Sphero Mini Impressions
A few weeks ago, my wife was coming off one of her shifts at Best Buy Canada and gave me a quick call on the phone. “You think the kids would like a programmable robot?” A few minutes later, I was unboxing the Sphero Mini, charging the device, and linking up various devices in our home to act as controllers for the robot.
First and foremost, the sheer number of devices that have both the Sphero Play app and the Sphero Edu app is impressive. I was able to put it on my Google Pixel 5, my wife’s iPhone XS, and our kids Amazon Kids tablets. And the app works flawlessly on all of them. The Play app allows the kids to control the robot and play a number of games, like golf, bowling, and more. You can simply control the robot and move it around, or turn the ball into a slingshot, shooting it around the room.
The Edu app allows kids to pre-program the robot to do certain things. While my 7 and 11 year olds were able to come up with some pretty interesting programs thanks to a drag and drop programing system, one of the more interesting features was them programing the robot to move back and forth for long periods of time at a variety of speeds and intervals. They would then sit across from each other with a ping-pong ball, and roll it across the robots path in an attempt to not hit the robot as it moved. For being so new to STEM products, I was pretty impressed.
And that’s ultimately what makes the Sphero products so appealing. While loads to fun to play, they also have a strong STEM educational benefit that few other products in our home have provided. And while the robot might not be the most popular toy in the Roffel household, watching my kids take it out a few times per week to see what they can program is really neat, and will likely feature heavily in personal projects for my oldest son when school starts up again.
If you have young kids and want to have something that is fun to play, and educational, the Sphero Mini is a great way to start!