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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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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'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.

Make a Techie Mother's Day Card

A talking card makes a perfect gift for Mother's Day. You can record a personalised message to say thank you for everything.

Tech Age Kids ran a Mother's Day workshop recently where kids made creative Talking Cards for their Mothers. Why don't you try make one at home.


Also See: Moving Mother's Day Card with littleBits

In this post we used a BeeBot Electro Mat as our recording device. We've picked up a few from eBay and it turns out they make fab voice recording devices for young kids. If you can't get your hands on one of these devices, we've suggested some alternatives to record a personalised message.

Materials

You will need:

  • Paper cardboard to make the base of your card - we used to pieces of A4 sheets to fit the 30 cm x 30 cm board
  • Decorative items to decorate the card. 
  • A craft cutter to cut out paper designs and your play buttons. 
  • Scissors, glue, pens, pencils and sticky tape
(Paint and bulky decorations don't work well with this craft activity)

Finally you need a device to record your message. We used a BeeBot Electro Mat as our recording device which requires 4 AA batteries.



What are BeeBot Electro Mats?


BeeBot Electro Mats are plastic mats that go under floor mats used by the older version of the BeeBot robots. Each set comes with a control box which can be used to make 4 short sound recordings. The sounds are then triggered when a BeeBot drives over the corresponding sensor.

The BeeBot's must have a replacement magnet door to trigger the sensor which contains a reed switch. The control boxes work with the older battery operated BeeBots so they are now cheap to pick up on eBay in the UK.

(You can also trigger other outputs such as lights and motors with the control boxes but we didn't need to do that for this project.)

The BeeBot Electro Mats act as a simple introduction to hardware control for young children. The control boxes can run on batteries or be connected to a power supply.

An alternative would be to use an Arduino or Raspberry Pi board and connect reed switches and speakers and write some code. But the control box allows a younger child to be much more independent with the project.

Another option would have been to use push triggered individual voice recorders which are used in soft toys, such a Talking Gift Tag available at Amazon UK or a bulkier alternative Heart Shaped Message Recorder available at Amazon USA.

How to Record a Message


QUICK FACT: The reed switch is an electrical switch operated by an applied magnetic field. The switch is actuated when a magnet is brought close to the switch.
Recording the sound is easy. You just hold down a button on the control box until a light flashes and then speak while holding the button down. The sensor cables are all colour coded so it's easy to check for the corresponding trigger point.

The sound volume is pretty good if you speak clearly and close to the microphone. It's not high quality, but that's fine for this project.

The recording is played back using a magnet. A reed switch in the sensor is actuated with the magnet.

How To Make the Card


Make the Base


Start by making your base card. Fold the two A4 sheets together to make a folding card.  Overlap the two sheets to fit the 30cm base and stick together with glue. Cut off any excess card.


Prepare the play buttons


Use a craft cutter or scissors to cut out play buttons for the card. These correspond with the coloured wires on the device, so you will need Black, Red, Green and Yellow.  This makes it easier for the child to know where they are recording their message on the card.

Decorate


Now let the kids get creative and decorate. We put out lots of decorative items, pens, pencils and crayons on the table and let the kids decorate as they wish.


Record your message


Open your card and fix the left side of the card to the left side of the mat.  Now glue on the play buttons to correspond with the speaker areas on the mat. Clip the sensors of the recorder device in place on the rear of the mat. Make sure you match the colours.

Make sure your device has batteries. It requires 4 AA batteries and the cheap options work perfectly for this project.

Have fun recording four separate voice messages for the card. The time is only about 7 seconds, so have a think and practice of what you'd like to say.


Make a Wand


You need a magnet to playback the recording. We used the BeeBot battery door (already in the kit) to make a flower wand.  You'll need a flower shape cut out of card, a wooden lollistick, decorative items and sticky tape.

Stick the lollistick to the battery door with sticky tape and stick this to your flower shape, decorate. Hand the wand to your mother, to playback her messages.


Happy Mother's Day


We've already had Mother's Day in the UK, so here is the lovely card I received, made by my young boys - heart melting stuff, I say!


Name

2013,13,3d printing,5,3DTin,2,accessories,1,activities,1,adafruit,1,adventure games,1,amazon,12,amazon fire,2,amazon prime,1,android,6,angry birds,1,animation,6,anki,1,app,18,app toy,4,app toys,8,appcessories,1,apple,1,apps,25,arcbotics,1,architecture,4,arckit,9,arduino,33,art,1,artificial intelligence,5,astronauts,2,astronomy,1,augmented reality,11,automaton,1,awards,1,battle bots,2,battling robots,2,bedtime,1,big kids,99,big tablets,1,bigtrak,1,bike,1,binary,1,birthday,4,bitsbox,1,black friday,2,blockly,1,blogging,1,bloxels,1,bluetooth,2,board games,7,books,34,boolean box,1,breadboard,2,bricks,1,brixo,1,buying guide,5,camera,4,cameras,1,card game,1,careers,2,catroid,1,celebration,1,cellphone,1,ces,2,chemistry,2,chess,1,christmas,42,circuit cubes,1,circuit playground,8,circuit scribe,10,cleaning,1,climbing,1,code clubs,1,code-a-pillar,1,codebug,1,coder,2,coding,169,cognitive learning,1,communication,1,comparison,1,competition/challenges,9,computational thinking,3,computer,2,computer games,1,computer science,2,computer vision,2,computers,1,computing,1,conductive playdough,2,connected toys,7,construction,40,conversational ai,1,cozmo,1,craft,34,craft cutter,3,creative thinking,1,creativity,3,crochet,1,crowdfunding,119,css,1,cubs,1,curiosity,1,curious chip,1,cyber monday,1,dads,1,data,1,deals,4,dens,2,design,10,design process,1,design thinking,7,digital parenting,2,digital skills,13,disability,1,disney infinity,1,dog tech,1,dolls,2,drawing,2,drones,2,duinokit,1,earth day,1,Easter,4,ebooks,11,eco,1,edblocks,1,edison,5,edtech,1,education,79,egypt,1,electricity,1,electronic pets,2,electronic toys,2,electronics,141,electronics kit,3,electronics kits,1,electtronics,1,elementary,1,elenco,2,energy,1,engineering,17,entertainment,1,ereader,1,ereaders,6,esafety,1,escape the room,1,event,21,ewriter,1,exercise,4,family,12,family tech,2,fathers day,1,Festival of Code,1,fiction,1,fitness tracker,2,flotilla,3,flow charts,1,flutterbye fairy,1,flying,1,force awakens,2,force friday,2,future,2,gadgets,36,games,35,games console,2,games consoles,8,gaming,3,gift guide,53,gifts,12,girls,23,giveaway,4,glow in the dark,1,google,1,grace hopper,1,grove,1,hackaball,2,hacksoton,1,halloween,12,halloween costumes,1,hardware,2,headphones,1,health,1,hexbug,3,hexbug aquabots,1,hexbug project,1,high school,1,history,26,home,1,home education,2,homeschool,4,hot toys,7,hour of code,3,html,4,humanoid,4,ICT,1,in app purchasing,1,indiegogo,13,industry event,9,innotab,5,innotab 3,3,innotab 3s,1,internet access,1,interviews,1,invention,4,ios,3,IoT,4,ipad,7,ipad mini,1,iphone,2,jacquard,1,japan,1,java,1,javascript,5,k'nex,7,k'nex robotics,1,kano,8,keyboard,1,kickstarter,91,kids,3,kindle,5,kindle fire,8,kit,2,kits,5,kodu,1,kubo,1,label printer,1,languages,1,laptop,1,laptops,1,last minute,1,leap motion,1,leapfrog,2,leappad,7,leappad 2,3,leappad ultra,3,leappad2,1,leapreader,1,learning,5,learning resources,5,learning tablet,2,learning tablets,9,leds,2,lego,36,lego boost,1,lego chain reactions,1,lego mindstorms ev3,5,lego power functions,2,lego technic,5,lego wedo,2,let's start coding,1,lights,1,lightseekers,1,little kids,110,littlebits,16,logiblocs,1,logic,3,logical thinking,4,loom,1,machines,1,magnetic,1,make it,2,makeblock,16,makedo,1,maker,6,makey makey,6,making,54,mardles,1,mars,1,mars rover,1,marty,1,math,3,maths,1,mbot,6,mbot ranger,1,me arm,1,meccano,6,meccanoid,5,meccanoid 2.0,1,merge vr,1,mews,1,michael faraday,1,micro:bit,9,microbit,6,microcontroller,5,microscope,1,microsoft,2,middle school,6,miles kelly,1,mindstorms,3,minecraft,21,minecraft mods,1,mixed reality,1,mobile,1,modular electronics,2,monsters university,1,morse code,2,mothers day,4,motion capture,1,motors,2,mover kit,3,movie,1,movies,4,mu,1,mu toys,1,munzee,1,music,10,my first robot,2,national dog day,1,nature,1,new year,1,news,169,news coding,1,nikola tesla,1,nintendo,2,nintendo switch,3,ohbot,3,ollie,3,on the web,1,opinion,19,origami,1,osmo,4,outdoors,13,ouya,1,ozobot,10,papercraft,3,parental controls,2,parenting,34,parrot,1,pc,1,people,8,pet tech,2,pets,3,phone,1,photography,1,photon,1,physics,3,pi day,1,picks,2,pimoroni,1,pinoccio,1,pixel kit,1,pixelart,4,play,2,playstation 4,3,plezmo,1,pocket code,1,pocket money,1,pokemon,4,pokemon go,4,poll,1,pre order,1,pre-teens,1,prehistory,1,preschoolers,41,primary,41,printable,1,products,34,professor einstein,1,programming,15,project,102,projects,11,puzzles,4,python,10,racing,1,raspberry pi,29,reading,12,reivew,1,remote control,1,research,3,resource,34,resources,2,retro,2,review,219,rights,1,robot,10,robot dog,1,robot fish,1,robot wars,3,ROBOTERRA,1,roboticals,1,robotics,32,robots,140,role models,1,role play,1,romo,1,romotive,1,root,1,rover,1,safety,2,sam labs,6,samuel morse,1,sandbox,1,schools,3,science,16,scratch,44,scratchjr,2,screen time,2,screenless,15,screens,1,sensors,5,servos,1,simbrix,7,skills,1,skylanders,3,skylanders superchargers,1,skylanders swap force,1,smart pens,1,smartphone,1,smartwatch,1,snap circuits,2,social media,1,solar power,2,soldering,2,sonic pi,1,sony koov,1,sound,3,space,8,sparki,2,speaker,3,speech sythesis,1,sphero,12,sphero mini,1,spider,2,star wars,6,stars,1,STEAM,1,stem,10,stikbot,1,stop motion,2,stop motion studio,1,storage,1,story,2,strawbees,2,students,1,subscription,5,subscriptions,1,sugru,1,summer,7,swift,1,tablet,2,tablets,23,tangible coding,2,tech,3,tech age,1,tech craft,4,tech is bad,7,tech is good,4,tech toys,21,tech will save us,10,technology,2,technology will save us,3,teens,61,teknikio,3,tekno,1,teksta,1,tenka labs,1,tesla,1,textiles,1,thames & kosmos,2,the extraordinaires,1,tim berners lee,1,tinkercad,1,tinybop,3,toddlers,8,toot-toot,1,top pick,4,touch,1,toy,1,toys,5,travelling,1,TV,1,tween,1,tweens,118,tynker,2,typing,1,ux,1,vehicles,1,videos,3,view-master,1,views,10,virtual reality,8,voice assistants,1,voice recognition,2,vtech,8,web,2,websites,1,wifi,1,wii,2,wii u,2,windows 8,1,wonder workshop,9,wowwee,2,writing,7,writing. education,1,xbox one,2,xyzprinting,1,
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Make a Techie Mother's Day Card
Make a Techie Mother's Day Card
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