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.

Code Car from Let's Start Coding Review


Code Car is a new programmable electronics board from Let's Start Coding. The circuit board is in the shape of a car and has four buttons, four coloured LEDs and a speaker.

We've previously reviewed the larger Let's Start Coding kids are really liked the approach. The Code Car is a simpler and cheaper option for children aged 8/9+.

Disclosure: We received a Code Car for the purposes of this review. As always our opinions are our own.

Out of Box Experience

The Code Car is nicely packaged in a clear plastic box and comes with a cable for programming and a set of cards with code samples to use as a reference.



The packaging clearly says 'Free software and lessons at www.letsstartcoding.com'. You'd be surprised how often that information is hard to find! But here it's straightforward.

I got my 11-year-old son to try out the Code Car. He actually wants to design a similar board himself (but not a car.) and understood the idea straight away.


Getting Started

I didn't give my son any help. He worked out the website he needed to go to and completed the setup and found the lessons.

There's video content and clear instructions for getting started.

The Lessons

The approach taken is that kids work with real typed code written in Arduino C but they are given starter projects so they don't have to do too much typing.

There are 14 lessons plus a further project to encourage hacking (exploration.)

The projects have video content that explains the concepts and code used.

There's lots of information as well as challenges to complete and quizzes that test that concepts have been understood.

My son really enjoyed working through the projects, completing them and adapting them.

You can make the car stand up using a pencil but my son preferred to do things the hard way and get it to balance!


Hacking

My son wanted to program the car to play music but he understands musical notes or Midi notes as in Scratch, not the frequencies in Hertz used by the Code Car. He was easily able to find a mapping between the different representations so that he could write music.

He did comment that kids don't understand frequencies so it would be nice to have an alternative so it was easier to write and understand music code.

Difficulty / Age Range

Let's Start Coding recommend the Code Car from age 8+ (on the website) and age 9+ (in the product packaging.) Some kids this age will not be ready to start typed coding even using this approach, but others will. It will help if children are comfortable using a text editor. They don't need to be able to touch type but keyboard familiarity is necessary. They will need to work with punctuation.

My son spent an afternoon working through the projects independently. He's got a fair bit of experience so I can see how a slightly younger child would manage if they had the motivation.

Verdict

This is a really accessible coding kit which teaches the basics of Arduino programming in a really accessible way. 

It's a great taster of the Let's Start Coding platform which provides a way for kids to get started with typed code without the boring bits. Personally, I don't think there's any hurry to move kids on to text-based coding, but when kids are ready to make the next step the Code Car is a great option. 



Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Code Car from Let's Start Coding Review
Code Car from Let's Start Coding Review
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2017/11/code-car-from-lets-start-coding-review.html
https://www.techagekids.com/
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