My kids love playing games, and I love playing games with them. I’ve always been a big fan of board games ever since I was little, and that love has transferred over to the boys. We have a wide selection of games, some that are classics, and some that are more unique. I also love games and toys that are educational, especially when the boys have no clue that they are actually learning.
With all the technology available today, its not like it was when I was growing up. Computers were not a household thing until I was an adult (and Mom). Not every household owned a video game console, or a VCR, or even a Cable TV subscription. There were no kids only TV channels, cell phones, or the internet. Technology has changed, and with it the way we live our lives has changed. Now most homes have a computer, some sort of a video game console, a cell phone or tablet. What do these all have in common? Coding.
What is coding? Coding is the transferring of data into a form that your computer can understand. Programming your DVR to record Supernatural is coding. Using your calculator to figure out your budget is also coding. Because of our growing technology, its important for kids to be exposed to coding early.
One of the best toys I have seen this year is the Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set. New for 2016, The Robot Mouse Coding set uses STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) to teach coding in a fun and simple way. Its visual, its interactive and its engaging. The kids don’t know they are learning, but they do know they are having fun.
What can using a programmable robot teach?
- Problem solving
- Self-correcting errors
- Critical thinking
- Analytical thinking
- If-then logic
- Working collaboratively with others
- Discussion and communication skills
- Calculation distance
- Spatial concepts
- 30 Coding cards
- 22 Maze walls
- 16 Maze grid pieces that connect to form a large board
- 10 Double-sided Activity Cards
- 3 Tunnels
- 1 Robot mouse (Colby)
- 1 Cheese Wedge
- Not included: 3 AAA Batteries
Play is easy. You assemble the 16 grid pieces any way you want. You can make a large square, or you can be creative and put it together however you want. To make is easy (for me) we put it together as a square.
The Activity Cards start from very easy and increase in difficulty. As the cards increase in difficulty, the kids are gaining more logic and critical learning skills. Once the kids have mastered the cards, they can use their imaginations and create their own mazes. We picked a card, and created our maze by inserting the maze walls into the lines on the board. We finished our maze by placing the cheese as pictured in our card.
Next we needed to program Colby (the mouse) to work his way through the maze to get to the cheese. This is where Learning Resources makes it easy. Using the coding cards (which are colour coordinated to match the buttons on Colby) we start programing. The cards helps us keep track of our coding. Remember, our goal is to get the cheese, and we want to do this in as few steps as we can!
- Power – Turn Colby on or off
- Speed – Choose between Normal and Hyper (Normal is best for the maze, while Hyper is best for play on the ground and other surfaces)
- Forward – Colby moves forward
- Reverse – Colby moves backward
- Rotate Right – Colby will rotate to the right 90 degrees
- Rotate Left – Colby will rotate to the left 90 degrees
- Action – For each ACTION step, Colby will perform one of three RANDOM activities: Move forward and back, make a loud SQUEAK noise, or make a CHIRP-CHIRP-CHIRP noise while his eyes light up.
- Go – Colby will perform your programmed coding, up to 40 steps
- Clear – Clear all programmed steps
We programmed Colby, and hit GO.
After the initial coding with me, the boys no longer needed my help and were able to play on their own. They had no idea that they were learning science, or that they were gaining important skills that will help them out in school and with technology. For me this is the best part. I know they are learning and gaining valuable skills, and they are having a great time and feel very accomplished when Colby reaches the cheese!
I can see the Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set getting a lot of use in my house. All three of the boys LOVED it, and its something they can play with together AND alone which makes it a perfect fit for our house. I love that as they get better at the coding, they will be able to use their imaginations to create their own mazes, and even play without the maze on the table or the floor.
It also makes a fun toy for tormenting the cats, but that is another story!
If you’re looking for the perfect learning tool that is also fun, I would definitely recommend checking the Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set out. In Canada you can find the Code & Go Robot Mouse on amazon.ca, at Mastermind Toys and Toys R Us. Prices start at $69.99. I think this would make a great addition under any Christmas tree. Also available is Jack, an additional Code & Go Programmable Mouse. Jack is compatible with the Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set, and also requires 3 AAA Batteries. The Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set and Code & Go Programmable Mouse are for ages 5+.
To find out more about Learning Resources and their products, visit them online or connect with them on their various social media channels.
Disclosure: I received this product complimentary from Learning Resources for testing purposes. Opinions in this post are my own and have not been altered or influenced in any way.