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.

Sphero Mini - The New Small Programmable Ball


The Sphero Mini is a new programmable robotic ball from the makers of the original Sphero. The mini comes in a range of bright colours which means it will appeal to girls as well as boys (thank you Sphero!)

The Sphero Mini is the size of a ping pong ball and like the bigger Spheros can be controlled from a connected app and also programmed with Sphero EDU.


Features

The Sphero Mini is USB chargeable, offering around an hour of play from a full charge.

The recommended price is $49.99 which makes this a pretty affordable robot for families and schools.

It comes in a range of bright, fruity colours which we absolutely love. There will also be interchangeable shells to change the look.

The apps are available for iOS and Android. You can play games using the mini as a games controller and control it in various ways from the app, there's also a feature for controlling the Mini using facial expressions!

Of course, we're also interested in the coding side and the Mini is programmable from Sphero EDU with the focus being on JavaScript coding.

Sphero Mini vs SPRK+ etc

So how is Sphero Mini different to the other Spheros in the range, other than the obvious size difference?

Well the other important different is that the mini has a mini price of $49.99 (compared with $129.99 for the SPRK+.)

Well it's not a sealed unit with inductive charging like it's older sibling, the mini opens up and uses USB charging. 

The mini can't go quite as fast as the larger Sphero (this might come as a relief to anyone who has had a larger Sphero bashing into their furniture!)

While the mini supports programming via the Sphero EDU app, there's no mention of programming with Apple's Swift Playground as yet. 

The mini also comes with mini-sized accessories: bowling pins and traffic cones. 

Verdict


The Sphero Mini gets the Tech Age Kids seal of approval. It's fun, programmable, portable and affordable. 

We really appreciate the range of colours and gender-neutral appeal. (We do complain a lot about most robots being blue and Sphero Mini is going onto our list of programmable robots for girls.)

Just one tip. It's small. Don't lose it. Seriously, make sure kids have a specific place to store it which they always return it to. 


Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Sphero Mini - The New Small Programmable Ball
Sphero Mini - The New Small Programmable Ball
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2017/09/sphero-mini-new-small-programmable-ball.html
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