Last Updated on July 19, 2023 by Sarah McCubbin
Are you trying to find quality options for robotics for kids? If you have a budding engineer in your home, the Robotics Workshop for Kids “Robby Robot” is an excellent entry-level project to create curiosity and learning. As a non-techy mom, I know what it’s like to struggle to find quality resources for your child. That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about Robby.
(I did receive this product in exchange for a review. The opinions in this review are my own.)
When my oldest son was 2, he was enamored with computers. When the second one came along, he wanted to take everything apart and create all kinds of experiments almost as soon as he could talk. Today the first son is studying Computer Networking and the second son is planning to start his Engineering degree in the fall of 2023.
As I look back at what we did RIGHT to get our curious toddlers all the way to adulthood, I can see one clear pattern….always investing in and supporting their interests!
That is why I’m excited about Robby the Robot…especially if you have a child who is a budding engineer. This series of classes will excite your child who loves either computers or projects because it is a really great combination of both.
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The Problem With Most Science Kits
The problem with most science kits on the market is that they lack any direct instruction. Kids have a manual to read or maybe a video to watch, but there is no direct instructor to help your child understand when they hit a roadblock in the project.
We all know what it’s like to need tech support when we have a computer problem….or a home appliance break…but the learning kits our kids use don’t usually offer THEM personal support. In order for kids to be excited about their ability to solve problems…they need actually to be able to solve problems…and not have half-finished projects that get thrown away when parents don’t know how to help.
What Does Robby the Robot Kit & Class Include?
The Robby the Robot Kit includes the materials to build your robot AND 3 LIVE Classes by an engineer where the instructor walks your student through the concepts around their robot.
Class 1 – Introduction to Robot Building
In this first Robotics for Kids class, students go behind the scenes to learn how robots work. They will learn about the main components needed to build a robot, understand what each component does and why they are needed, how they work, and how to connect them. An instructor will guide students when they start building the robot using the parts provided in the kit. Students will assemble most parts of the robot and power the robot to ensure all components are connected properly. Students and parents will be instructed to download the Arduino IDE, a programming application on their computer (Windows or Mac) in preparation for the next class.
Class 2 – Programming the Robot
In the second Robby Robot class, students will start the Arduino IDE (the programming console/application that is installed on their computer). An instructor will teach students how to open a specific code file in the Arduino IDE application. The instructor will also provide a tour of the Arduino IDE applications so that students understand how to configure specific parameters and set up the robot to program it.
Students will upload the calibration program into the robot’s memory and finish attaching the arms and head. Students will then upload the basic program /code which will bring the robot to life. Students will immediately see the robot start moving his arms and head. Students will learn how the code works to control different parts of the robot. They will start learning more about coding as they make minor changes to the code to make the robot to different things.
Class 3- Programming the Robot to Drum
In the third Robotics for Kids class, students will attach a 3-color (Red, Yellow, Green) LED and wire it to the existing robot. They will then use the Arduino IDE on their computer to upload a new code that will make the robot perform certain movements based on a specific color of light. Students will also learn how the code works. They will then attach the drumsticks to the robot and upload a new code that will make the robot play the drum. An instructor will teach students how the code works and how to make changes to the code to make the robot play different drum beat patterns.
At the end of the third class, students will have built a fully functional robot that plays the drum and would have worked with 4 different sets of code files. Students get to keep the robot and the code files for future reference. Students are encouraged to use the code files that are provided and make small changes to make the robot do different things as they continue to learn more about coding.
Right now the kit and robot are priced at $139. The difference between this and a $75 kit from Amazon is the LIVE instruction by a trained engineer.
I’m a mom. My degree was in English. I have a very limited understanding of engineering concepts. I can snap together some LEGOs, but don’t ask me to explain how to code and program a robot.
So, it was wonderful for my 12-year-old son who loves science to sit through a class with an instructor and a small class of students while he explained step by step what to do. Honestly…other than helping find a few parts and managing a file upload or 2, my son did everything himself.
Who Is Robby the Drummer Robot For?
According to the Robotics for Kids website, the kit and class are designed for ages 6 to 17.
These classes are perfect for both homeschooled kids and kids who go to school. They are ideal for someone who is ready to go deeper than the traditional curriculum allows and who LOVES science. It could also be great if a parent wants to spark a love of learning and they are going to do the class with the child.
As a mom, I would add a couple of disclaimers to the 6 to 17 age recommendation. I think that is a really wide age range!! And as a person that has had many frustrating buying experiences, I have modified recommendations.
So here are my MOM RECOMMENDATIONS:
Ages 6-12 – Parental Help is Advised. Each child has unique abilities, but because this is a LIVE class, if they miss something, there is no recording for them to go back and watch it again. In addition, there are some VERY small parts (screws the size of eyeglass screws) and you cannot buy replacements easily…so if they lose them, it is a problem!
Also, there is limited computer work needed for this robot. I don’t allow my elementary kids to download files….they have messed up my computer in the past…so I would advise parents to do this step too. Basically, parents should be available and expect to help as needed. I would expect to help a 6-year-old a lot with very little or possibly no help needed by age 12.
Ages 13+ – Independent
As a young teen, your student should be able to manage the entire process themself.
FREE Class Available for Interested Families
If you are curious about this robotics class for your child but aren’t sure about the investment, I would highly recommend one of the FREE Robotics for Kids workshops. During these workshops, you and your child can experience firsthand what a LIVE class is like. They can ask questions and learn from someone who loves science as much as they do! And your job as a parent is simply to help them show up…its no work for you!
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