Monday, August 29, 2016

Robots to the rescue!

Learning through play is the best way to educate and occupy young children. However, it can be a chore for us parents to keep the momentum going. With school under way, we face the difficulty of finding new & inventive ways to continue the learning process at home. This can easily lead to boredom and complacency, which ultimately halts progression. So, how do we combat t.v. and video games, and make hands on play a priority in our homes?

Ozobot.


Yes, it's a strange name, and the initial concept was foreign to me. What the heck is an Ozobot?! How does it work? How much is it? Where do I get one? These were all of the questions that arose when I was first introduced to the name and idea of Ozobot ---- Which I'd first seen in a brief email article on home educating. I was intrigued and had to know. Is Ozobot a good match for my family?

After reading the article, I really wanted more information on Ozobot. So, I did what every mom does, I Google'd! My first stop was the Ozobot website, which was immensely helpful. I also read forums, and YouTube'd until all my questions were answered.

What is Ozobot?

Ozobot is a small robot. Not a robot that cooks or cleans... Think much smaller. It's about the size of a Brussels sprout! Anyhow, Ozobot is a really cool learning tool, that is appropriate for kids of all ages (toddlers excluded--- I'd recommend ages 4+). Ozobot teaches children computer science, STEM education, robotics and coding, through the use of play.

How does it work?

It's a really neat concept, as Ozobot comes with preloaded commands, but can be taught more as your child continues to learn. It uses color to determine direction and movement. Your child can draw mazes, or elaborate paths using different colors and patterns that Ozobot associates with actions. Then, Ozobot navigates the lines, and performs the color coded actions. It sounds complicated, but it's really not! In fact, my 4 year old has been playing with Ozobot, and she's understanding how the coding affects the robots actions!!! 

Ozobot can be used on paper, 
or with its corresponding app.

How much is it?

Basic Ozobot starter packs run $49. However, you can purchase additional bots and accessories. The Ozobot Bit is $59, additional markers are $6, and the dual bot pack runs $119 (includes 2 Ozobots). There is also a classroom kit available. The classroom kit includes 18 bots and covers, 18 marker sets, 3 multi-port charging stations for the bots, 18 sets of code instructions, a storage case for the bots, and a large storage bin for the entore classroom kit. These large kits run $1200.

Where do I get one?

You can purchase Ozobot starter kits, bots, accessories, and classroom kits directly from Ozobot.com. You can also find them on other retail sites, including Amazon.com.

My experience with Ozobot...


After reading about Ozobot, I discussed purchasing them with my husband. We hadn't come to a definite decision yet, when I received an invite to test and review them. I knew right then and there that this was meant to be!

Customizing our Ozobot with cat ears!
Our Ozobot starter kits arrived in the mail a few weeks later. My son (12) was beside himself. He seriously could not wait to check them out! My daughter (4) was completely indifferent. My husband and I waited until the kids were at school, and took our time thoroughly investigating the starter kits... And the Ozobot's. By investigated, I mean we played with them :)

Included in each Ozobot starter kit:


  • 1 Ozobot
  • 2 rubber skins for the Ozobot
  • A charging cord
  • 4 Ozobot markers (red, blue, green, black)
  • A sheet of stickers to decorate the Ozobot
  • A sheet of printed pop-out Ozobot accessories
  • A sheet of blank pop-out Ozobot accessories (draw your own)
  • A pack of hands on instructions
  • 2 sheets of static sticker codes
  • 2 glass tablet protectors 

I knew my kids would not let the Ozobot's rest for long, so I called up some friends for an on the fly Ozobot party. I was going to really put Ozobot to the test, so I was sure to invite kids of various age groups to come play with them. Not only was I interested in seeing Ozobot in action, but I also wanted to see how kids of different ages responded to Ozobot. Plus, any toy that BOTH of my children can enjoy and learn from is most definitely welcome in my home! 

The kids were super excited to play with the Ozobots, except the one high school student who came. He seemed really disinterested ---- until the bots started doing their thing! We went through the basic commands and paper tutorials provided in the starter kit. Then, the kids drew their own mazes and let the Ozobot's race! It was a lot of fun!

The age range of kids involved in our Ozobot play party: 4- 14

My 4 year old demonstrating how to decorate 
and use an Ozobot.

After most of the younger children left, the older ones had a chance to try the Ozobot's out on their tablets. They downloaded the app, and calibrated the Ozobot's as instructed. The app did require some adult assistance, as the kids had a difficult time understanding some of the features. Once we got it all figured out, I had a hard time getting them to stop playing!


In the app you can change the default color of your Ozobot, create mazes, play on default mazes, and teach commands. 

After our play session, I determined that Ozobot's are well worth the investment. Are they appropriate for my family? Yes! In fact, Ozobot's are appropriate for any family with school age children! These bots allow children to play, create, and learn, at the same time. Since they can be customized and taught new commands, they will be a valuable asset for many years.

For more information visit Ozobot.com

Click here to buy now 


Products provided at no cost, for testing & review purposes.