Ozobot 2.0 Bit – The Programmable Robot

There is a wave of robotic toys on the market these days.  We have already highlighted a number of them already.  And this is a very good development for kids.  These educational bots both entertain kids and expose them to the type of technology that they may very well be designing themselves in future years. Video games merely entertain – educational robots prepare them for the future.

Ozobot 2.0

Ozobot 2.0

The Ozobot 2.0 Bit is a handy little programmable robot that can keep your kids occupied for hours.  Now first of all this device is a little on the small side – measuring in at just over an inch.  But the point of this bot is not its size but its capabilities.  You can program your Ozobot Bit to dance, race, and more.  There is a corresponding app that lets you play in-app games, download activities from the Ozobot website, and create your own challenges and games. 

One aspect that we find interesting is the various levels of programmability of this little device.  Younger kids can create simpler activities using basic OzoCodes, and they can command their Ozobot to do numerous actions with names like Nitro Boost, Zig-Zag, and Tornado.

Ozobot App Screenshot

Ozobot App Screenshot

Advanced Programming

As children grow they can advance on to more advanced skills in which they can fully program the Ozobot using a visual editor.  This is the real power of this toy – allowing kids to step beyond basic commands and activities and taking control with skills that they can master long before formal programming instruction in school.  The results of their efforts play out in 3D in the real world, not the virtual world like an app or a computer screen.  The Ozobot moves, races, and possibly crashes right in front of them.

The Ozobot 2.0 Bit is not very expensive, and for the potential it can offer your child we find it very attractive as an educational Robot, despite its small size.   This device is recommended for ages 8 and up.

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Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

New LEGO Sets for 2016

Year after year the LEGO company keeps kids enthralled and entertained by creating building sets that are relevant to the hottest trends.  2016 is no different – there are many new LEGO sets representing popular movies and other fun themes, as well as well-loved LEGO series like City and Friends.  Both kids and adults have a nice selection of sets to choose from this year.

Doctor Who LEGO Set

Doctor Who LEGO Set

Doctor Who LEGO Set

We absolutely love this Doctor Who LEGO set.  It is the perfect gift for Doctor Who fans of all ages, and great for parents to pass on that Doctor Who love to their kids.  The central element (of course) is the TARDIS which measures over 4 inches high.  The set is actually the control room and includes Clara, Daleks, and a Weeping Angel.  This set was designed by a Doctor Who fan-designer, which makes it even cooler.  Recommended for ages 10+.
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LEGO Ghostbusters Set

LEGO Ghostbusters

LEGO Ghostbusters

One of the hottest movies of 2016 was the remake of the 1980’s classic Ghostbusters.  The Ghostbusters Ecto 1 & 2 LEGO Set features both the Ecto 1 vehicle as well as the Ecto 2 motorbike.  The vehicle has a removeable roof and seats for 4 Ghostbusters heroes.  There are also some weapons such as the 4 proton packs, a proton sidearm, and an ion shield gun.  5 mini-figures are included in this set. Recommended for ages 8-14 years.

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LEGO Friends Amusement Park

LEGO Friends Amusement Park

LEGO Friends Amusement Park

The LEGO Friends Amusement Park set continues the hugely popular Friends line of building sets.  There are an amazing 1124 pieces, which are used to construct an amusement park with many different functional attractions including: roller coaster, ferris wheel, drop tower, entrance booth, and dining area.  Four mini-dolls are included as are other accessories.  This is a great set for kids in the 8-12 year old range.

(Note: There are lots of other new LEGO Amusement Park sets – Find them when you click the button below)

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Batman Killer Croc Sewer Smash LEGO Set

Batman Killer Croc Sewer Smash LEGO set

Batman Killer Croc Sewer Smash LEGO set

Batman is always a popular topic for gift-giving.  Kids just love super heroes.  So this Batman: Killer Croc Sewer Smash building set should be a big hit.  There are 759 pieces, which combine to form a Bat-Tank and the killer croc’s Battle Chomper.  There are also weapons and mini-figures included.  This fun set is recommended for ages 8-14.

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NINJAGO LEGO Set – Samurai X Cave Chaos

LEGO NINJAGO Set

LEGO NINJAGO Set

The NINJA and NINJAGO line of LEGO building sets may not be widely known, but many kids know the sets from the TV shows.  This Samurai X Cave Chaos building set is pretty cool.  It features 1253 pieces which are used to build an opening skull entrance, inventor launchpad, buildable jet and laser prison.  It comes with 8 mini-figures.  Recommended for ages 9-14.

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LEGO Angry Birds

LEGO Angry Birds Set

LEGO Angry Birds Set

This LEGO Angry Birds King Pig’s Castle building set turns the hugely popular game app, and movie, into a really fun toy that kids can get their hands on.  It’s got 859 pieces and this includes 5 Angry Birds figures and tons of accessories.  It’s getting really good reviews, which we always love.

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LEGO Star Wars TIE Fighter vs. A-Wing Starfighter

LEGO TIE Fighter vs A-Wing Starfighter

LEGO TIE Fighter vs A-Wing Starfighter

Finally any list of LEGO sets would be incomplete without a Star Wars set.  We are in the midst of a multi-year resurgence of Star Wars popularity around the globe.  Episode 7 was released in 2015, followed by Rogue One in 2016.

The LEGO TIE Fighter vs A-Wing set features Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter as well as an A-Wing Starfighter.  These fighters can battle using spring-loaded shooters, and the set also includes accessories such as Darth Vader’s helmet and 4 mini-figures.  The fighters are very detailed, and are great for role-playing by imaginative kids. Recommended for ages 9-14.

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Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

Best Robot Toys for Kids – 2016

Kids of all ages love robotic toys.  They are interactive and they are instructive.  And they are just plain fun.   In the 2 years this site has been active we have seen a great interest in interactive, remote control, and robotic toys.  There is no reason to believe that these toys will not continue to grow in popularity in years to come.

Here is our selection for the Best Robot Toys of 2016!

Sphero BB-8 Droid

BB-8 Droid

BB-8 Droid

We have previously highlighted the Sphero remote control ball. Now there an ultra-cool version of this toy, now with a Star Wars angle. It’s the BB-8 Remote Control Droid by Sphero. This new generation of a very popular remote-control toy is much more interactive than it was before, and that’s what makes it so great. It is a bit pricey, but if you are the kind of person that just needs to have the coolest Star Wars toys then this is for you.

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The BB-8 Droid rolls around the floor, controlled by an app on your smart device. But beyond that this toy also recognizes and reacts to your voice, and also records holographic video for you. It has an autonomous mode in which it will explore its environment. You can even say that it has an adaptive personality – its attitudes and actions evolve as you interact with it.

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Cozmo – Robot with a Personality

Cozmo Robot

Cozmo Robot

Cozmo promises to be a very hot robot toy in 2016.  It was released in October 2016, and since that time it has become a fast-seller.

Cozmo is a game-playing robot with a personality that evolves the more you play with it.  Cozmo expresses real emotions in response to your actions.  And as you continue to play you get to unlock additional games and upgrades.

To see videos and additional information about this really cool robot click through to the Cozmo Amazon page and check it out.

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WowWee MiP Robot

WowWee MiP Balancing Robot

WowWee MiP Balancing Robot

The MiP Balancing Robot is a very, very cool new toy.  It has technology (called GestureSense technology) that allows any hand motion to control it. Also by using its free app you can drive it, play games & more all while MiP balances on two wheels!  The MiP robot responds to motions, be it your hand or an object.  It reacts to your actions, for example if you show it some praise, and MiP will be your new best friend, but push it down, and you’re in for an angry robot.

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Bristlebots

Bristlebot

Bristlebots are small robots that are fun and easy to build.  Once built and operational they buzz along a flat surface like little mechanical bugs. Explore hands-on physics and engineer your concepts and ideas into a real robot.  Bristlebots are highly customizable – build one robot, take it apart, and build another.  Be ready for hours of fun with these little guys.

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Meccanoid G15

Meccanoid G15

Meccanoid G15

The Meccano Meccanoid G15 is the 2016 Innovative Toy Of The Year.  This robot comes with over one thousand phrases and as well as voice recognition to make your personal robot more like your friend.  You get to build, program, and play with this fully-operational 2-foot tall android.  It comes with an app that runs on Android and iOS.

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If you’re looking for something even bigger, and with more functions, check out the Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS – Personal Robot.   It’s more money, but it might just be worth it.

Ozobot 2.0

Ozobot 2.0

Also … Check out our write-up of the Ozobot 2.0 – the small programmable robot for kids.


 

Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

Great Gifts for Teens and Tweens

Let’s face it – little kids are pretty easy to buy gifts for.  There is a wide range of games, toys, clothes, etc, to choose from.  You would be hard-pressed to really struggle buying a toy for a 3-year old or a 5-year old.  I think this is because they are willing to try lots of different things – even if the gift quickly ends up in the dust-heap of unplayed-with toys.

razor_scooter-2But teens and tweens – that’s a different story altogether.  Many kids of this age are into very specific things, and if they receive a gift that doesn’t fit their expectations you will know about it very quickly (unless the recipient is especially polite).

So what makes a good tween gift or teenager gift.  We’re not talking toys here – let’s not even go there.  We’re talking gifts that can be bought with little pre-knowledge of what the particular kid is interested in.  How do we do this?  We think about what most kids in the 10-15 year old range are interested, to one degree or another:  Socializing with friends, experimenting with exciting challenges, and for many kids digging deeper into math and science.

So let’s take a stab at some great gift ideas for kids in approximately the 10-15 year old range.

Social Games – For Parties or Just Hanging Out

Codename

Codename

The game Codenames is a highly rated game for ages 14 and up.  Each game is fairly short – only about 15 minutes – so it won’t drag a simple get-together into a marathon gaming night.

Codenames is a wordplay game which involves attempting to identify the codenames of up to 25 secret agents through a process of guessing and strategy.  You can play individually or in teams (for a more lively game).

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Carcassonne

Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a tile-laying game that will take a little more time to play than the previous one.  The players develop an area around the French city of Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, and in the fields.  The most skillful player to develop the area will become victorious.

This game is officially rated for ages 8-15 years of age, but it can be fun for the whole family young and old alike.

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Getting Adventurous

UDI 818A Quadcopter + HD Camera

UDI 818A Quadcopter + HD Camera

This version of the UDI 818A Quadcopter is pretty sweet.  First of all it is based on the very popular 818A base model that we found was very popular in 2015.  But now there are a few additions that we think make this a very attractive entry-level quadcopter.

The HD camera is the main feature.  It has a 2 mega-pixel camera which can take high-res pictures and video during flight.

The Return Home function lets you command your drone to return to you with the push of a button.  No more lost drones (well, maybe fewer lost drones).

818a_drone_hd-2

This model has 6-axis gyro stability which is great in windy conditions and also makes it easily maneuverable for stunts.  Also has 2 batteries to double flight time and a 2200 mAh power bank to let you charge on the go.

As always with drones, they are somewhat breakable and prone to being lost.  This model has fairly good blade protection so you won’t be replacing blades every time it crashes.  But be aware that your drone will only last as long as you are able to keep it one piece.  (replacement parts are available though)

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Electric Razor Scooter

The E100 Electric Scooter from Razor is a really fun scooter to use.  Razor has been making scooters for many years and their electric scooters are very popular.  As with any scooter there is an element of risk – riding the scooter on bumpy roads or sidewalks, or riding into traffic are sure-fire ways to get yourself injured or worse.  So safety precautions must be taken when riding this scooter.

The motor is high-torque, and the battery is a long-lasting 24V unit.The scooter can reach speeds of 10 MPH.  The recharge time is about 12 hours, and the ride time is about 40 minutes of continuous use.

(Don’t forget the safety helmet and even knee and elbow pads for the younger ones)

Check out all of the feature of this highly-rated scooter on Amazon.

Getting all Science-y

First Microscope

First Microscope

Calling all future biologists!! The My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope features three magnifications: 40x, 100x, and 400x.  The optics are real glass (not plastic), and there is a 50-piece accessory kit.  This is a real biological microscope – not just some toy.  It can be used just for fun or for running real biological experiments.

This item is rated for ages 9-18 years.

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Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.