littleBits link with other littleBits to become bigger bits and for anyone ‘8 Years Plus’ a simple solution to make answers to other problems, ‘start out with a voice activated robotic hand and after that the only limit is your imagination’.
On opening the box you see a total of fourteen pieces as well as various cardboard pieces that can be connected together to form various items in the base Inventors Kit. Also in the box is a small ‘Base Inventors Kit’ Instructions Start Here booklet that tells you how to create a a basic circuit to create a buzzer to get the basic inventor going. After this you download the Littlebits App from either the Android or Apple store to your Smartphone and after that the sky is the limit.
With a school time half term coming up, this might offer advice where to pass the time.
If you happen to be in London, especially in the vicinity of the thoroughfare known as Regent Street, during the Spring half term period, then a visit to Hamleys’ flagship store could well be of interest and worth the effort. A recent communication has informed me, that during the period from 16 February to the 3 March, Hamleys will be offering seven floors of live entertainment, fun workshops, new toys and exclusive prizes to attack the attention of all and sundry.
This toy brings songs and sound effects to a young child’s play area.
With a mantra of “Grow, Develop and Explore”, Vtech has developed a number of products for the younger members of the family. Recently I have had the opportunity to check out one of the Vtech products from the company’s Toot-Toot Animal range. As its title suggests, this particular range consists of various animals including the furry cat that was the review sample that was currently occupying my attention.
Is it an electronic book? Or is it a carry case? No it is Leap Frog’s new learning tool.
Leap Frog, well-known for its educational based electronic products, has recently released its LeapSmart 3D offering. Developed for the 2 – 7 years age group, this product provides on-screen animations to enhance learning. It has been designed to work with all LeapStart books of which there are currently 25 offerings covering various skills that are important to the development of the young child.
Being a prison guard for a dinosaur does require some specialist equipment.
A few months ago I took a look at WowWee’s Fingerling® UNTAMED™ family of Raptors made up of Stealth, Blaze, Fury and Razor. Now it seems that some of these vicious creatures were not as susceptible to training methods as they should have been and were less likely to respond to the training offered by their young owners. Eager to help when this type of situation occurs occasionally, WowWee has developed its Fingerling’s Untamed Jailbrake T-Rex Playset.
It is time to meet Ricky, a member of Hasbro’s RealFur family of child-appealing pets.
In the past I have given home room to a parrot and a cat from Hasbro and have to admit they got on reasonable well together. Now it is the turn of a trick-loving puppy to take centre stage as it entertains a young owner who is lucky enough to find this pet among their Christmas presents.. Not being an expert on the subject of dog breeds, I will limit my description of Ricky to his colour scheme of grey with white feature, paws and tail. Unpacking Ricky is an adventure in itself.
Did you know that 59% of UK toys bought for Christmas were chosen by the giver rather than selected from a child’s wish list?
While December brings us Christmas, the month of November reveals the choice of the top twelve toys that are expected to be the most sought after by parents for their children. This list of toys is referred to as DreamToys and it has been put together by a representative panel of retailers and industry experts.
Time to return to the classroom and practice your programming skills.
It has been quite a while since I last took a look at one of Orbotix’s Sphero robotic creatures. If memory serves me correct that product was Ollie who made its appearance back in 2014. In the intervening period Orbotix has made a movement towards a more educational stance with its robotic development. A result of this is the appearance of the Sphero Edu brand that includes the SPRK+ product.
You may have heard of the expression “Talk to the hand” but are you as familiar with “Beware the finger!?
Described as the first-ever line of animatronical collectible toys, the WowWee developed Fingerlings® recently won the 2018 Collectible Toy of the Year and the overall Toy of the year awards. Now more bite has been put into the product with the arrival of an UNTAMED™ element/ for the intrepid dinosaur collector to partake Joining the original gang of Fingerlings, featuring the baby monkeys, unicorns, sloths and glitter monkeys, are the UNTAMED Raptors.
Dipping into a bag of goodies, I came across a product from Leap Frog.
It is a simple question – just what is the condition of your fridge? I should make clear that I am referring to the outside of the fridge rather than its actual contents stored within. Probably, like many including myself, the door of your fridge will be decorated with an assortment of magnetic knick-knacks that you have collected, or been presented with for various reasons, over the passage of time.
Having looked in the past at a couple of other offerings from Sphero I was keen to add this smallest offering from Sphero to the list. It is a small round object that is controlled by an App that you can even learn to code to make it go through routines.
The Sphero Mini is a 4cm ball that has no connections at all it is simply a round ball. It is weighted on the inside and without power if it is moved around it will always roll to that one spot. There are three simple instructions on the inside cover of its small box. The two parts of the ball twist apart to enable you to charge it and that process will let you link it to a mobile App and then it is no longer simply a round ball.
I asked to look at this - solely on price - as most camera carrying Drones are not cheap – I am thinking three figures – but this offering is less than £20. In fact only just over a year ago similar items were well into the middle hundreds.
I looked at one very small drone last year that was suitable for children, yes suitable for children as it had blades that were fully protected and was very easy to hover. This unit is larger and will either need parental supervision or children of an older age as it needs to have more ability to fly it – yes even I could fly it – and the blades although plastic could do damage. It is circular and a maximum of 32cm across and up to 5cm tall with its camera attached.
Having recently told you about CUE also a fun coding solution for older children here I regress slightly to tell you about an offering for children from six years upwards. This one is called DOT, again a Robot for the child to control.
Remembering how easy CUE was to extract from the box left me somewhat frustrated that the same system was not used here and sadly although I took time to remove DOT without ripping the cardboard apart I doubt I will ever get it back in place. DOT is 11cm across, 7.5cm from back to front and 9cm tall, it is a basic ball shape with extensions either side and on the base.
Often the time between product request and its arrival is extended as was the case here so when the box arrived I first thought – before I opened it – that it was a speaker and even when I opened it I was unsure, removal from the box did not require destruction, already a plus point with me.
If you imagine three balls in a triangle with another on top of them you have the shape each is round at approximately 8cm, the two front units have grooved wheels and the rear one just a small steering option. The top unit lights up, revolves and has both the power of speech and hearing. To remove from the box move two catches apart and then find a flat place to put CUE down as it goes through a quite amusing configuration routine, after that everything works with Bluetooth via an App.
This was one of five things that I requested from one of the range of Christmas In July events. I was told they would go on sale in September however at the time of writing in October this is the only one of their units to arrive with me.
This is a quite light remote control car that can travel across a solid floor or with a change of a setting on it up walls or for that matter across ceilings. The car is 13x8x4.5cm and weighs only 57 grams. It is charged from the rear by the supplied 60cm yellow USB lead. The control box is 14x7x5cm and is powered by six ‘AA’ batteries (not supplied) it weighs 234grams; all dimensions given both for the car and control unit are maximum figures.
The main problem for most with a drone is C O N T R O L and here this is easy, I first saw a prototype demonstrated at the annual Toy Fair last January and here it is in October just in time to appear on your kids Xmas nag list.
Before you stop reading saying ‘this person is crazy’ my dexterity at ‘three score and ten plus’ is far less than the average young child but I have flown this round my kitchen and hall without damaging anything. The blades of the drone are inside a protective frame and yes if it has a direct hit on something on the edge of a shelf it may knock it off but the drone itself is light that is why this is an indoor unit.
All kids love cartoons, any parent will have to watch the child’s favourite over and over again. When the child is a little older then this torch and projector in one unit may just remove the need for the child to require a nightlight in their room.
This Disney themed torch and projector is 11.5cm tall and at the front end circular at 3cm, add another centimetre when you insert one of the three provided Disney image reels of images. Each reel has eight images and while I am the world’s most anti health and safety instructions person here some care might be required for the very young who seem to like eating anything, these plastic reels are 3cm across and .3cm thick.
It is story time as Violet makes a return to the Leapfrog range of learning tools for young children.
Originally making an appearance with My Pal Violet, the cuddly soft toy, named Violet, makes a return with this next Leapfrog product. Entitled Read With Me Violet, this particular offering, from the Leapfrog range of educational learning tools, is aimed at the 2 – 5 year age group. As its title might suggest, this product has been developed to help introduce the child to books, print, comprehension and early vocabulary.
Violet in colour and Violet by name, this soft toy from Leapfrog is customisable.
My Pal Violet is a soft toy with a customisable centre aimed at the 6 – 36 month age range. As part of the Leapfrog range of educational toys for the younger members of the family, Violet, in her white and Violet fur, cries out to be picked up and cuddled. However this cuddly creature, with dimensions of 308 x 270 x 190 mm (H x W x D) has more to offer than just tactile sensations as is explained in the accompanying Quick Start Guide.
With a choice of activities, Melody the Turtle has been developed to help young children.
Melody is a turtle. She is also the central component of a Leapfrog product. As befitting her role in the product, her name forms part of the title which is Melody the Musical Turtle. Aimed at the 2+ year age group, Melody sets out to help the young child develop the core learning skills of number, colour recognition and memory skills.