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.

MEL Science Subscription Kit Review, Now with MEL Codes


Science is a really fun topic to explore with your kids at home. It can also be daunting when you are not a scientist yourself. The internet is a great resource to find fun and accessible science activities.

However, as we have found, sometimes it can be difficult and time consuming to source everything you need to carry out an experiment. Recently we have noticed a number of science subscription services available for families. One such product is MEL Science Kit, which, once signed up, sends you two chemistry sets in the post every month to try at home.


Disclaimer: MEL Science sent us a Starter Kit and two subscription packs to try out for this review. As always our opinions are our own.

When my teen was younger we liked spending an afternoon doing a science experiment. It often took quite a bit of preparation to get all our resources and find out how to do the experiment. When I first saw MEL Science at the London Toy Fair, I thought a subscription chemistry set is a really good idea. Everything you need, sent to your door, and all you need to do is have fun doing the activity with your kids.

MEL Science Chemistry set is targeted at older children. We were really impressed with the quality of the equipment and materials. It made my teen feel like a real scientist in a lab. We will be looking at science kits for younger kids in the coming weeks, so subscribe to the mailing list to be informed.

MEL Science Subscription Kits are available from their website at £38.90 per month.

What's in the box?


MEL Science is a education subscription service. This means you sign up and they send out kits on a monthly basis. The first month, you will receive your "Starter Kit" and two experiment kits (Tin and Monsters).

The Starter Kit contains the main equipment you will need to carry out the experiments. In each chemistry set you may receive more equipment specific to that experiment.

We were really impressed with the quality of the equipment, packaged safely in a sturdy box for safe keeping. The glassware is laboratory standard, the safety goggles look and feel like the ones a real scientist would wear. There's also syringes, plastic cups, a funnel, plastic tray, solid fuel stove, and smartphone stand. We loved the smartphone macro lens and VR goggles included.


You can learn more about each of the equipment on the MEL Science website.

Chemistry Set


The experiment sets are packaged in a smaller box, hopefully so they will fit through the letterbox and you don't have to wait in for a delivery every month!



Each set contains the chemicals and additional equipment to complete the experiment. There's also beautifully designed experiment cards with basic instructions and information about the experiment.



MEL Science have a comprehensive online guide for each experiment including instructions, videos and scientific descriptions. We highly recommend setting up a mobile device or tablet (using the smartphone stand) when you conduct your experiments for a full learning experience. Here's an example of the online guide for the Tin Experiment we tried at home.



VR (Virtual Reality) and Photography


We really liked the inclusion of a Google Cardboard type VR goggle in the kit. It was amazing to see the molecular structure of the substance we used in the experiments. The VR goggles come flat packed, and are very easy to make. We had to use some super sticky glue dots for the final joint. Once you've got your VR goggles, they will work with all other Google Cardboard content. Try this 360 VR film about the natural parks in America.


The macro lens in the starter kit is fantastic. It clips onto nearly any smartphone or tablet and turns your device into a microscope.

We tried it on my Sony smartphone and daddy's iPhone and both worked fab. The macro lens suddenly opened up a whole new macro world and the kids went around the house and garden taking photographs of many things, like grass, the wooden floor and our Ruby dog's soft black fur.

Mobile App and MEL Codes


MEL Science comes with a free mobile app. When we tried the kit over the summer we thought it could do with some improvements and better usability. However, MEL Science have announced today, they are updating their mobile app to improve the experience.

The mobiles app allows you to see the molecular structures of the substances in 3D using the VR goggles.

What's more they will be adding new propitiatory MEL Codes to all their chemistry sets. This will enable you to hold a substance bottle near your smartphone and it will display the molecular structure of what's inside the bottle. The MEL Codes aren't QR codes, so hopefully you will not have the frustration of trying to get a code to focus in order to scan it.

We'll be testing their improvements soon.

Age Recommendation

MEL Science recommends their kits for 12 year olds and over. The content is definitely targeted to older kids and teens. However this doesn't mean younger children can't benefit from the experience.

MEL Science is perfect for our family with an older teen and two younger siblings. We spent an afternoon where my teen conducted the experiments whilst his younger brothers watched and learned and squealed with excitement when our experiments worked!

Younger children can also benefit from looking at the molecules using the VR goggles, watching the video content and taking photos using the macro lens.

We highly recommend adult supervision, as MEL Science sets use real chemicals and open flame. If you have younger siblings you may also like to purchase them their own science goggles, as only two safety glasses are included in the Starter Kit.




Tin Hedgehog Experiment


I can honestly say, doing this tin experiment with my 3 boys was a great family experience. Everyone enjoyed it and learnt a lot. We followed the instruction as per the online guide and didn't have any issues. Below are some photos of our results.




Verdict


We were very impressed with the quality of the kit. There is a good range of experiments, with 38 different ones, your child is sure to learn a lot of chemistry. We really think a science (and in this case proper chemistry) subscription service is a brilliant idea. MEL Science helps families explore science whilst saving time and effort in preparing the resources themselves.

We love the combination of tech and science, with the VR goggles and macro lens. The VR content of the molecular structure of the substance gives a real wow factor to the experience. My eight year old's exclamation when he put on the VR goggles says it all. "Wow, I feel like I'm inside the molecule!"

MEL Science Subscription Kits are available from their website at £38.90 per month.


Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: MEL Science Subscription Kit Review, Now with MEL Codes
MEL Science Subscription Kit Review, Now with MEL Codes
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