work.

Learning about electric circuits can be great fun and at Tech Age Kids, we've written a lot about it. In simple terms an electric current (the electrons) flows through wires in a circle. A break in the circle (circuit) means the electrons can't get through and the device won't work. Electrons are quite lazy and they will choose the easiest route to complete their circle. So you need to think carefully about where you place your LEDs in your circuit to get the result you want.  Trial and error is part of the fun of exploring circuits using Electro Dough.


We watched AdaFruit Industries' great series on circuits using letters of the alphabet to teach about different aspects of circuits:


We made an Electro Dough Squeaking Mouse



The Electro Dough kit includes a small pictorial brochure, which the kids enjoyed using to test out their circuits. They very quickly figured out what worked and tried adding more LEDs, test out the tilt switch using the crocodile clips and discovering by adding more LEDs the sound on the buzzer became softer.


Soon the whole family got involved and we made a squeaking red-eyed Electro Dough Mouse. We used the conductive playdough (blue), non-conductive clay (purple and pink), the buzzer and two red LEDs. We discovered the buzzer was louder when we bypassed the LEDs.




Tech Age Kids Verdict


The Electro Dough kit by Technology Will Save Us, makes it really easy to explore circuits with playdough. The kit contains everything you need, you just need to add batteries and playdough. Off course it is possible to buy everything in the kit separately and it will probably work out much cheaper. Some tech savvy families may already have some of the items in their homes. If you do, why not make your own DIY electro dough project with the kids. We liked having more than just LEDs in the kit. The buzzer was the most popular in our house. The tilt switches are also nice additions and encouraged the kids to explore more ways to stop and start the electric current. You get quite a lot of LEDs as unfortunately they are delicate and the pins can easily snap with all the bending. Although my 5 year old played along, I would not leave younger children playing unsupervised with the Electro Dough kit, due to small parts and playing with electric current (it is not dangerous as it is very low voltage).

The Electro Dough Kit is available worldwide with free shipping for orders over $50.


Electro Dough - LEDs in series
Electro Dough - Pimp up my Ramp


Source: Technology Will Save Us Electro Dough Resources
Samples were provided by Technology Will Save Us. All opinions are our own honest observations of the product.

Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Learn about Circuits using Electro Dough
Learn about Circuits using Electro Dough
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