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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Arckit Lighting - Realistic lighting with LEDs and Coin Cell Batteries


In this project we've added some realistic lighting to an Arckit construciton model. We've previously added some fun, educational lighting using the Circuit Playground and BBC micro:bit beginner electronics boards. This time we wanted to use electronics components that would look realistic.

The Arckit Model

We used the Arckit two-storey building that we used for our 3D printed floors and craft cutter textures projects. The approaches are customisable and can be extended to any Arckit model. 

Sourcing Electronics Components

Arckit is at a 1:48 scale so we needed to find some small but easy to work with electronics components.

We tried three different approaches in this building to see what works.
  1. We found some small LED backlight panels. These are normally used to illuminate screens but are also available individually for electronics projects. They have a bright LED inside a white panel which disperses the light and looks like a florescent lighting unit. 
  2. Adafruit LED sequins. These small LEDs are designed to be sewn into wearable electronics projects. They are tiny but bright and easily work at the Arckit scale. 
We also used some small white switches so that we could turn the lighting on and off within the Arckit house. They're not quite at the Arckit scale but we liked the look of them.

For connecting the components we used two techniques:
  1. Conductive tape. We went for thin aluminium tape as it blends in better than copper tape. If you don't want to see the wiring you could cover it. 


LED Light panels

We used two 45mm 3V LED light panels in the roof of the Arckit model. We also placed a coin cell to one side of the roof and used conductive tape to add a light switch to control the circuit. 

We routed the tape along the walls and across the floor underneath our 3D printed false floor. 

We used double sided tape to stick the components to the Arckit roof and wall and clear sticky tape to fix the battery in place.

A coin cell battery holder would help to make a good connection and make it easy to change the battery. We'll use one next time.

Components

Wiring(tape) under floor

Battery in roof

Silver conductive tape as wiring


Adafruit Sequins

Adafruit sequins come in a variety of colours but we chose warm white for this project for a realistic effect. 

We used the Adafruit sequins for the downstairs lighting. We used wire to connect two sequins in parallel, again using a switch to turn them on and off.

We attached the sequins to Arckit floor connectors using tiny adhesive pads so that they can easily be attached to the ceiling. We could 3D print a lighting cover to hide the wiring. 

This time we took the wires under the floor and connected to a coin cell battery which neatly fits underneath the building.

Components

Wiring LEDs in parallel

Adding a switch

LEDs in situ

Battery under floor



Verdict

We'll be using a combination of these techniques in future Arckit projects. 

We had success with both conductive tape and coated wire. Conductive tape is great if you want to hide it. The wire is good for reusable electronics that you can move from project to project. 

It's good to have a choice of electronics components to suit different projects. Electronics components designed for paper circuits and sewable circuits work really well as you don't need to worry about resistors when working with 3V coins cell batteries. We also really liked the LED panels. 

Of course you can also combine these components with a microprocessor such as Arduino or the Circuit Playground and BBC micro:bit beginner boards that we used in previous projects.

Perfect fit

Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Arckit Lighting - Realistic lighting with LEDs and Coin Cell Batteries
Arckit Lighting - Realistic lighting with LEDs and Coin Cell Batteries
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2019/03/arckit-lighting-realistic-lighting-with.html
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