#Coding4Fun – Cool projects / robots to play with #kids and learn some #programming skills

Hi !

During the past weeks some friends asked me about some cool projects to play with robots with their kids. So I’ll share 4 nice products which would give you much fun with your kids. Remember kids today doesn’t want to only consume toys, they want to create and interact with their inventions with the world!

Scratch (Free)

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The basis for most of the project is an Arduino board, and if you are into the maker “way of life”, you know what’s this means: C code, low level tasks, etc. Most of this is NO WAY FOR A KID. So here Scratch raises as an interesting option.

Scratch allows kids (and everyone) to create their own games, interactive stories, and animations using a visual programming environment. Scratch is made by the Lifelong Kindergarten (LLK) group at the MIT Media Lab. You can try an online version here.

 

Let’s move to the robots and start with a cool one from Europe.

BQ Zowi (~ €110)

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Zowi has one purpose: to teach kids that technology can be transparent, proximate and fun. In addition to being a toy, it is also an educational ecosystem with an extensive pedagogical pathway. What’s more, it is an open source robot: the physical design, the code and the app have all been made freely available so that anyone can understand it and modify it. Zowi uses a custom version of Scratch for the programming tasks.

Programming: Scratch

Soldering: No

Controller: Smartphone or Tablet

Makeblock mBot Educational Robot Kit for Kids (~ €200)

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This is great to build a custom robot, like a robot tank or a three-wheeled car. The kit has everything you need to build your vehicle and use the Arduino based controller that is fully integrated into the Scratch programming environment. Now is time to introduce mBlock, an Arduino programming editor customized specifically for Makeblock products. The best version is the Bluetooth version that can be controlled with a smartphone or tablet.

Programming: Scratch

Soldering: No

Controller: Smartphone or Tablet

 

Ok, that’s it for Arduino based robots, let’s share some of cool ones which are not based on Arduino custom board.

LittleBits (~ 99$ to ~200$)

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LittleBits is a literal “plug and play” kit of circuits. Pieces connect magnetically, so you have something with lights, or a motor, etc. running in a flash. The best way to get and idea is to browse to the projects section and you’ll see some great projects. Is really cool for small kids, and it doesn’t require any programming skill at all.

Kano (~ 150$)

Ok, this is probably for bigger kids, but the speech line is great:

Let’s build a computer having fun like when we play with Lego.

And the best way to share this is with a Video

 

And that’s it. I’ll probably make an update adding some other tools we have like the Lego EV3, or other bots.

Important: All prices are estimates and must be used only as references. Some of them changes if you try to buy them from 3rd party retailers like Amazon.

Greetings @ Toronto

-El Bruno

References

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