STEAM Learning For Kids: 3D Printers For Kids

 

As a mom with a daughter in elementary school, I’m always looking for ways to encourage her interest in STEAM education. Recently, she came to me and asked if we could explore the world of 3D printing. This sparked my curiosity, and I started researching options that are suitable for kids. I discovered that 3D printing is an amazing tool that can foster creativity and learning in children. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of 3D printers for kids, what to consider when buying one, and provide some recommendations on what 3D printers for kids are available.

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What Is A 3D Printer?

3D printer is a special machine that can make things in three dimensions. You know how a regular printer can print pictures or words on a flat piece of paper? Well, a 3D printer can create objects that you can actually touch and hold. It does this by adding layers of material on top of each other until the object is complete. So, instead of just seeing a picture on paper, you can make real toys, decorations, or even tools with a 3D printer. It’s like magic!

 

Age For Kid’s 3D Printers

Kids’ 3D printers are generally designed for children around 8 years and older. However, age recommendations can vary depending on the specific product and manufacturer. Consider factors such as your child’s maturity, technical skills, and ability to follow instructions when determining if they are ready to use a 3D printer. Younger children may need more guidance and supervision, while older children can operate it with less assistance. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines and provide adult supervision for safety.

 

How 3D Printers Can Be Beneficial to Kids

3D printers can be highly beneficial to kids in several ways. Here are some of the key advantages. Overall, 3D printers offer an exciting and educational tool for children, promoting creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and STEM skills while providing a platform for self-expression, exploration and hands-on learning.

  1. Enhancing creativity and imagination: With 3D printers, kids can turn their ideas into real objects. They can design and print their own toys, sculptures, jewelry, and more, which boosts their creativity and encourages imaginative thinking.
    Even younger children can print objects like toys or jewelry from pre-sliced catalogues provided by the manufacturer.
  2. Hands-on learning: 3D printing offers a hands-on learning experience for children. As they design their models and make improvements, they learn about design principles, engineering, and problem-solving. This practical approach helps them understand complex subjects better.
  3. STEAM education: 3D printing is closely related to science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM).  While using 3D printers, kids are introduced to the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. They get to be creative and make cool stuff! It’s like being a scientist, an artist, and an inventor all in one. This helps them think about what they might want to do when they grow up. Even at a young age, they can start learning about these subjects and get excited about exploring more.  3D printing is a special way for them to get started and discover what they love to do.
  4. Encouraging critical thinking: 3D printing involves multiple stages, requiring kids to think critically and solve problems. They develop problem-solving skills, adaptability, and learn from their failures.
  5. Customization and personalization: 3D printers allow kids to customize and personalize objects according to their preferences. They can modify existing designs or create entirely new ones, giving them the freedom to express their individuality.
  6. Accessible prototyping: 3D printers provide an accessible means for kids to prototype and iterate their ideas. They can quickly design and print prototypes, allowing them to learn from their mistakes and develop a better understanding of product development.

 

What To Look For When Buying 3D Printers For Kids

When buying a 3D printer for kids, there are several factors to consider. Here are some key aspects to look for:

  1. Safety features: Look for a 3D printer with built-in safety features designed specifically for kids. These features can prevent accidents and ensure a safer printing experience.
  2. Ease of use: Choose a 3D printer that is easy to set up, operate, and maintain. Look for models with user-friendly interfaces, intuitive controls, and clear instructions.
  3. Size and portability: Consider the size and portability of the 3D printer. Compact and lightweight printers are more suitable for kids, as they can easily move or store them when not in use.
  4. Filament compatibility: Check if the printer supports a variety of filaments, such as PLA or ABS. This provides flexibility in material options for printing.
  5. Build volume: Consider the desired size of the objects your child wants to create and ensure that the 3D printer’s build volume is sufficient for their needs. A larger build volume allows for more creativity and versatility.
  6. Printing speed: Take into account the printing speed of the 3D printer. Faster print speeds may be advantageous for kids with limited patience, but be aware that higher speeds may compromise print quality.
  7. Printing precision: Look for a printer that offers a good balance between ease of use and achievable detail. Entry-level printers typically have a range of 0.1mm to 0.3mm in terms of layer height or resolution.
  8. Price: Consider your budget and find a 3D printer that fits within it while still meeting your requirements.
  9. Reviews and reputation: Before purchasing, read reviews and check the reputation of the printer model and manufacturer. Feedback from other users can provide insights into reliability, ease of use, and overall satisfaction.

 

3D Printers For Kids

Here are some recommendations for 3D printers for kids.

 

Entina Mini 3D Printers Tina 2 (Classic) – 3D Printers For Kids

3D Printers For Kids - Entina Mini 3D Printers Tina 2
3D Printers For Kids – Entina Mini 3D Printers Tina 2
  • Safety features: This 3D printer has an enclosed printing area.
  • Ease of use: This printer is for Beginners and children. Out of the box, completely assembled. It comes with a MicroSD card with pre-installed model designs. The SD card contains slice software for beginners.  The slicing software for different operating systems can also be downloaded.  It also has knob operation, one button in/out filament.  Also, it has one-touch auto leveling and printing function.  It also has flexible bed. The 3D printer supports resume printing after suffering unexpected power outages or when you stop printing.  
  • Size and portability: This compact size, lightweight printer is 8.3”x8.3”x11.4”, weight is 6.6lbs.
  • Printing materials & Filament compatibility: PLA, PLA pro, TPU filament
  • Build volume: The build volume is 100x120x100mm (10 x 12x 10 cm).
  • Printing Speed: 150mm/s
  • Printing Precision: 
  • Software and connectivity: Offline printing can be done via SD card. This printer doesn’t have wi-fi function. If you want a wi-fi function, next model listed below (which is newer version) has it.

More Info

 

Entina Tina2S 3D Printers (Wi-Fi Cloud Printing) – 3D Printers For Kids

3D Printers For Kids - Entina Tina2S 3D Printers with Wi-Fi Cloud Printing
3D Printers For Kids – Entina Tina2S 3D Printers with Wi-Fi Cloud Printing
  • Safety features: This printer has an enclosed printing area.
  • Ease of use:  This printer is a 3D printer for beginners and children.  It has compact body, fully assembled and ready to use out of the box.  It has no complicated settings to start printing.  It has silent motherboard, auto leveling, pause printing, one key filament loading/ unloading functions. It also has Quick-change test nozzle to reduce the printer clogging problem, greatly reducing the difficulty of replacing accessories, making the printer easier to operate.  It is equipped with 2.4″ LCD screen and Wiibulider slicer software.
  • Size and portability: This is compact size 3D printer. (11.3 x 8.3 x 8.3 inches)
  • Printing materials & Filament compatibility: PLA, TPU, ABS
  • Build volume: 100 x 105 x 100mm (10 x 10.5 x 10, 6.60 cm)
  • Printing Speed: 200mm/s
  • Printing Precision:
  • Software and connectivity: You can use Wi-Fi/MicroSD Card/USB with this printer. SD card allows you to print files directly from the card without the need for a continuous connection to a computer or other devices.  With Wi-fi or USB function, you can print directly using the app or slicing software.   The printer is compatibles with Wiibuilder, Cura, Simplify3d and Slicr3d. 

More Info

 

AOSEED X-Maker 3D Printer for Kids and Beginners – 3D Printers For Kids

3D Printers For Kids - AOSEED X-Maker 3D Printer for Kids and Beginners
3D Printers For Kids – AOSEED X-Maker 3D Printer for Kids and Beginners
  • Safety features: This 3D printer has an enclosed printing area.
  • Ease of use: This 3D Printer is fully assembled and requires no complex setup, or manual equipment calibration before you start printing.  It has a leveling-free bed and flexible, magnetic baseplate.  It also has resume printing function and offers silent printing. 
  • Size and portability: 17.3 x 18.1 x 17.3 inches
  • Printing materials & Filament compatibility: PLA, ABS
  • Build volume: 150*150*150 mm (15 x 15 x 15 cm)
  • Printing Speed: 160mm/s
  • Printing Precision: 0.1/0.05 mm
  • Software and connectivity:  This 3D printer supports SD/USB printing, enabling printing without an internet connection. It also has Wi-Fi functionality. It features LEGO-style design apps that make it easier for kids and beginners to design models. Additionally, it includes 15 gamified 3D design “mini-programs” to make the process even more fun and accessible. This printer also comes with 2 free design software programs to create your own 3D masterpieces.

More Info

 

Toybox 3D Printer for Kids – 3D Printers for Kids

3D Printers For Kids - Toybox 3D Printer for Kids
3D Printers For Kids – Toybox 3D Printer for Kids
  • Safety features: This 3D printer has an enclosed printing area.
  • Ease of use: This 3D printer is for children.  It can be controlled with simple one-touch functions. You can just browse through their catalog, pick something you like and print. There is no need to adjust removable print bed. It has easy filament loading and it is also designed to remove prints easily. 
  • Size and portability: It is a small convenient size. (7.4 x 7.4 x 9.05 inches, 6.6 lbs)
  • Printing materials & Filament compatibility: PLA
  • Build volume: 7 x 8 x 9cm
  • Printing Speed: 60mm/s
  • Printing Precision: 0.2 mm
  • Software and connectivity: It has wi-fi function. You can access their Toybox catalogue and print. New toys are added weekly and seasonally. You can also upload designs or draw your own designs using the provided app and tools.

More Info

 

WEEDO TINA2S 3D Printers for Kids and Beginners – 3D Printers For Kids

3D Printers For Kids - WEEDO TINA2S 3D Printers for Kids and Beginners
3D Printers For Kids – WEEDO TINA2S 3D Printers for Kids and Beginners
  • Safety features: This 3D printer has an enclosed printing area.
  • Ease of use:  This 3D printer is for kids and beginners.  It is fully assembled and you can get the printer up and running in minutes. It has auto bed leveling.  It also comes with pre-sliced models in their app. You can also slice your own model with the easy to use Wiibuilder Software. It has quiet motherboard. 
  • Size and portability: This small printer is 8.27 x 8.27 x 11.42 inches.
  • Printing materials & Filament compatibility: PLA, PLA+, TPU filament
  • Build volume: 100 x 105 x 100mm (10 x 10.5 x 10 cm)
  • Printing Speed: 
  • Printing Precision: 
  • Software and connectivity: The printer can print by SD card/ USB/ Wi-fi. You can control print wirelessly and remotely.  It is also compatibles with Wiibuilder, Cura, Simplify3d and PoloPrint Pro App. 

More Info

 

Final Thoughts

3D printers offer a fantastic platform for kids to explore their creativity and develop essential skills for the future. When selecting a 3D printer for your child, remember to prioritize safety, ease of use, and the potential for expanding their creative horizons. So, go ahead and equip your child with a 3D printer and watch their imagination soar into endless possibilities!

 

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Author

  • Isabelle

    Isabelle has been an entrepreneur for last 22 years in retail and educational industry. She is also a mom to a child in elementary school. She believes that when kids are curious and use their imagination, amazing things can happen. She is particularly interested in STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). She believes when children are encouraged to develop STEAM skills from a young age, they gain valuable tools to tackle future challenges in a creative, imaginative, and innovative manner. She enjoys researching STEAM and craft activities, plays, toys and resources and share with parents.

    http://steamandcreate.com Isabelle

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