Monday, February 24, 2014

Toy Fair 2014: Can Tech Toys Inspire Creativity & Problem-Solving?

Tester 1 is talking about the Sphero 2B nearly EVERYDAY. UGH!!!  Still, I have figured out that if he wants the opportunity to test this one, it's gonna cost him. I am soooo evil. The Sphero can give milk. Who knew! Just don't tell them that it's educational! ha!

WHAT: Toy Fair Coverage 2014 Can Technology-Based Toys Inspire Creative Play and Problem Solving?
INVEST:  Prices and availability will not be listed. Some will come out in the Spring or even later.  Some are available now!
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Make a comment if you want to see it reviewed and/or sold at a store near you.  Sign up for newsletters from the company that manufactures the toy to find out when your toy will be available.

Did you know that the Sphero has an app that lets your robotic ball dance? It also has an app that asks you to grab it when you see a particular color. 'Tis not easy but great for hand-eye-brain coordination, right? 

Those of you who know my site know that I don't stay on top of technology but rest assured, I try my best to keep my eye on a few winners that I think could likely inspire your child to be creative on a completely different platform.

I am not interested in the press-this-and-it-does-that kind of technology. But when kids get older, (say 3,4, 5!!!!) I am starting to realize more and more that proficiency in anything technical is already so important.  It's not just important so that you can do your schoolwork or perform on the job, but also it seems rather important to navigate technology-based waters to even be... dare I say it... social. Watching my three year old play on his iPad last week, I had this notion that through play, kids can become familiar with what can be done now and what might be done later. Even now, I see my son barking orders at Dragon Naturally Speaking.  I wonder to myself, "How the hell does he even know what to say or what it can do?"  Clearly, this child of mine has not read one single manual on Dragon.

I have a feeling that this is a rapidly changing scene partially because there are still so many wishes that technology isn't granting for us.  (ie. seriously, can we have something that can make studying for spelling tests easier? Evernote Peek isn't easy enough.) With that said, I was looking for interesting toys that allowed for a constructivist learning approach.  That is, the child determines the level of difficulty.  Play is intuitive.  You shouldn't need directions.  Either way, there were some cool things around....

Why is it important in life to make a banana piano?  Well, obviously, you've never played a banana piano.  I have, courtesy of Makey Makey. And yes, it's quite important. Everyone should make their own fruit piano. I think vegetables and maybe even a cheeseburger piano might be okay too.  You will have to make it to find out.

Vex Robotics was a big hit at Maker Faire.  I'm glad to see them here!
I see these hexbug robots all the time at the Maker Faire.  They have all been "operated on" somehow, like the Bionic Man. They look really fun, don't they? So colorful! 
We don't have this but we do have a robot that reads black lines and I am sorry to say that my home is covered in black lines.  This is a smaller robot which probably means that my home would be covered in thinner black lines.  Ozobot.

Eric Schweikardt, CEO of Modular Robotics., maker of Cubelets shows his the latest creation.  He also talks about barriers to learning about robots.
A cube for every action/behavior.  How easy can it be?   Can't believe my brother and I played with Atari and now look what we have to offer our children by Modular Robotics.
Yeah, it shoots... so don't tell my kid about this one. Shogun Tank by Modular Robotics

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Disclosure:  Toys are Tools was not compensated by the manufacturer for the publication of this review.  The reviewed items were provided to Toys are Tools to facilitate a review.  Reviews are never promised. 


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