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.

Microprocessor Beginner Boards and Kits for Kids and Teens


In the last few years loads of awesome beginner microprocessor boards have appeared on the market. There are loads of choices for getting kids started with programming hardware and physical computing. We love this stuff! It enables kids to learn useful tech skills and also useful design skills as they make gadgets that make sense to them.

Beginner microcontroller or microprocessor boards can be used to create custom wearables and electronic gadgets. The often include inputs, outputs and sensors on the board or make it really easy to plug them in. This removes a lot of the complexity of soldering or working with a tangle of wires on a breadboard. The focus is much more on what you can do with the device.

We've tried lots of these boards now so it's time for a roundup so you can pick the best board for your child or their next project.

Tech Will Save Us Mover Kit - Age 8+

The Tech Will Save Us Mover Kit is a really simple and easy to use board which can be programmed by kids aged 8 and up (and with a bit of help even younger kids too.)

The Mover Kit is a wearable device that can be worn on a child's wrist or attached to a lanyard. It can also be clipped onto scooters and bikes. 

The Mover Kit has 8 colour LEDs and can detect movement. It's programmed in a simple drag and drop environment in a web browser. 

We love that the Mover Kit has been so well designed to remove a lot of the trouble spots in creating projects. A rechargeable battery is built in so you don't have to worry about power or how to attach a battery pack to your projects. The accessories for turning the Mover Kit into a wearable make it really easy to create an actual working project in a timescale that works for younger kids.


Strengths: Rechargeable battery, Fab for little kids, Awesome design and wearable options
Not so good: It's not a cheap device. It's functionality is limited so it's best for little kids. Can't add additional hardware.

The micro:bit - Age 8 through to adult

The micro:bit is a UK-based device which packs tons of features into a small programmable computer. It has now been released in the US and Canada.

The micro:bit is now widely available to buy for use at home or school. The new MakeCode PXT editor makes coding with blocks or JavaScript really accessible.

A ScratchX extension has recently been announced. You can also program the micro:bit using Python code.

The micro:bit is packed with sensors and has Bluetooth and radio communication. It's also really extensible via attaching things to its 3 main pins or using an extension board to get access to lots more pins. 



Strengths: Choice of editors, tons of features, extensibility. More and more resources are becomong available. It's cheap.
Not so good: No support for rechargeable batteries, the 5x5 LED matrix is a bit limited (but constraints encourage creativity. Not available internationally yet, but the list of countries is growing. 


AdaFruit Circuit Playground (Express)

The Circuit Playground from Adafruit is an Arduino compatible board with 10 RGB neopixels and lots of sensors built it. It has 8 pads that you can connect to with crocodile clips. You can use the pads as capacitative touch inputs that turn conductive objects into inputs which is lots of fun.

The Circuit Playground Express is an upcoming version of the board which can be programmed using a MakeCode editor similar to the micro:bit one. This makes coding really easy to get started with. You can also program it with Python as well as Arduino.

Note: The Circuit Playground Express is currently in developer edition so it's not quite ready for general use. If buying, check carefully which version you want.

Strengths: Pretty! Capacitative touch is lots of fun. Has a speaker on board. Affordable. HID support. 
Not so good: It's not quite ready! No way to display text. No on-board wireless capability.

Jewelbots - Age 7-14

Jewelbots are small wearable friendship bracelets that can be programmed with the Arduino editor or using an app. Jewelbots can communicate with other nearby Jewelbots so kids can send messages to each other. Jewelbots have coloured LEDs and they can also vibrate. The communication capability means that Jewelbots are best used in groups of friends or siblings. 


Strengths: Strong girl appeal
Not so good: Limited inputs and outputs

Quirkbot - Age 8+

Quirkbot is a microprocessor board with a built in rechargeable battery (there aren't many of these around.) It's designed to work with Strawbees straw connectors to create robotics projects. But you can use it without Strawbees too. 

The Quirkbot has a pad on the end of each of it's legs that can be used as a touch input or to connect additional electronics. You can also attach a straw. 

You can easily add a servo to add movement to your project. 

Quirkbot has a graphical editor that runs in a web browser. 

Strengths: Built in rechargeable battery. Comes with a project kit with compatible hardware.
Not so good: Few resources available

Let's Start Coding MakerBoard - Age 13+

The let's start coding MakerBoard offers an intermediate step towards working with full Arduino development boards. 

It's a small board that can be slotted into a connector board to attach additional hardware such as leds, neopixel strips and even an LCD screen. 

The Let's Start Coding kit includes a MakerBoard and accessories in a nicely presented storage box. What's fantastic about this kit is the educational resources that are available. There are lots of projects and lessons that teach beginners real Arduino coding in a browser-based editor. Code is provided for beginners to modify so that they don't have to spend lots of time typing the boring stuff before they can make things happen. 

Strengths: Strong curriculum and editor. Comes in a kit with additional hardware. 
Not so good: A bit bulky for wearable projects. 
.

Hackaball - Age 7+

Hackaball is a microcontroller board with lights sound and motion sensors that turns a throwable ball into a programmable toy or gadget. We've included it in this list as it's an interesting example of a company doing something a bit different in this space. It also has a rechargeable battery which is handy.

You can take the Hackaball board out of the ball so you can use it for other things too. The Hackaball is awesome for winter projects as it looks great in the dark.

Strengths: Rechargeable. It's a ball!
Not so good: Needs brighter LEDs for summer use. Limited availability. 

Roundup

There's so much happening in this space. Microcontrollers are one of my favourite ways of working with kids and tech. It helps children understand how the gadgets around them actually work and encourages them to make projects that are relevant to them. 

Microcontrollers are also a great basis for projects that combine craft and tech which we love. 

There are lots of great options available now and your choice will depend on your budget, the experience of your child and the kind of projects that will appeal to them.

Can't decide? For an inexpensive beginner board for older kids and teens that has choice of programming languages and is widely available, the micro:bit is a great choice at the moment, especially now it's available in the US.


Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Microprocessor Beginner Boards and Kits for Kids and Teens
Microprocessor Beginner Boards and Kits for Kids and Teens
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
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