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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.

Teknikio Review: Origami + Tech = Creativity


Teknikio make kits for children and beginners to spark an interest in technology. Combining craft, design and tech is one of our favourite things here at Tech Age Kids so we were excited to get our hands on Teknikio's Activating Origami Set.

I tried the Teknikio Activating Origami set out on my 9 year old son who has done electronics before, including with papercraft, but hadn't tried much origami.

Disclaimer: Teknikio provided this kit for review. We don't guarantee a review and will only feature products that we can genuinely recommend.


Components of the Teknikio Origami Set


The set includes: several sheets of coloured origami paper, a vibration motor mounted on a board, a battery holder, conductive tape, mini split pins, colour-changing LEDs, 2 batteries and the instructions to make a vibrating origami penguin.

Fold the Origami


My son decided to start with the penguin model that you get instructions for. He chose red paper (there was no black or blue included.) He was a bit confused by the origami symbols. If you look in the Activating Origami Set Guidebook online the symbols are explained so we'd recommend having that open on a device alongside the printed instructions.  Once my son got the idea he was able to follow other origami instructions too and he even added his own fold to create a penguin tail.

Add the Electronics


Once he had made the penguin he looked at the instruction for adding the electronics. He has worked with electronics components before so he was comfortable with this but there's more info on circuits in the online guidebook.

My son carefully cut the tape to length (the measurements are in Imperial units, but he just found a ruler that had Imperial as well as metric.) The he laid everything out and realised that the tape was a bit too short (he had measured it correctly.) So he adapted the design a bit. He wanted the electronics inside the penguin rather than on the back so he was quite happy with this.



He needed help pushing the split pins through the paper and tape - I got out my sewing unpicker which is great for things like this. Everything worked smoothly and the penguin was soon turning around in circles.


Experiment with Movement


He wanted more penguin-like movement so we experimented with adding blobs of sticky tack to different places on the penguin until it moved forward which made him very happy!

His verdict: "I like that it's origami with electronics. Origami is an interesting thing to do. It's quicker to make it than if you're sewing."

Next he wanted to use the LEDs that are included in the kit. On the box they are shown attached to an origami penguin. He decided he'd like to try to add eyes to a model of his choice. He found a simple origami fox that he liked and made it. (You can find lots of simple origami animals on the Origami Club site along with animations and videos that are really easy to follow.)

Design Your Own


We experimented and found that the LEDs needed to be connected in parallel which was a bit of a challenge. He really enjoyed designing a circuit. The added dimension of needing to work out where things would be when the origami was folded added an extra challenge!

He decided that he wanted the battery hidden inside the model so that you could take it out to turn it off. He didn't want to remove the battery holder from the penguin model so we made this model without a holder using the second battery. (It's very easy to move the components between projects as they are just attached with split pins.)

We added some electrical insulating tape (left from making our real-world Minecraft storage) to our toolkit so that we could avoid short circuits in a small space. We joined the positive legs of the LEDs to where the positive side of the battery would side and likewise the the negative. We bent the LED legs along a fold in the origami fox.



My son was very pleased with the result and his younger brother was fascinated too. I think we've got an origami set in a cupboard somewhere. Looks like Teknikio is just the thing to get the kids interested in it.

Verdict

My nine year old says: "I like the creativity, it's not just 'make this', you can make other things too." That pretty much sums up the Teknikio approach. The kit does have a starter project to get kids skilled up, but then it launches them off to see what else they can do with the bits in the box. He loved that origami is much quicker than sewing or 3D-printed based electronics projects. 

Ready-made Electronics Kit

I suspect that this approach will confuse some parents who are used to rigid step-by-steps kits where there's a right way and a wrong way to make it. And very techie families will feel that they could source components themselves (note to those families: these are very nice kid-friendly components and work well together as a set.) This Teknikio kit is a great midway point between a limiting kit and buying a set of components which is a daunting prospect for many parents. 

Kid-Friendly Components

As someone who has tried lots of electronics components and kits with my kids I can see that a lot of thought has gone in to the materials included in the the kit. The mini-split pins mean that components can easily be reused or disconnected to save the battery. And the conductive adhesive ribbon is lovely. (We've often used aluminium tape, but the tape in the Teknikio kit is much nicer.)

Develop Kids who Tinker

Here you get a kit that has been designed to encourage kids to tinker. It definitely had that effect on my son. As soon as he perfected the example he was straight onto making his own model. 

The kits are recommended for age 7+. Younger children will definitely need help from parents but will love what they can make. Origami appeals to a wide range so the kit would also work well for tweens and teens who will be able to work independently.

Challenge Kids Electronics Knowledge


There's actually plenty of potential to challenge more experienced youngsters when you combine origami with creating your own parallel circuits as you have to make sure you avoid short circuits when the origami is folded.

Buy: Teknikio kits on Amazon




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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Teknikio Review: Origami + Tech = Creativity
Teknikio Review: Origami + Tech = Creativity
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