On top of that, when I grew up I had toys and games that were just that, toys and games. Kids these days? They have amazing, incredible, innovative things that are far more than just toys in that they are fun but also fully educational.
In fact, they are technologically-advanced, fully interactive miniature robots that can change the way that children learn and play — they are Ozobot!
An open-ended, user-friendly, extremely unique robotic system, Ozobot promotes social interaction, computational thinking, and confidence-building all in one teeny tiny package. While STEM-infused toys and gadgets are more and more commonly available these days, I was instantly drawn to the fact that Ozobot can be controlled simply by drawing colored lines. What better way to get even the youngest of children excited about programming!
This holiday season, it was the perfect time to check out the joy of coding with the Ozobot Starter Pack.
Including all the necessary tools to ignite the imaginations of children while inspiring and enticing them to play with Ozobot, we couldn't wait to open the Starter Pack (available in red or blue) box and take this tiny robot out to play.
Inside, we found four code-creating markers, two clear play surface sheets, two sheets of reusable Ozobot code stickers, a DIY blank customizable Ozobot skin and DIY skin sticker sheets, and a charging USB cable.
Have you ever looked at a robot and thought it was adorable? I haven't — until now!
I always appreciate products that don't require extended setup, installation, construction, charging or more before they are ready for use and Ozobot is exactly that!
I simply glanced over the Quick Start Guide and marveled at the sheer number of stickers, accessories and activities that were included in this set...
...and followed the 2-second instructions to calibrate our Ozobot to a large black dot (seen in the upper right of the above photo).
Then it was time to press the power button and set Ozobot loose to see it immediately start following any of the lines printed on the activity sheets. This cute little guy even changes the color of his lights to match whatever color line he is rolling along on!
While I was content to simply watch Ozobot zip back and forth along a variety of simple routes (what can I say? It's so cute to watch!), both Big Sister E and Little Sister B were more than eager to put their logic, programming, and reasoning skills to work to extend the experience even further.
We began by using the included markers to draw a variety of lines and designs, quickly realizing that Ozobot is easily customized just by changing the color, direction, and shape of the lines. The girls took one look at the Code Reference Sheet (showing which color combinations would cause Ozobot to do things such as speed up, slow down, spin around, etc.) and started drawing patterns and designs for him to follow!
At the same time, the ability to "dress" Ozobot in all sorts of ways with the various protective skins made everything even more enticing (and cute, may I add)!
Attractiveness aside, I love how simply playing with Ozobot led to the girls and I talking about how it can identify color and therefore the color sequences act as commands for it to follow. This little gadget truly makes it so that programming is not just for geeks, it's for everyone!
In the time since our Ozobot Starter Pack arrived, its appeal hasn't lessened one bit. The ability to do more simple or more complex activities with this one-inch robot has provided a huge range of opportunities for logic, critical thinking, problem solving, seeing how the idea for a sequence of commands can turn into a visual outcome, and much more.
Whether you are coming up with your own innovative paths for this enchanting robot to follow or are using the mission-based activities to figure out exactly what commands he needs to get from point A to point B...
...Ozobot can foster a love of technology for kids of all ages!
I can't even tell you all the fun that we have had with this amazing little piece of technology, so just take a peek at it in action in the great video that the company made to show it off!
To find out more about what Ozobot can do (there is a free app to extend the enrichment even further!), see why retailers and parents are in love with this award-winning robot, or simply to decided if Cool Blue or Lava Red would be a better choice for the child in your life to unwrap this holiday season, visit Ozobot.com and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The Ozobot Starter Pack is recommended for ages 6+ and retails for $49.99. It can be purchased from retailers such as Barnes and Noble and Toys "R" Us, on Amazon, and more.
Other than the Starter Pack I was sent from Ozobot in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about this product.