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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.

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.

3D Model a Tower of Hanoi Puzzle with BlocksCAD


We've used BlocksCAD to code a Tower of Hanoi puzzle that can be printed and played with. This project brings together three of our favourite things: coding, 3D printing and logic puzzles. Oh and maths too, there's lots of neat maths.

This is good project for children and families who are just getting started with 3D printing. It's also good for developing logical thinking skills and using maths for something useful and interesting.

What is the Tower of Hanoi Puzzle?

The Tower of Hanoi is a well-known puzzle in which you have to move a set of discs from one tower to another by only placing smaller discs on top of larger ones. It's based on a legend that says the world will end when monks at a temple solve this puzzle for 64 discs and 3 towers. French mathematician Ă‰douard Lucas designed the puzzle in 1883. There's more information on the origin and theory of the puzzle on Wikipedia

When I was a child my Dad made a metal version of this puzzle (he was a toolmaker) and I spent hours playing with it. 

The puzzle typically has three towers and three or more discs. We've used five discs for this version as that gives you enough to look for patterns in the solutions.



Using BlocksCAD

BlocksCAD allows you to create 3D models using drag and drop coding blocks. It's a great way for beginners to get started with 3D modelling. 

We use BlocksCAD with Microsoft 3D Builder which is great for fixing up any probems in the model and can send models directly to our Da Vinci Mini 3D printer


See also:

The Code

The Tower of Hanoi is a great 3D model for beginners to create as it can easily be made from geometric shapes.

If you're not in a hurry to get to the puzzle it's worth doing the maths the work out the sizes of the shapes.

The base is a cuboid, we tapered it to add a bit of interest. You could make it thicker if you have more patience than us! The towers are evenly spaced cylinders. 


Each disc can be made using a cylinder with another cylinder cut out of it using the difference operator. (Code is only shown for two of the discs, the other code is similar.)



We gave the towers a 4mm diameter and put a 5mm hole in the discs to allow for easy movement.

3D Printing

We printed the puzzle in two parts on a Da Vinci Mini 3D printer via Microsoft 3DBuilder. It's easy to split a model into multiple parts with a BlocksCAD as you can disable the blocks you don't want to include from the right-click menu.

We created one STL file for the base and towers and another for the discs. This meant we could print them in different colours.

We chose clear for the base and towers as it was already on the printer and then gold for the discs to fit with the legend.


The Puzzle

The first step is to solve the puzzle. Then to think about the smallest number of steps that it can be solved in. I got my kids to make a table showing the least number of moves for 1-5 discs. My 8 year old quickly worked out how to predict the next number in the sequence. We then talked about how to work out the number of moves given the number of discs. This lead to playing around with the google scientific calculator.

My 10 year old was interested in the number of moves it would take to solve the puzzle with 64 discs. This lead to some discussion around really big numbers and what the 'e' means in numbers on a scientific calculator.

The Algorithm

You could also look into the algorithm for solving the puzzle for different numbers of discs. After trying the puzzle a few times for different numbers of discs kids discover the algorithm for solving it in the fewest number of moves.

You can solve the puzzle with a 'recursive algorithm', an algorithm that calls itself with a smaller problem - in this case a smaller number of discs. Recursive solutions are often very elegant though they can be hard to understand at first. Recursion is one of the cool concepts in computer science.

For teens there's a good discussion of the Tower of Hanoi puzzle and its recursive solution in the Khan Academy Computer Science course.

What Next?

There's still more you can explore with this project. Can you design a 3D model for puzzles that use more discs? How does the 3D model need to change? Could you design a parameterized solution. You'll need to think about how far apart the towers need to be if you make the discs larger. 







Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: 3D Model a Tower of Hanoi Puzzle with BlocksCAD
3D Model a Tower of Hanoi Puzzle with BlocksCAD
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
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