Tuesday, 18 March 2014

ScratchJr Kickstarter Campaign Launched

We're pleased to see that ScratchJr is getting closer to availability. We're big fans of the Scratch graphical programming language for bigger kids. ScratchJr provides an experience for younger kids aged around 5 to 7.

There's currently a ScratchJr Kickstarter project running to get support for the completion and release of ScratchJr for the iPad in 2014.

My kids are in the age range for ScratchJr but they're both using Scratch. I think my 5 year old will love ScratchJr though, he needs quite a bit of help with Scratch and would enjoy being more independent. 

There are some barriers to younger kids getting started with Scratch. They might not be able to read well, and Scratch uses a grid with negative numbers, and angles of a circle to turn. But younger kids do have the logical thinking skills to do some coding.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Gorgeous Books for Tech Kids

There are currently a couple of gorgeous books for Tech Kids that are raising funding on Kickstarter. Both have high quality graphics and teach some introductory tech principles in a way that will engage children.

For younger kids there's a board book or animated eBook that teaches binary and has a geek Mom. Then there's the lovely Hello Ruby which teaches children the basics of computer science and programming with the help of a little girl called Ruby.

Each of the books is suitable for boys and girls but they both have positive female techie role models. 

Both of these projects have already reached their funding targets so they should be able to complete.  (And yes, I've backed them both and I'm looking forward to sharing them with my boys.)

Friday, 24 January 2014

An Educational Sensor Learning Board (Arduino Compatible)

There's a new Kickstarter project that looks very interesting. The Arduino Compatible Educational Sensor Learning Board has a range of sensors built in to a single small and inexpensive board and extra sensors available as add-ons.

Working with sensors is great for educational electronics projects. You can detect stuff that's happening in the real world and build some great stuff that does something. Sensor-based electronics projects are fun to demonstrate and very hands-on.

But getting started can be complicated. We like the idea of having a board that has lots of sensors and can be used in a range of projects.

This Educational Sensor Learning Board comes in several versions. There are sensors for detecting:
  • Sound
  • Light
  • Vibration
  • Magnet
  • IR (TV remote)
  • Motion (PIR plug-in extra)
  • Temperature (Thermister plug-in extra)

New Teksta Tekno T-Rex Robot Pet

There's going to be a new Teksta T-Rex robot pet this year. (Teksta is known as Tekno in the US.)

There was a new version of the Teksta / Tekno robot dog last year which proved very popular and just like with the originals of these toys we're going to get a dinosaur version.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Will Kids want a VTech KidiZoom SmartWatch? (And what about parents?)

VTech have announced the VTech KidiZoom SmartWatch, a wrist-wearable device for young children.

The device is due to be released later in 2014 in time for Christmas. It has a 1.4 inch color touchscreen and includes a 0.3 MP camera.  (It's just a prototype at this point so this could change before release.

CAYLA Interactive Doll for SmartPhones

CAYLA is a new interactive doll that girls can talk to. She uses voice recognition and speech generation technology to respond to questions. The doll is internet connected via a Smartphone (not included) and can access websites to get information.

CAYLA is currently being demonstrated by Vivid at the London Toy Fair.  The UK's Daily Mirror newspaper asks 'creepy or cool'?


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Snowman Things to Make and Do

January the 18th is World Snowman Day apparently. It makes more sense in northern climes of course. It was thought up by Cornelius Graetz who collects Snowman memorabilia. The specific date was chosen because the number 18 looks like a snowman with his broomstick.

We don't have any real snow so we're going to have to come up with some alternative ways to celebrate. And of course they'll be tech/maker-themed.