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Robotics and Coding for Kids

Updated: Mar 31, 2022


February 23rd, 2022



David Peachment













 


Robotics and Coding for Kids


When someone says “robotics,” people often jump to ideas of self-driving cars, robotic arms for surgery, or a futuristic android. But robotics can start at a much smaller scale. A scale that kids can learn and grow with, allowing them to eventually tackle the more significant projects and advance humanity’s technology. Through a few different robotic toys for kids, children can understand the fundamentals of robotics, coding, and electronics in an easy-to-digest way. With this strong knowledge base, they can pursue higher education and reach for the stars!

There are many different tools kids can use and play with, but for the sake of time, I’m just going to talk about my three favourites!



Lego Mindstorms


The first robotics set I want to talk about (and also my personal favourite one, but I’m also a sucker for Lego) is Lego Mindstorms. What do you get when you combine the buildability and fun of Lego with robotics? You get an amazing learning and engaging experience for kids! Lego Mindstorms includes a small computer that can be programmed in a huge wide array of ways! You connect Lego pieces to it and build whatever robot you want! Once the bot is built, kids can tell it exactly what to do and how to function. This allows the students to play around with different styles of robots and design whatever they can think up! Want a robot that can draw? Build one with an arm attached to a crayon and program it to move in a specific pattern. Think it would be fun to duel battle bots? Use your Lego pieces to create spikes to push an opponent bot out of the arena! The options are endless and only limited by the child’s imagination. Upgrade their Lego fun, and add in an educational element to it with Lego Mindstorms!


Makey Makey


Make the world your controller with Makey Makey! This unique electronic device connects to your computer and lets you implement any object into the program you’re working on. For example, say you are creating a piano on your computer, connect the special Makey Makey wires to bananas for your piano keys! Anything that is conductive can be connected. Using Makey Makey will introduce kids to wires and circuitry while having tons of fun! Additionally, there are literally thousands of projects and lesson plans on Makey Makey’s website, so you’ll never have to think about what to learn about or create! This one is inexpensive, and every kid I’ve seen use it has absolutely loved it!



Ozobots


Unlike the Lego Mindstorms, Ozobots are very simplistic robots. They are small, portable, and highly customizable. There are two different and very easy-to-learn ways to make the Ozobots move. First, an included app uses block coding to simplify learning for kids. If you don’t know what block coding is, I wrote an entire blog post talking about it HERE. It’s basically a coding language that is incredibly accessible for kids of all ages. The second way to program Ozobots is a little different. Instead of using regular programming and computer coding, they react to colours. Students use markers and paper to draw out patterns with specific colours. And the Ozobot will react to the colours and path it detects. For example, drawing a couple of blue stripes on a black line will make the Ozobot move much faster. Using other colour combinations will make the robot do tricks, u-turns, regular turns, and so much more! They’re a great starter robot and one of the more inexpensive ones!


I hope reading a little bit about these toys has given you a perspective on what kids can accomplish! High-concept subjects such as coding and robotics don’t have to be out of reach for children. They can simply start at a smaller level, build up their knowledge, and gain an edge for the rest of their lives! And if you want some help learning these tools and all that they can do, check out our 1-on-1 learning session HERE.


Until next time,


David Peachment

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