NEWS$show=/search/label/news

Here's where you'll find all the latest news about technology for children. We love to follow cool new inventions on Kickstarter and we hunt out all the latest announcements about tech toys and gadgets for the coming Christmas holidays. You'll also get our take on children's technology stories in the media.

REVIEWS$show=/search/label/review

Our kids technology product reviews are intended to help you work out whether a toy, gadget or kit is a good fit for your child or family. There's lots of cool stuff available, but is it the right choice for the child or teenager that you are buying for? We'll help you make the right choices and get the best value for money.

GIFT GUIDES$show=/search/label/gift%20guide

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends assemble. We create gift lists to help you make good choices for kids technology which helps them develop the right skills for the future. We research the best in Coding Toys and Games, Making / Craft Tools and Kits, STEM/STEAM related gifts, Programmable Robots, Electronics Kits and Gadgets for Tech Age Kids and Teens.

PROJECTS$show=/search/label/project

Get crafty with technology. Here we'll post all our ideas and projects using technology to get creative and making with kids. You'll find anything from making a lemon battery to a glow-in-the-dark Minecraft sword. Our projects are tried and tested on our own kids or at events we run, so we are sure you can have a go at home with your kids. Some of our projects use specific tech gadgets which we provide links for you to purchase.

Hackaball Light Up Catch Surprise


Hackaball is a programmable throwable ball that kids can use to create their own active games. We've written a version of catch that keeps kids interested in playing for longer and makes playing catch fun in the dark - good for getting outside on long winter days.

See our Hackaball review for more general information about the ball.


Light Up Catch Surprise

"It's like catch, which is already fun, but funner." 8 year old
This game is played with multiple players and the goal is to keep going for as many passes as possible without the ball staying still for too long - either because it gets dropped on the floor or someone doesn't pass it on quickly. This means that everyone needs to pay attention and work together. 

What's the surprise? Every time Hackaball detects a throw it will change to a random colour. The Hackaball colours are gorgeous especially in the dark so this is quite rewarding! The ball will also make a Tweet noise so that you can tell it's detected a throw if the new colour is similar to the old one. 

The program also keeps track of the score - the number of throws - on a connected device. You can also play without a connected device, you just won't see the score. 

The Code

Hackaball code is created in the app and very visual so it should be easy to work out what's going on. 

The ball goes purple and miaows when the game starts. The two paths are active: one reacting to throws and changing the colour incrementing the counter, and one waiting for the ball to be still for two seconds which then triggers a rumble vibration and sound and ends the game. 



You can of course choose different sounds and colours to the ones we selected - that's part of the fun of hacking your own toy.

The Experience

Indoors

The game played really well indoors (with enough space and instructions to be careful!) the colours are gorgeous and the sounds are fun. It was easy to keep the app nearby and check our score and then try to beat it. 

We found that not all throws would trigger the Hackaball. The children were really interested in this and we tried lots of different styles of throwing to see what worked best, was it to do with speed, loopiness, was it the thrower or the catcher than made the different. We decided loopiness was important. 

For younger children and kids who can be trusted to throw gently indoors, this activity was a great way to encourage the kids away from their devices. 

Outdoors: Daytime

"I like the way Hackaball feels, it's nicer than an ordinary ball." 8 year old
We took Hackaball to play Catch Surprise at our local park on a sunny winter's day. 

Unfortunately we could barely see the colours in bright daylight, the vibrant colours that we saw indoors were very muted outside. Brighter/more LEDs for the next version please Hackaball. 

We could still hear the sounds just fine but we had the park to ourselves (the temperature was around freezing!) A louder speaker would be brilliant too. 

We also found that Hackaball got a bit damp when it was dropped because the grass was damp, this made the outer cover start to slip off. Hackaball isn't designed for use in wet conditions but it is splashproof. We haven't found the cover slipping when it's dry.

When playing outside we discovered that a long throw would reliably trigger a throw event - our indoor throws were shorter. 

Outdoors: Night-time

We've also played Catch Surprise in the dark (it's winter, so that's pretty early) and it's awesome! The colours look fantastic.

The promise of playing Hackaball catch even gets my younger son out on an walk after dark or playing catch in the garden on a very cold evening.

The only problem we found is that while we can see Hackaball really well, we can't see each other! The kids have had the idea of programming other light up wearable gadgets so we can see each other, so that's going to be a future project. 

Verdict

I did the coding this time to try it out, but my 8 year old has since coded his own Hackaball games - more on those and what he thinks in a future post.

I loved the way my kids got thinking about how a throw was detected. As it happens this is covered in the Hackaball FAQ "We’ve defined a throw as a strong impulse followed by a drop, or a strong impulse in one direction for at least half a second. The first throw is a hooped throw, the second a straight throw." This matches what we found - we needed loopy throws or long throws. Neat. 

My kids definitely play outside less in the winter when it gets dark early and Hackaball has made it easy to encourage them outside. Recently we were expecting a visitor and played Hackaball Catch Surprise in the front garden so we wouldn't miss them (who expects you to be playing ball games in the garden when it's below freezing?) My 8 year old said "Is this what it was like when you were a kid, playing out front?"

We were expecting Hackaball to be more of a summer toy, but our experience is that it's best in winter for indoor games and playing outdoors in the dark or low light. That actually works well for us as it's easier to get the kids active and playing outdoors in the summer, it's during winter when they need a bit more of a nudge and Hackaball is awesome for that. 

Hackaball: good old-fashioned outdoor play with a modern twist. 



Name

2013,13,3d printing,5,3DTin,2,accessories,1,activities,1,adafruit,1,adventure games,1,amazon,12,amazon fire,2,amazon prime,1,android,6,angry birds,1,animation,6,anki,1,app,18,app toy,4,app toys,8,appcessories,1,apple,1,apps,25,arcbotics,1,architecture,4,arckit,9,arduino,33,art,1,artificial intelligence,5,astronauts,2,astronomy,1,augmented reality,11,automaton,1,awards,1,battle bots,2,battling robots,2,bedtime,1,big kids,99,big tablets,1,bigtrak,1,bike,1,binary,1,birthday,4,bitsbox,1,black friday,2,blockly,1,blogging,1,bloxels,1,bluetooth,2,board games,7,books,34,boolean box,1,breadboard,2,bricks,1,brixo,1,buying guide,5,camera,4,cameras,1,card game,1,careers,2,catroid,1,celebration,1,cellphone,1,ces,2,chemistry,2,chess,1,christmas,42,circuit cubes,1,circuit playground,8,circuit scribe,10,cleaning,1,climbing,1,code clubs,1,code-a-pillar,1,codebug,1,coder,2,coding,169,cognitive learning,1,communication,1,comparison,1,competition/challenges,9,computational thinking,3,computer,2,computer games,1,computer science,2,computer vision,2,computers,1,computing,1,conductive playdough,2,connected toys,7,construction,40,conversational ai,1,cozmo,1,craft,34,craft cutter,3,creative thinking,1,creativity,3,crochet,1,crowdfunding,119,css,1,cubs,1,curiosity,1,curious chip,1,cyber monday,1,dads,1,data,1,deals,4,dens,2,design,10,design process,1,design thinking,7,digital parenting,2,digital skills,13,disability,1,disney infinity,1,dog tech,1,dolls,2,drawing,2,drones,2,duinokit,1,earth day,1,Easter,4,ebooks,11,eco,1,edblocks,1,edison,5,edtech,1,education,79,egypt,1,electricity,1,electronic pets,2,electronic toys,2,electronics,141,electronics kit,3,electronics kits,1,electtronics,1,elementary,1,elenco,2,energy,1,engineering,17,entertainment,1,ereader,1,ereaders,6,esafety,1,escape the room,1,event,21,ewriter,1,exercise,4,family,12,family tech,2,fathers day,1,Festival of Code,1,fiction,1,fitness tracker,2,flotilla,3,flow charts,1,flutterbye fairy,1,flying,1,force awakens,2,force friday,2,future,2,gadgets,36,games,35,games console,2,games consoles,8,gaming,3,gift guide,53,gifts,12,girls,23,giveaway,4,glow in the dark,1,google,1,grace hopper,1,grove,1,hackaball,2,hacksoton,1,halloween,12,halloween costumes,1,hardware,2,headphones,1,health,1,hexbug,3,hexbug aquabots,1,hexbug project,1,high school,1,history,26,home,1,home education,2,homeschool,4,hot toys,7,hour of code,3,html,4,humanoid,4,ICT,1,in app purchasing,1,indiegogo,13,industry event,9,innotab,5,innotab 3,3,innotab 3s,1,internet access,1,interviews,1,invention,4,ios,3,IoT,4,ipad,7,ipad mini,1,iphone,2,jacquard,1,japan,1,java,1,javascript,5,k'nex,7,k'nex robotics,1,kano,8,keyboard,1,kickstarter,91,kids,3,kindle,5,kindle fire,8,kit,2,kits,5,kodu,1,kubo,1,label printer,1,languages,1,laptop,1,laptops,1,last minute,1,leap motion,1,leapfrog,2,leappad,7,leappad 2,3,leappad ultra,3,leappad2,1,leapreader,1,learning,5,learning resources,5,learning tablet,2,learning tablets,9,leds,2,lego,36,lego boost,1,lego chain reactions,1,lego mindstorms ev3,5,lego power functions,2,lego technic,5,lego wedo,2,let's start coding,1,lights,1,lightseekers,1,little kids,110,littlebits,16,logiblocs,1,logic,3,logical thinking,4,loom,1,machines,1,magnetic,1,make it,2,makeblock,16,makedo,1,maker,6,makey makey,6,making,54,mardles,1,mars,1,mars rover,1,marty,1,math,3,maths,1,mbot,6,mbot ranger,1,me arm,1,meccano,6,meccanoid,5,meccanoid 2.0,1,merge vr,1,mews,1,michael faraday,1,micro:bit,9,microbit,6,microcontroller,5,microscope,1,microsoft,2,middle school,6,miles kelly,1,mindstorms,3,minecraft,21,minecraft mods,1,mixed reality,1,mobile,1,modular electronics,2,monsters university,1,morse code,2,mothers day,4,motion capture,1,motors,2,mover kit,3,movie,1,movies,4,mu,1,mu toys,1,munzee,1,music,10,my first robot,2,national dog day,1,nature,1,new year,1,news,168,news coding,1,nikola tesla,1,nintendo,2,nintendo switch,2,ohbot,3,ollie,3,on the web,1,opinion,19,origami,1,osmo,4,outdoors,13,ouya,1,ozobot,10,papercraft,3,parental controls,2,parenting,34,parrot,1,pc,1,people,8,pet tech,2,pets,3,phone,1,photography,1,photon,1,physics,3,pi day,1,picks,2,pimoroni,1,pinoccio,1,pixel kit,1,pixelart,4,play,2,playstation 4,3,plezmo,1,pocket code,1,pocket money,1,pokemon,4,pokemon go,4,poll,1,pre order,1,pre-teens,1,prehistory,1,preschoolers,41,primary,41,printable,1,products,34,professor einstein,1,programming,15,project,102,projects,11,puzzles,4,python,10,racing,1,raspberry pi,29,reading,12,reivew,1,remote control,1,research,3,resource,34,resources,2,retro,2,review,219,rights,1,robot,10,robot dog,1,robot fish,1,robot wars,3,ROBOTERRA,1,roboticals,1,robotics,32,robots,140,role models,1,role play,1,romo,1,romotive,1,root,1,rover,1,safety,2,sam labs,6,samuel morse,1,sandbox,1,schools,3,science,16,scratch,44,scratchjr,2,screen time,2,screenless,15,screens,1,sensors,5,servos,1,simbrix,7,skills,1,skylanders,3,skylanders superchargers,1,skylanders swap force,1,smart pens,1,smartphone,1,smartwatch,1,snap circuits,2,social media,1,solar power,2,soldering,2,sonic pi,1,sony koov,1,sound,3,space,8,sparki,2,speaker,3,speech sythesis,1,sphero,12,sphero mini,1,spider,2,star wars,6,stars,1,STEAM,1,stem,10,stikbot,1,stop motion,2,stop motion studio,1,storage,1,story,2,strawbees,2,students,1,subscription,5,subscriptions,1,sugru,1,summer,7,swift,1,tablet,2,tablets,23,tangible coding,2,tech,3,tech age,1,tech craft,4,tech is bad,7,tech is good,4,tech toys,21,tech will save us,10,technology,2,technology will save us,3,teens,61,teknikio,3,tekno,1,teksta,1,tenka labs,1,tesla,1,textiles,1,thames & kosmos,2,the extraordinaires,1,tim berners lee,1,tinkercad,1,tinybop,3,toddlers,8,toot-toot,1,top pick,4,touch,1,toy,1,toys,5,travelling,1,TV,1,tween,1,tweens,118,tynker,2,typing,1,ux,1,vehicles,1,videos,3,view-master,1,views,10,virtual reality,8,voice assistants,1,voice recognition,2,vtech,8,web,2,websites,1,wifi,1,wii,2,wii u,2,windows 8,1,wonder workshop,9,wowwee,2,writing,7,writing. education,1,xbox one,2,xyzprinting,1,
ltr
item
Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Hackaball Light Up Catch Surprise
Hackaball Light Up Catch Surprise
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fXZSi9jUiJM/WIdCQgOofJI/AAAAAAAADwY/SQOQTOyzpaIfW6vn_mq88s-a-tKIE_SlACLcB/s640/hackaball-game-catch-surprise-head.jpg
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fXZSi9jUiJM/WIdCQgOofJI/AAAAAAAADwY/SQOQTOyzpaIfW6vn_mq88s-a-tKIE_SlACLcB/s72-c/hackaball-game-catch-surprise-head.jpg
Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2017/01/hackaball-light-up-catch-surprise.html
https://www.techagekids.com/
https://www.techagekids.com/
https://www.techagekids.com/2017/01/hackaball-light-up-catch-surprise.html
true
15639169850959392
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy