Sphero Bolt

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) 
is thought of as being pivotal to the future of Australia’s productivity. 
It’s also a really fun way to learn. 

The Sphero BOLT robot ball can be programmed using the Sphero Edu App and uses Bluetooth to connect to your device. You can choose to code the speed it travels, the direction, light colour, sounds and rotations. There is also a drive mode which is lots of fun.

It comes with very few 'in-the-box' instructions and is very intuitive. The website and online community has everything you need to know. Some homework prep is required if this is your first coding toy. As your knowledge grows, you discover more features on the app. 

The 8x8 LED matrix means you can make it light up any colour. It can also display data in real time (still working out what that means) and it has advanced sensors to track speed, acceleration and direction. 

KIDtested:

Charlotte is in Kindergarten and will turn six in a number of weeks. It is fair to say that coding is slightly advanced for her age. However, I know that coding will be on the curriculum down the track and getting a head start is never a bad thing. Charlotte could read and move blocks across the screen. That’s really all you really need to start playing and learning with this robot. She was very keen to try it out. 

After a quick tutorial on the fly, Charlotte learned about cause and effect and how to group the blocks. First we selected a few steps from the category menu, linked them in a chain on the screen and pressed play. You can even make your device "speak". The robot ball is visually beautiful. Being able to see the computer inside is fascinating.

The colours change which is cool and it makes sounds such as farmyard animals or an amusement park. This is a great toy for little kids (and grown up ones too)! It is waterproof and very durable. 

The learning opportunities are endless and it can help develop critical thinking. Charlotte and I set ourselves the goal of learning how to program BOLT to follow a maze without crashing into any walls.

There is a simple drive and play mode. Charlotte discovered that by increasing the speed, it could mount our rug. There is two hours of play when the ball is fully charged. 

It is an expensive piece of kit ($249.99 RRP, but currently on sale) and you need to also have a phone or tablet to control the robot via a free app and a wifi connection. 

Parents, be comforted that your child is building knowledge and learning valuable skills which will be encountered at school at some stage. 

Watch the professional video showing more capabilities here or see Charlotte learning below!