Now that school is (finally!) back in session, you might be looking for fun ways to keep the kids stimulated and learning but still having fun while at home. We like board games and hiking as much as anybody, but sometimes a little hands-on building and creating goes a long way towards getting your child(ren) interested in something new, or perhaps just learning a little more about their favorite activities and what makes them “go”.
If your kids like computers, video games, robots, or construction, Botzees might be the tech for you. This smart toy brings together virtual and hands on play in a way that is both fun and educational. Kids will enjoy playing, and won’t feel like they are having more “ugh, learning” heaped on them. Botzees, the newest toy from Pai Technology, is a new robotics kit that is meant for kids ages 4 and up. This is a great way to sit with your kids and learn together- I have to admit this is an area my son is far and away better then I typically. It’s fun to learn together, and he loves when he can show me things. With this kit, you and your kid(s) can build, program, and code. There are six pre-designed robots, or you can go all out and create your own.
Once you build your Botzee, it can “be taught to move, drum, dance, make sounds and light up using the free Botzees app. Additionally, the 30 interactive Augmented Reality puzzles will teach even more coding concepts with visual cues.” (as per Pai Technology) It is available for $100 at https://www.pai.technology/botzees and Amazon.
If you have a child that is into video gaming, there is a new construction toy available that enhances gameplay. Nintendo recently released Nintendo Labo, which is one part game and one part construction toy. According to Nintendo, they “designed Labo as a way to teach principles of engineering, physics, and basic programming”. You and your child build the kit out of sheets of pre-cut cardboard (thick stuff, not the weak stuff that instantly falls apart on you) and other parts. These you then use with your Nintendo Switch and it’s joy cons, and the creation is what Nintendo is calling a “Toy Con”. You use your “toy con” to interact with software and games. With the basic Starter Kit, you can build VR Goggles and a Labo Blaster to take on aliens (not my favorite aspect, honestly). The Blaster Labo Toy-Con can be played with either one or two players. Everything is in VR. Starter set is $39.99 at https://labo.nintendo.com/kits/
If you are looking for a fun and non-violent game to play with the kids, check out Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn. Rated “E” for everyone, it’s the latest in the Kirby series. In this game, Kirby was banished by a baddie into a world where he is made of yarn. While that may seem like a problem, the plus side is that Kirby can transform himself into all sorts of awesome like tanks, UFOs, a dolphin, and more. He gets “power ups” that give him advantages like getting a sword or becoming a tornado. Of course, he still has his classic copying abilities. Collect treasure as you move along the game, and show them off with the “Street Pass” feature, or switch out of story mode into “Devilish Mode” to try to earn even more. There are also two minigames that feature Meta Knight and King Dedede. Available for $39.99 at https://www.nintendo.com