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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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 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.

Wonder League Robotics Competition DIY Activity Mat


I've sign up my boys and their two friends, for the Wonder League Robotic Competition. We already have the Dash and Dot robots required for the competition, and will be taking part from home.

(The competition starts 17 October and there is still time to sign up.)

There is a handful of additional materials you need, one of which is the Wonder League Activity Mat. This mat is available to purchase from the Wonder Workshop Store, but we decided to make our own.

In this post we share how we made it, including all the materials we used.


The Wonder League Activity Mat needs to be 150 x 240 cm (or 5 x 8 ft), made up of 5 x 8 30 cm square grid.

Materials

I looked for a wipeable, vinyl or oilcloth type fabric for the mat. You can either try find a vinyl table cloth that is the right size or, like I did, fix two pieces of vinyl fabric together.

Here in the UK the vinyl fabric width seems to be 140 cm, which is just too short for the 150 cm requirement. So I bought 3 m of fabric and cut it in half (150 cm), using the width of the fabric to make the 240 cm length.

  • 3m of vinyl fabric (140 cm width)
  • double sided tape (for the joint)
  • whiteboard marking tape (for the grid)
  • electrical tape (for the edges)
  • rulers, sharpie (to mark out grid)

How to Make

Make the Mat

You'll need space to make the mat. Layout the fabric flat and make sure your first length is cut square. I chose a pattern which helped to follow a line.

Measure 150 cm and cut your first piece. If you got a little more fabric, don't cut the excess off just yet.

Now joint the two piece of fabric along their width. Make sure you have a good overlay and pattern match the pieces. Now fix them together using double sided tape. I used two strips to secure the join. Cut off the excess fabric.


Make the Grid

The Wonder League Activity Mat is made up of 8 x 5, 30 cm square grid.

Start measuring out the 30 cm squares from one end going horizontal and vertical from the same point. This will ensure you have perfect 30 cm squares. Use a sharpie pen to draw the lines. Once you've drawn the whole grid cut off the excess fabric.

I used white electrical tape to boarder the edge of the mat, to protect it and define the mat area.

Next I used whiteboard marking tape / divider tape for gridboards (2.5mm thickness) over the sharpie pen lines to define the grid more and hopefully make it last longer.


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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Wonder League Robotics Competition DIY Activity Mat
Wonder League Robotics Competition DIY Activity Mat
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2016/09/wonder-league-robotics-competition-diy.html
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