Monday, 27 June 2016
We've had lots of fun creating a coding board game over the past few months. Both my family and Elbrie's love board games and coding. We thought it would be fun to design our own board game to help our kids develop their coding and logical thinking skills. Yes, there are already some great coding board games, but we had some particular ideas we wanted to incorporate.
When it came to prototyping the board game, after trying a few other things, we found that LEGO works fantastically for the game, there's even an online LEGO coding mini game. We've developed our game with our 4 younger children (aged 5-9) and incorporated lots of their ideas.
Thursday, 23 June 2016
I studied computer science at university and remember Turing popped up in courses on the theory of computing, artificial intelligence and cryptography. I was interested enough about him to go and read Andrew Hodges biography, The Enigma of Intelligence, and I've been interested in the history of computing ever since.
The Fisher-Price Think and Learn Code-a-pillar toy is now available on from Amazon.com and pre-order at Amazon UK.
We first came across Code-a-pillar at the CES 2016, and really pleased to see big toy companies developing toys to teach coding skills.
Code-a-pillar is a caterpillar with nine segments that detach and can be put back in a certain sequence. When you press "play" the caterpillar will move forward, left or right in the sequence of the segments. Each segment will light up, so your child can follow the programme.
The coding toy is specifically targetted at pre-schoolers and introduces them to very basic computational thinking skills. Kids will be able to "program" Code-a-pillar to perform certain tasks and learn problem solving skills.
Available now in the US: Code-a-pillar.
Wednesday, 22 June 2016
Robot pets and toys for children are really popular at Christmas and there are some fantastic new products for 2016.
There are several new robot dogs this year. Robot dogs are a particular interest of my younger son who is working on Roby, his own Robot dog. But there are also some more exotic robot pets including a chimp, a toucan, a dragon and a dinosaur.
At Tech Age Kids we focus on helping kids to create with technology, not just use it. But, there's definitely a place for cool tech toys. These state of the art toys are getting robotics in front of kids in a very tangible way. They can be used as conversation starters about how the technology works and whether robot pets will be able to replace real pets in the future. There are some really innovative features in this year's selection. Yeah, and they're fun too :-)
Brik Book are at it again with new project on Kickstarter - Brik Tile. It is a 10' x 10' LEGO compatible tile backed with temporary adhesive to turn nearly every surpace into a LEGO building space.
We have a LOT of LEGO in our house, which mainly lives in their boxes, until the kids get them out to play. I love the idea of our LEGO working harder, by creating useful objects for the home, like a key holder or a mini shelf or a slot for important school letters.
There's also a BrikBuild application to design your own pixel art and it will even calculate the bricks you'll need to make it.
Brik Tile is currently looking for crowdfunding on Kickstarter.
See: Brik Tile
Tuesday, 21 June 2016
UPDATE: Funding Canceled: Stay Informed at thisisada.com
Ada is a new computer for kids that makes coding and controlling electronics more accessible. We first met Ada at the Brighton Mini Maker Faire last year and loved the concept. It's great to see Ada launching their Kickstarter campaign today. You'll see our very own Elbrie talking about Ada in one of their campaign videos.
You've all heard the story, today's 'digital natives' are just consumers of tech, rather than the digital makers that they should be.
Ada's format harkens back to the computers that my generation learnt to code on. (For me it was the Sinclair Spectrum and the Commodore Amiga.) These computers plugged in to a television and kids could really take control of them.
Sphero is one of our favourite programmable robots, especially at this time of year when you can take it outdoors. It's a tough spherical robot that is even waterproof.
Sphero SPRK+ is an updated version of the Sphero SPRK edition which introduced a transparent body and the Sphero SPRK educational app.