Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



KIBO

KIBO

Fall 2017 Toys
Ages: 4 - 7 yrs.
Price: $349.00
Review:

Coding has become an essential literacy for children today; and, there are many products, games, apps, geared towards teaching the skill. KIBO is a high-quality, robotics kit for children aged four through seven years. It includes the KIBO body, fourteen wooden programming blocks, a light bulb, three sensors (distance, light, and sound), two motor modules, two wheels, a stage support, a rectangular stage, parameter cards, and a sturdy, plastic storage box. Considering the price, this well-designed, high-quality kit is marketed, appropriately, more to classrooms or clubs than individual playrooms.

The wooden programming blocks fit together via dowels and are just the right size for little hands. The blocks feature a command such as light, beep, and so forth on each side; and, some blocks have more complicated commands/parameters such as "if…then" scenarios. Children simply connect the blocks in the desired sequence, scan the sequence with the base's infrared sensor, and off the robot goes. This is a simple, hands-on, and multi-modal way for children to learn the basics of coding: sequencing, analytic thinking, problem-solving, and more. Additionally, because the blocks can be combined in virtually endless ways, children can start with simple commands and build to more complicated scenarios as their knowledge and skill increases. In the beginning, our young coders just popped on the wheels and experimented with KIBO like a programming version of a RC car; they programmed it to go forwards/backwards, make turns, spin, etc. We then went online and looked for ideas for what to do with KIBO and found many websites with videos, tutorials, and lesson plans. There was KIBO Bowling, where players set up the pins and use KIBO as the bowling ball; it was hilarious and educational. We also found an activity where children used construction paper to make an animal costume for the robot and then programmed the KIBO to do particular tasks when the sounds sensor picks up a clap.

One of our favorite features of this kit is the fact that it uses no phone, no tablet, no screen to teach children coding. It's all hands-on. And that's playful learning at its best.

Sharon Heuscher   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Sharon holds B.A.s in English Literature and Ancient Studies as well as a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently a masters-level trainee in Clinical Psychology specializing in neurodegenerative diseases. For the past thirteen years, Sharon has focused primarily on raising, educating, and nurturing her five children who range in age from three to thirteen.

Look for this product at:
KinderLab Robotics, Inc.
http://www.kinderlabrobotics.com

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