This post was sponsored by Duracell as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
I love sharing STEAM activities with my kids. Exploring science, art and math with them through play exposes them to a vital skill set for the future, while also opening up their imagination to a infinite world of possibilities. However, coming up with hands-on interaction with technology and computer engineering ideas for kids can be difficult – short of just handing them an iPad. COJI, the coding robot, changed all of that…
Computer Engineering Ideas for Kids
A decade after college, the single biggest area I wish I had learned more about is computer science, engineering and coding. In today’s ever evolving, tech driven world, it is an industry that is continually growing by leaps and bounds, a trend likely to continue over our children’s lifetimes.
STEAM disciplines – science, technology, engineering, art and math – are the fields our kids are exposed to in school that equip them with the skill set, not to mention igniting the passion, to compete and create in our modern world. My girls love ‘playing scientist’ and experimenting with nature, as much as they enjoy exploring art history and different creative mediums. Modern engineering ideas for kids, beyond construction and building with blocks, are a little tougher to come by. And while our kids likely interact and play with technology everyday, do they really understand how it works?
Intro to Coding with COJI
Coding is the essential building block behind so much of our world today. Computers, websites, smart phones – they are all built with code. Children can begin to develop the foundation to understand coding as early as toddlers. Recognizing patterns, playing with puzzles, and even following a series of instructions, all lay the groundwork for understanding how coding works.
Wowwee, the makers of CHiP, the robotic dog, have now created COJI, the coding robot. Both CHiP and COJI come fully assembled – all you need to add are Duracell batteries to COJI and CHiP’s smart ball. Then, download the CHiP or COJI app to your iPad or Android device.
Both CHiP and COJI use bluetooth technology to work with apps on your iPad or Android device. From the iPad, your child can learn to control COJI by sending him commands. COJI responds to both directional commands – left, right, forward, spin – as well as fun emoji commands, which my 3 year old thoroughly enjoyed.
The COJI app also includes a series of games and activities to challenge your child’s critical thinking and reinforce skillsets, like patterning, mazes, and memory, that they can then build on to code.
Engineering Ideas for Kids with COJI
While you can just control COJI from your iPad as you would drive a remote control car, that is not nearly as exciting as learning to give COJI a string of commands to execute. The app will guide your child through building macros and sequences – a series of commands or particular order of commands – for COJI to follow.
The app has COJI drive through mazes on the screen, which the robot will also do on the ground. Have your child construct mazes with blocks on the floor. They can replicate those on the screen, or create their own. Then, challenge them to command COJI through the maze. How many directions can they string together correctly?
Power Your Child’s Imagination
When we buy gifts for the kids, I try to buy toys that inspire learning and imagination through play. (It’s an old habit I get from my mother, a lifelong early childhood educator). CHiP, the robotic dog, and COJI, the coding robot, are perfect examples of these. My girls are ecstatic to play with them, all while learning about technology and the power of imagination.
You can find CHiP, COJI and Duracell batteries, the #1 Trusted brand by parents, necessary to power them all and your child’s imagination, at Toys ‘R Us. Make it your one stop shop for gifts, for all occasions, and don’t forget the batteries (and back-ups for when they run out)!
Is your child ready to code? You can help them get started with this simple patterning activity for Fall, or these 5 STEAM activities featuring bubble gum! You can find all of these, and more AWESOME engineering ideas for kids on my STEM for Kids – Engineering board on Pinterest.
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