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.


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.


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 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 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.


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.


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.

Sam's LEGO Mech Lab with SAM Labs

SAM Labs make small wireless electronics components that are programmed by wiring them together in a graphical editor. They're a great tool for maker families.

My 9 year old has been wanting to make a LEGO Mech with motorised weapons for a long time. (A Mech is a robot vehicle that can have a LEGO figure inside.) When I showed him SAM Labs he thought they might be just the thing for his project. He was further inspired by the name SAM Labs and decided that he wanted to build the lab where the mech was being designed. The inventor is of course called Sam.

Disclaimer: SAM Labs have loaned Tech Age Kids some of their kits for us to test out. Opinions are our own.

Sam Labs LEGO Mech Overview

If you're not familiar with SAM Labs then you might want to take a look at our SAM Labs review which covers the basics.

The Mech and light up lab part of thus project can be built using the SAM Labs Make kit. You'll need: 1 x servo, 1 x motor, 2 x RGB LED and 2 x button input.

If you want to add the alarm then you'll also need a Proximity sensor and a Buzzer component. (Alternatively you could use the Tilt sensor in the Make kit to design an enemy detector to play a sound from a computer or just to trigger the weapons on the Mech.)

SAM's Mech Lab

My son created a backstory for this project with a robot inventor called Sam. This is SAM standing at the Mech console:

LEGO Mech Automated Servo Sword

A servo is the perfect way to automate a slashing sword motion. The SAM labs servo is mounted underneath the seat of the LEGO Mech using loom bands. Loom bands are great for securely attaching things in a non-permanent way. The power unit for the servo is separate and attached by a cable. This is just placed behind the Mech. 

In the SAM Labs software you configure the maximum angle of the servo. The servo will move when it gets input and then return. A hold block can be used to make sure that the servo always reaches its maximum angle even if the input is only momentary. 

The sword action is triggered by a SAM button on Sam the inventor's console. 

My son added a SAM Labs RGB light which also lights up at the same time and is triggered by the same button. He also experimented with using a toggle to turn the light on for longer periods.

LEGO Mech Motorized Saw

The mech's other arm is a LEGO saw. I thought it was going to be tricky to attach the saw to the motor, but my son quickly found a component from the old LEGO Knights range which fitted pretty well. It's not a tight fit but was good enough for this project. (LEGO Technic connectors are a bit too large so the motor spindle would just spin inside them or fall off. We'll be looking for more ways to attach LEGO and other things to the SAM Labs motor.)

The LEGO Knights connector allows the saw to be angled, but the motion is pretty crazy if you angle it too much and the mech would fall over. My son experimented with the effect and learnt some useful physics and engineering in a very practical way!

The motor unit is fairly large, but loom bands were up to the job of securing it to the Mech. My son was happy with the way the motor became the arm. Mech's are supposed to have lots of tech. 

Another button on Sam's console triggers the saw and another RGB LED under the lab floor.

Proximity Alarm

Then there's a SAM Labs proximity alarm which detects intruders. This is connected to a SAM Labs buzzer. The buzzer can play different tones and there's a Sequencer software component that allows music to be composed. 

A Sequencer component is used to join notes together to create a horrible alarm sound. A filter block is used to have the proximity alarm trigger when it detects an enemy within a certain range. 

We played around with adding a Filter to adjust the threshold when the proximity detector would trigger. This took a bit of trial and error. 

SAM Labs LEGO Mech in Action

Here's the Mech in action. My 9 year old is controlling the weapons and lights from Sam's console while his younger brother willingly played the part of the enemy and trigged the alarm. 

SAM Labs vs LEGO Power Functions / Mindstorms

My kids do have a small LEGO Power functions set which has a motor and white LED lights. This has the advantage of actually being LEGO compatible so that the components can be built into LEGO models, but it's bulky so models need to be quite big. Power Functions isn't programmable, you don't have coloured lights and the motor is quite bulky which limits what it can be used for. The range of LEGO power functions components is quite limited too. 

LEGO Mindstorms requires the large main unit to be included in the model and everything has to be physically connected. Mindstorms is great for big single models. But doesn't work so well for integrating into a LEGO project like the lab plus mech. 

For this style of project SAM Labs worked really well. The only wires are the ones from the servo to its power/control unit. This means that the components can be placed anywhere without worrying about how to physically connect them. 

The model of multiple components communicating IoT style is quite different to the central brain coordinating everything model. It was more realistic for the project my son had designed.


There's scope to extend the project using custom coding without needing to add any more hardware. Future additions could include:
  • coloured light sequences rather than just simply turning on a specific colour
  • turning the motor in the other direction
  • the buzzer could play extra sounds effects when weapons are activated or when keys are pressed on the keyboard
  • different speeds and angles for the sword for different attack styles


Well my 9 year old was very happy to build his long-planned idea. He really got into the back story he created about Sam the mech inventor and his lab. The small size of the SAM Labs components meant that they fitted well into a LEGO project.

My son liked the wiring-based software but got frustrated that he had to delete wires rather than being able to just move one end. 

SAM Labs components are expensive but they can be reused over and over again for new projects. I'd far rather my kids were designing and building their own tech toys in this way than just playing with pre-built tech toys. 

The project was a good mixture of engineering and simple coding. It's a great demonstration of the difference between a servo and a regular motor. My son had to be careful to make sure there was room for the servo arm to move freely. I helped him attach the components with loom bands to make sure they were secure.

Projects like this are a great way for my kids to make the most of their extensive LEGO collection. 

24 days of Scratch coding book cover and cute penguin

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Sam's LEGO Mech Lab with SAM Labs
Sam's LEGO Mech Lab with SAM Labs
Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
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