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.

Solar Power Kits for Kids


We think it's important for kids to learn about solar power. It's Earth Day today so it's a good day for a post about kits that help kids to learn about solar power.

In a previous Earth Day post we explained how solar power works and it's history. (The photovoltaic effect was discovered by a 19 year old which is pretty amazing.)


Why Should Kids Learn about Solar Power?

Obviously we're advocates of kids using technology. Should we feel guilty about all that electricity usage?

My approach is:
  • We have solar panels on our roof so much of the electricity we use at home, including that used for projects on this website, comes from solar power; 
  • It's great to do some unplugged tech activities too;
  • I encourage kids to learn about solar power and other forms of renewable energy. I don't think that solving global warming will come from using less energy, it will come from energy breakthroughs in the future. So let's give humanity the best chance of making those discoveries by educating kids about the technology of renewable energy. 

Using Solar Power Kits Successfully

This is going to be obvious, but solar power kits need the sun to work well! It can be really disappointing to try a project on a dull, overcast day in England ... 

If you live somewhere that's sunny all year round then you won't have to worry too much, but if like us you can't rely on the weather, then you might want to think ahead before you get kids excited about their new solar power kit. 

Most kits do support an alternative power source so that they can still be used in the winter or in the evening, and you can use a lamp to power the solar panels, but kids will be keen to use the power of the sun initially - that's the point! 

Solar Power kits are great for taking outdoors when the sun is shining. Once kids are confident that the solar panel actually works well in good sunlight then you can experiment to see how little sun you can get away with. 

Solar Power Kits for Kids

We've previously written a detailed review of the Solar Recycler Robot kit so check that out as well.

Thames & Kosmos have a great range of science kits for children. This kit helps kids understand how solar power works. You get instructions for building five different solar powered models. Note that the construction pieces are compatible with the rest of the Thames & Kosmos range so you can reuse them in other projects.

We really like the variety of models in this kit, as well as helicopter, there's a moon buggy and a stag beetle.

Snap Circuits have been bringing out excellent updated kits in recent years including this Alternative Energy themed set. Kids can learn lots about electronic circuits with the set while also learning about renewable energy.

The set includes a solar panel, but we really like that you also get a hand crank - a really concrete way for kids to understand about energy!

We've reviewed Snap Circuits before, and the quality and educational projects are great. The Alternative Energy set includes 125 projects. It's a great format for kids who love to carefully follow instructions.



The SolarLab 1.0 is a really professional and grown-up looking kit which is aimed at children aged 12+. This is a comprehensive kit which comes with a curriculum that covers the history and theory of solar power as well as including 10 projects for tweens and teens to work through.

There's a multimeter included in the set which can be used for other electronics projects too. This is a well put together kit which would be great for teenagers or families who want to learn together. You can also build a solar powered battery charger which is a great feature.



If you're able to take a more home-made approach with investigating solar power with your kids then you should take a look at Nick and Tesla's Solar-Powered Showdown: A Mystery with Sun-Powered Gadgets You Can Build Yourself.

This is a story book that includes fab science projects that can be built using easy to get hold of materials. The hard cover edition of this book is available for pre-order now for release in May 2016, just in time for the sun!

Nick and Tesla's Solar-Powered Showdown is the latest in a series of great tech-themed adventures with practical projects so check out the rest of the series too.


Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Solar Power Kits for Kids
Solar Power Kits for Kids
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2016/04/solar-power-kits-for-kids.html
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