Who wouldn’t love to make a real life robot? I remember growing up with my favorite building blocks and creating everything from skyscrapers to designing mobile phones accessories. If you haven’t had the chance to construct with the favorite building blocks for children of all ages recently, this new tech-infused update will have you running to your nearest toy store immediately!
Last week, the LEGO Group announced LEGO BOOST, a supercharged building and coding set that lets kids of all ages bring their LEGO creations to life by adding movement, sound and personality. Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, LEGO BOOST combines the endless play opportunities of a traditional LEGO set with an endless variety of movement and sound capabilities made possible through an easy-to-use, app-based coding environment.
Using familiar LEGO elements and simple coding language, LEGO BOOST delivers an intuitive approach and opportunities for quick success.
Powered by a Move Hub, a LEGO stud-covered brick with built-in tilt sensor upon which children can add LEGO elements, motors and a sensor that combines color and distance detection, LEGO BOOST brings movement to any LEGO creation. The set includes building instructions for five diverse models; Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4), and the Autobuilder, each designed to give children the basic building and coding skills needed to express their creativity by personalizing whatever they build.
Coding Brings Your Toy to Life
LEGO BOOST introduces children to coding through a free downloadable app that contains the guidance, building instructions and simple coding commands to bring to life five LEGO creations, one at a time. Much like building with LEGO bricks, children build behaviors and actions by linking digital coding blocks in an easy-to-understand horizontal layout. To further personify the experience, LEGO BOOST lets children add voice recordings to their creations, adding personality without requiring spelling and typing. The app also includes more than 60 activities designed to inspire additional building, coding and play.
Creative Canvas Lets You Boost Any LEGO Creation
To further inspire creative building and coding, the LEGO BOOST app includes a “creative canvas” that includes basic building instructions for three simple base models that children can use to customize their own LEGO creations. The three bases available at launch include: a walking base for making animals like a dragon or a pony, a driving base for building vehicles like a dune buggy or rover, and an entrance base so that children can make their own castle, fort, or even a futuristic space station. (Take your creation on the go with a new LEGO bag, backpack or satchel.) Once children are comfortable with building and coding the various LEGO BOOST models, they can use the kit to “boost” any LEGO creation – from LEGO CITY and LEGO Friends to LEGO NINJAGO and The LEGO BATMAN Movie.
LEGO BOOST Includes:
- 3 BOOST Bricks:
- Move Hub with built-in tilt sensor
- Combination color & distance sensor
- Interactive motor
- 843 LEGO elements
- Playmat, calibrated to the app, designed to facilitate mini challenges to practice simple coding trials
LEGO BOOST App
- Free, downloadable app is iOS and Android tablet compatible
LEGO BOOST uses 6 AAA batteries. Alkaline batteries are recommended, but rechargeable batteries can be used, though may result in weaker power output.
LEGO BOOST will be available at most stores and online shopping sites where toys are sold, through select consumer electronics retailers, and at LEGO Stores and shop.LEGO.com in the second half of 2017 and will have a suggested retail price of $159.99 USD $159.99 (EUR) and $199.99 (CAD). For more information, visit www.LEGO.com/BOOST.
As Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once said in an interview: “I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think.”
If you’ve ever wanted to learn about coding in technology, or have children that could be interested in learning how to code, there are more resources available than ever before! One of the biggest misconceptions about coding is that you have to be a super genius in science or math (when in all actuality, that couldn’t be furthest from the truth). I truly believe that anyone can learn to love coding if they have one common goal in mind – the goal of solving problems and improving our future.
Between 2010 and 2020, computer and mathematical occupations are projected to add 778,300 new jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Along with the prospects of entering a burgeoning field, learning to code allows people to engage their brains in ways they normally wouldn’t, enhancing skills from algebra to spelling.
If you’re interested in learning more about STEM, check out these five STEM programs that’ll encourage and teach anyone how to code below!
Black Girls Code
Through workshops for young girls of color, Black Girls Code aims to help address the “dearth of African-American women in science, technology, engineering and math professions,” founder Kimberly Bryant writes, and build “a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.” blackgirlscode.com
Yes We Code
The #YesWeCode initiative targets low-opportunity youth and provides them with the necessary resources and tools to become world-class computer programmers. By learning this highly valuable and relevant 21st century skill, these young people are shifting the trajectory of their futures and transforming their relationships with their communities and their country. yeswecode.org
Girls Who Code
Geared specifically toward 13- to 17-year-old girls, pairs instruction and mentorship to “educate, inspire and equip” students to pursue their engineering and tech dreams. “Today, just 3.6% of Fortune 500 companies are led by women, and less than 10% of venture capital-backed companies have female founders. Yet females use the internet 17% more than their male counterparts,” the website notes. girlswhocode.com
While women make up 46.7% of the U.S. workforce, they represent less than 25% of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers. Sisters Code was founded to help bridge the technology gender gap by providing women with the tools they need to successfully re-career into the field of technology, transform lives and provide corporations with a greater pipeline of diverse talent to address the gender equity balance within their organizations. sisters-code.org
There are many ways to GO TECH and these programs are great guides to discovering which road in the science and technology space you’ll enjoy most. Know more STEM programs not listed here? Share them in the comments section below.
Remember the friendship bracelets of yesterday? You’d create them in every color, multipule colors and couldn’t create enough of them to give out to all your friends. Now, there’s a new digital friendship bracelet available for young girls and it’s actually teaching them how to code.
Jewelbots, created by Sara Chipps, developer and co-founder of the non-profit Girl Develop It!, Brooke Moreland, a fashion-tech entrepreneur, and Maria Saba, a postdoctoral research fellow, are programmable friendship bracelets that teach tween and teen girls the basics of coding.
“The girls we know are curious and creative, just like we were when we were young (and still are!). We wanted to create something that lets them communicate with their friends while discovering the tools of programming,” Sara said about the inspiration for Jewelbots.
Using basic engineering logic, girls can program their Jewelbots right out of the box. The bracelets light up, vibrate or flash, letting them communicate with each other in Morse code. The bracelets are connected through Bluetooth, and can be used with or without a linked phone.
For those who want to further their programming skills, they can plug into the computer and use open-source software Arduino IDE to customize their technology-enabled jewelry with unique functions.
Using provided snippets of code, girls can program their bracelets to light up when they receive a new Instagram or Facebook notification, or let them know when a text comes in from a parent, etc.
Once users become familiar with the fundamentals, they can go on to create whatever they want. They’ll also be able to share their work with other wearers on the Jewelbots online community.
Jewelbots is on to something HUGE, last week they launched a crowdfunding campaign, and they’ve already exceeded its goal of raising $30,000 in the first 19 hours. As of today, they’ve already eclipsed the $101,000 mark and still have a little over two weeks to go.
Summer vacation is here and ready or not, the kids need entertainment FAST! Why not educate your kids this summer with fun and exciting games that incite problem solving, programming and learning how to code? There are lots of educational options that teach coding for kids these days. Learning how to code is fun at any age and we’ve gathered a few of our favorite games, apps and more from the web that’ll teach kids ages 5+ how to code this summer. Discover 8 fun ways to teach your kids how to code and they could learn how to build their own smartphone app by summer’s end…
Tynker: This coding game may just replace Angry Birds as your kiddo’s favorite game, and it’s even better because they’re learning along the way. It’s just a matter of dragging and dropping, and before you know it your little one is learning the basics of coding at the same time they’re learning the alphabet. Tynker is the perfect tablet game to keep your kids occupied.
Made With Code: Leave it to Google to create an amazing new way to teach girls (and boys) to code. Kids can tackle different missions and projects right from their account on the site. They can even DIY their own 3D-printed jewelry thanks to a partnership with Shapeways. Your teen programming prodigies will even get matched up with mentors to inspire them to keep innovating.
Move the Turtle: This game sounds simple enough, but as your kiddos (five and older) move the turtle, they’re really tackling projects and learning the basics of programming, from the simple to the complex. They’ll become familiar with workflows and tasks of coding without even knowing it.
Play-I: Want a bot for your smaller tots? Bo and Yana are just what you’ve been looking for. Your kids can work the bots from an iPad and the bots can even communicate with each other. They can play with classic kids’ toys and interact with the environment. It’s great for kids as young as five.
mBot: Yes, this robot can teach your kid all about programming. This bot uses Scratch to connect with open-source hardware so it can help your kiddos branch into robotics. Your kids can create their own bot functions with a simplified, color-coded wiring system. They can make a bubble-blowing machine and steering wheel to coordinate with an onscreen game. And that’s just the beginning. This project is a Kickstarter campaign that’s already topped $100K, so get it while the getting is good.
Code Studio: This is an interactive open-source learning platform that teaches your li’l geniuses some computer science 101. Code Studioteaches the basics of coding with puzzles and familiar games that are great for kids in K-12. They even get to test their skills by going behind the screen of Angry Birds. This course will help your kids understand exactly what coding is and how it’s used.
Bitsbox: Your kid will never get bored with coding if they’re getting lessons on monthly basis via USPS — plus, kids love getting mail! The service is available for kids seven and up and teaches them how to build apps. They want to give your kids the know-how to turn them into programmers by taking it one step at a time. They can even customize the Bitsbox app with their skills.
Tickle: This iPad app is for the slightly older crowd. Funded on Kickstarter, Tickle teaches kids to code and make their own apps and games with tools thought up in an MIT Media Lab project called Scratch. They can grab objects like blocks and build something that they can watch come to life right on screen. You know, kind of like when you played with LEGOs as a kid, but way more techy.
Now that you’ve got a few options that’ll keep the kiddies entertained and educated, you may have found a way to keep the kids focused on a favorite new game and away from downloading games on your smartphone this summer. What’s your plans on keeping kids entertained and educated this summer? Share your thoughts below!