Sounds cool doesn’t it? It’s almost a futuristic word to many of us – Robotics!!! When I hear it brings my mind back to 1980s films like Batteries Not Included and Short Circuit. At that time it was an aspirational phenomenon wasn’t it? It was hard to believe that one day there would be robots carrying out daily tasks for us. Robots would be ironing, cleaning, vacuuming the carpets. Today, robotics is a rapidly growing field. As technological advances continue, designing and programming robots serve various domestic and commercial roles. When it comes to robot programming for kids – in the area of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), robotics is used largely as a teaching aid. With this in mind let’s look at one of this year’s hot products.
Robot Programming for Kids with Dash and Dot
Wonder Workshop’s Dash and Dot are real robots that can teach your kids to code while they play. Using free apps, among others, with a compatible iOS or Android tablet/smartphone, kids can connect pieces of code together and engage in lots of robot programming exercises. Dash is ready to move, dance, sing out of the box. Kids will love him.
Dot, on the other hand, is the brain – the “smarts of a robot”. Up and coming robot programming enthusiasts have the power to create gadgets and games with Dot, while the ability to expand its capabilities through accessories (not included) are seemingly limitless.
Let’s drill down into the details. These robots are made from high quality parts that are very sturdy and should be able to survive any unfortunate incidents falling down carpeted stairs or similar activities. Don’t get too carried away with them though! They will connect to your smart devices using Bluetooth Smart 4 / LE, not WIFI. This is important to bear in mind as some tablets cannot support this. Best to check with the device compatibility list on the Wonder Workshop Website.
Apps are available for Android but they are not as completely developed as the iOS versions. The updates/setup take a while, so I’d recommend getting that all done a day or two before if you are planning to give Dash and/or Dot as a gift. There is simplicity and depth within the software used. If your child is a process-driven kid then make sure you download the Wonder, Blockly and Path apps, which include projects and similar activities to hold their interest. Wonder Workshop have updated these apps with significant new features and added functionality to both robots with no apparent glitches. They appear to be committed to making great products for kids with no hassle for parents – a positive attitude toward education.
To buy or not to buy?
The Dash and Dot robot programming for kids pack is quite a good choice if you are really invested in your child learning coding . It probably would not be the best product to buy for your 5 year old who is just starting on the voyage of coding and programming. This is not to say that a child younger than 7 could not enjoy playing with it along with some adult supervision however. I would recommend that it would be best for slightly older kids, around age 8, who are already excited about programming. I may have to arm wrestle my child to get my iPad back!