Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Craft Kits, Tinkering and Making Gifts for Little Kids Aged 5, 6, 7

At Tech Age Kids, we believe it is really important for children to continue to engage in craft activities beyond their toddler and early years. The increasing distraction of more exciting (screen-based) activities means children today spend less time developing physical skills, like cutting, tinkering, drawing, molding and constructing.

As children grow they become more able to use craft tools and learn more physical making skills. We've put together a carefully curated gift guide for children who like to craft, tinker and make (and those that need some encouragement to develop these skills.) Because it's Tech Age Kids, we've narrowed down the vast array of choice to ones with a techie edge.

  1. 3D Printing with 3Doodler Start

    3D printing is a modern craft tool that is becoming more accessible to families and the home due to the reduction in cost and software that is easier for children and amateurs to use. The 3Doodler Start 3D Printing Pen is our choice for this age group because it is specifically designed with small people in mind. It's not a 3D printer but uses the same principles to draw and make in 3D. It takes a bit of getting used to creating drawings that your child can peel off the paper and then hang up!

  2. Play dough moulding with Dough Universe/Electro dough

    Play dough is a classic craft activity for young kids. As they grow older you can introduce electronics and discover soft circuits with Electro dough from Tech Will Save Us. The Dough Universe is made up of 3 packs that explore electronics that make things light up, move and make sound. These are well-made kits that can breathe new life into an age-old activity.

    Buy: Dough Universe is available from Tech Will Save Us Online Shop.

  3. Cardboard Construction with MAKEDO

    With modern life, comes Amazon deliveries which provide brilliant material for construction projects - Cardboard! We used to call it junk modeling and made all sorts of toys and structures out of junk. Thankfully with MAKEDO construction kits, you can save rolls of sticky tape and kids can learn some basic construction skills using the screws and connectors in the kit. We love Make Do Kits at Tech Age Kids and have written a number of posts and reviews about the product.

    • See our reviews and projects we'd made using MakeDo.

  4. Blocks or Bricks Construction

    Building things are so important at this age and there is plenty of choice in terms of construction bricks and blocks. It's useful to stick to a couple types so that you can build up the number of construction blocks or bricks. Choose something that will encourage building by following instructions and has enough flexibility to allow creative free play. When my kids were this age we have wooden blocks and LEGO. We still have Duplo LEGO which makes a great tool to build quick stands for stop-motion animation or mazes for robots. Simple wooden blocks can later be used to build chain reaction machines, which my youngest is really getting into now.

  5. Pixel Art with Simbrix

    At this age, there is a big range of kids' fine motor skills. One product we love to develop this skill is Simbrix. It's a bit like Hama beads without the pain of having to iron the plastic beads. The 'bricks' slot together like a puzzle and you can make any 2D pixel art creation. The bricks are reusable as you don't need to iron them to keep them together. It's the type of skill a child of this age may find frustrating at first, but with a little bit of patience and perseverance will reap great rewards. I often take Simbrix out for a quiet afternoon activity when everyone just needs some downtime. As with most of these things, the more bricks you have the more you can make with it. In my opinion it's well worth the investment and a 'toy' your kids will come back to year after year.

  6. Cutting Skills with Scissors and Cutting Stamps

    Young kids are fascinated with cutting, but really they need to be a little older to really master the skill. Just having a pair of scissors available with paper that can be cut is a good start. If your child (like my son) is left-handed, it is well worth investing in left-handed scissors at this age. It's frustrating to cut when the tool doesn't work well. With this in mind, I also buy 'proper' scissors and not plastic kiddie ones. Scissors are sharp and should be used under adult supervision, but as your child skill develop they will thank you for sharp scissors! Try resisting the urge to do cutting for your child. Rather do your own cutting alongside them. Encourage them to draw a shape on paper and cut on the line, this will develop their precision cutting which will be useful when they are older.
    We also use shape punchers, to cut neat shapes, which is great for this age.

  7. Craft and Tinkering Kits by Kiwi Crate

    We love the idea of ready-made kits that come with everything you need. Kiwi Crate is a subscription craft and tinkering kit that you can buy per month or subscribe for a whole year. It works out slightly cheaper per kit to buy an annual subscription. The beauty of Kiwi Crate is that you don't have to think about it. Every month a box is delivered with the materials needed to complete the project. Kids get an opportunity to explore a variety of different skills. Their kits are age appropriate and high quality. You definitely get what you pay for here.

Take a trip to your local Arts & Craft store to help kids get ideas of things they like to make. Buying kits is a good way to get started and you don't have to think too much about everything you need. My kids love a browse in a craft shop and I always try to encourage them to choose something they haven't tried before if they don't already have an idea of what they want to make.

There are plenty of retail stores, physical and online to buy arts and crafts material from. Our favourites include Baker Ross, Hobby Craft, The Works (UK only).
Amazon is always a good option for craft material, Craft Courses by Creative Bugs for kids if you need some instruction and Crayola for good quality materials.

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