When I was contacted by Wonder Workshop last month to test Dash and Dot (robots that help kids learn to code) I was skeptical at first. Once my kids started using them I could see the potential hidden beneath their cute appearance.
At first glance, these two little robots look like nothing more than expensive toys but after my kids started to explore the many features and functions I was astonished with the potential hidden under the child-like façade.
We were sent the Wonder Pack which includes both robots and a number of accessories. It arrive just in time to put under the Christmas tree as a “bonus” present.
So far, my kids have been exploring all the things they can do with Dash and Dot. My 11-year old son was excited to learn that he could make the robots respond to sounds and each other. The simple apps that accompany the robots are easy to use and understand by all of my kids.
For now, I’ve been happy to let them explore the apps and see what they can make them do. We’ve had the most trouble with the Xylo app as it tends to crash on my iPad Mini. Additionally, since only one app (Go) can be used on my iPhone, it means having to set a timer so each of my kids gets a turn.
Go and Path get used the most by the younger kids since they’re the simplest to use and get immediate results like changing the color of the LEDs and making funny sounds. Blockly keeps the older kids engaged and provides them with a challenge trying to get Dash and Dot to perform certain tasks or respond to certain situations.
For now, the apps are only available on iTunes and Android. I’m not sure if there are plans to release Windows Phone versions. One thing I think would be very helpful would be to have a desktop app for programming the robots. Since they charge off a USB port it would also be nice to be able to utilize the connection to program them too.
I need to follow up with Wonder Workshop to get some suggestions for resolving the stability problems with the Xylo app and to see if there are any future plans for Windows Phone or desktop apps.
Look for a follow-up review in about a month. I’m looking forward to seeing what my kids can do with these wonderful characters.
If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to teach your kids the basics of coding checkout Wonder Workshop’s Dash and Dot.
For more information about Dash and Dot and to see if they’re right for your family check out the Wonder Workshop website.