I am a Sphero Blog Ambassador. This post is part of a sponsored campaign. I received compensation for my participation, but my review and opinions are my own.
Kora & Logan are now officially on summer vacation. They are so happy! They’ve been counting down to summer for the last couple of weeks and now that school is done they can’t wait to enjoy all summer has to offer. As parents we all know that summer vacation is wonderful for kids to experience long, lazy days but there is also the fear of the dreaded Summer Brain Drain. We’ve been hearing a lot of about this in the past couple of years and I’ve been keeping my eye out for fun ways to fight Summer Brain Drain. That’s why I was excited to be offered the opportunity to work with and review Sphero, the world’s first app driven robotic ball.
When I heard that it can be used as a seamless tool to introduce kids to STEM (Science, Techology, Math, & Engineering), the basics of programming, and encouraging creativity and imagination, I was hooked. As a mom, I love to find games, toys, and apps for the kids that are educationally based and tons of fun. It’s wonderful when the kids get so excited about what they are doing that the learning soaks right in. Once I started reading about Sphero I was thrilled to learn this was exactly what it was designed for.
When it arrived, Kora & Logan couldn’t wait to play with it.
Here are just some of the things you can do with Sphero:
- Control it with your smartphone or tablet
- Drive it around the house through homemade obstacle courses
- Build custom race courses
- Play tabletop and multiplayer games
- Learn basic programming
- Play augmented reality games
- Hold it in your hand and use it as a controller for on-screen gameplay
- Choose from over 30 free apps
Here are some of the amazing things Sphero can do:
- Pair to your device via Bluetooth
- Drive in any direction
- Turn on a dime
- Flip in the air
- Drive up and over the ramps provided in the packaging
- Change colors
- Roll a speedy 7 feet per second
- Turn your living room into a video game with augmented reality
Kora and Logan were thrilled when we opened Sphero and got it charged. The first thing they did was open up the main Sphero app to learn how to drive it and control it.
Then they had a blast using the app to complete missions and level up Sphero’s speed, colors, core, reactor, and boost times. I was interested to read that with this app the more you play with Sphero the better it gets. You can even use it to personalize your Sphero with dynamic skins, as well as create challenging courses, race against friends and family, or turn out the lights for night racing.
The kids have just started building intricate obstacle courses to challenge each other and Dave and I to drive through. I love how this encourages them to use their imaginations.
While they could play this app all day every day, they were thrilled to learn and play with some of the other apps. Here’s a look at them telling you about their favorite apps, why they like them, and a brief demo of each:
Aren’t those fun?
We also love that with it’s high impact polycarbonate shell it is unbreakable, pet proof, and it can even swim! Here’s a video overview showing everything it can do including maneuvering through impressive obstacle course (with fire rings!) and travel in water.
So much fun!
I do want to share one Sphero app that caught my attention in particular, Macro Lab.
With this app kids can create easy, repeatable programs and macros for Sphero. In the app you arrange simple commands and settings in any combination you choose and Sphero will follow the directions. You can have him drive on its own, follow unique patterns, and more. You can play you favorite macros and programs, save them, or even share them with friends. I love this app because it makes learning basic programming easy and fun for kids.
Here are Kora & Logan demonstrating how it works:
Isn’t that great?!
I was also interested to learn that Orbotix, the company behind Sphero, has launched their first program focused on education, SPRK. It stands for Schools, Parents, Robots, Kids and is pronounced “spark.” They believe play is a powerful teacher and their goal with this program is to inspire and teach tomorrow’s inventors and innovators.
Through the SPRK program, Orbotix has worked with over 50 schools and many more teachers to bring Sphero to the classroom. They’ve also donated over $50,000 worth of Spheros and resources to support those teachers. I was inspired by this quote from their website:
“In ten years, if a child points back to Sphero as their inspiration to becoming an engineer, we’ve done our job. You can’t put a price on that.” – Adam Wilson, Orbotix co-founder
How amazing is that?
As you can see there is so much kids can do with Sphero the possibilities really are endless and left up to their imagination. I recommend Sphero to anyone looking for great ways to fight Summer Brain Drain and to help their kids learn through play. Sphero a fantastic and fun app controlled robotic ball that I’m looking forward to playing along with the kids and long after they’ve gone to bed.