Raise your hand if your kid(s) loves robots! Mine sure do! Last year my husband took my oldest son to a robotics competition. While there he got to watch middle school and high school aged students put their personally built robots to test. Later that night, my husband and I shared our wishes of there being more robotics programs and toys for younger children. During our visit to toy fair this year we vowed to find robots for children ages 3-8 so that The Playful Parent could host robotic workshops for a younger crowd.
One of the first robots that caught our eye at Toy Fair was Cublets. These modular robot blocks connect to make a construction that can sense, think and act. What makes these robots so unique is that they grow as your child learns a new skill. When first building robotic sequences, they work on basic concepts such as robotic basics, critical thinking, cause and effect, sorting and sequencing. Once they become more advanced the toy grows with them to work on computational thinking, design and engineering basics, pattern recognition, coding, systems thinking, networks and abstraction.
HOW CUBLETS WORK
There are three types of blocks; sense blocks, think blocks and act blocks. You need at least one of each to form a functional robot.
Think blocks are basic blocks that provide power or expansion for stacking or inverse command. Power block is necessary for a build because it provides the power source needed. Passive or building blocks allow you to build more complex structures without effecting functionality of other blocks. Inverse blocks flip the functionality of any block such as proximity goes from as close trigger to a far away trigger.
Sense blocks are your logic cubes; such as light, distance, temperature. Light blocks trigger off of light sources, a bright light will either make a system work or not work depending on the setting. Distance blocks function in a similar manor, based on proximity of an obstacle. Temperature cubes change the robots function based on hot and cold.
Act blocks are the final blocks and they do all the work. Things such as flash lights, drive systems and rotating blocks; allow you to see the results of your program.
A simple robot would be the combination of the power block, distance sensor and flash light. When you power up your robot in an open space nothing happens. As you move your hand closer the flash light turns onand gets brighter.
Once you mastered the basics, the real challenge begins. The blue tooth hat allows you to reprogram any of the cubes. This feature opens up new possibilities and challenges so that this toy can grow with your child. This stage will introduce your child to basic coding, programming and networking concepts. For an example, the blue tooth function can turn a simple movement block from a one directional system to a bi-directional system. This will help a robot go from following a basic line to maneuvering through complicated obstacle courses.
This set comes with 1 Curiosity Guide, 10 Blocks, 1 Bluetooth Hat and 2 Brick Adaptor. The Curiosity guide is basically your user manual. This guide is written very well, has an introductory section for parents, construction ideas and challenge section to get your little one thinking critically about new and fun ways to build and construct their robots. It comes with everything you need for hours of endless fun. It’s a great idea that they added brick adaptors to the kit; so, your little engineer can build all sorts of imaginative creations. Also, the creators of Cublets are very involved in the community and have set up pages where families can share their creations, as well as get ideas for learning through play.
RAISE YOUR HANDS FOR ROBOTS
Just the other day I was asking my son about what he wants to be when he grows up. He said, “I want to be a designer and make things that move.” Followed by “You know mommy, technology toys are very good for me, they will help me learn what I need to know. This is why I need to play with robots as much as possible.” Raising our children to be tech savvy in a technology driven world is important. Robotics are a fun way to keep kids interested in STEAM (Science, Tehcnology, Engineering, Art and Math.) I can’t wait to share Cublets to the community this summer. Please raise your hand if you would like to join in this fun opportunity. You can help by responding to a few questions so I can get this workshop planned. Please help answer the following for a summer workshop:
- Evening or Weekend:
- June, July or August:
- Age of Kid(s):
- Location (Charles, Calvert, St. Marys)
- Demo or Hands on Interaction?
- Are there other families you think would be interested in this activity? Please tag them so I can get feedback from those interested.
Thank you Cublets for donating a Kit in order for The Playful Parent to share with the community. The Playful Parent is a 501c3 Non-profit and does not accept payment for endorsing companies. All information is based on my own non-bias opinion. Content and photographs are intellectual property of The Playful Parent.