We had lots of questions which needed answering when we bought the Wonder Workshop Dash and Dot Robot Pack. The best way to find out was to actually buy it and try it with the kids. These were some of the questions we had in our minds as we opened the pack. Everybody loves a robot and kids are no exception. Start telling a robot what to do and you are taking the first step to learning coding so that is a good start.
Could there be a toy that would blend the whole new world with robotics, inspire kids and get them to be creative and have a lot of fun while doing so? Could it actually teach them to make a start with software programming and coding as all the hype suggests?
What the Dash and Dot robot pack revew contains.
Table of Contents
We wanted to look at the c0ntents and see how it all works as well as giving an honest review.
The robots are fully assembled and ready to play but you have to make sure that you have one of the supported devices such as a tablet, iPad 3+, Mini, Air or Android tablet. You can easily link up the Dash robot through Bluetooth. You have to make sure that the link is established and also that it is fully charged. There is a micro USB port on the side for all this. Once the connection is established, both robots will light up and say ‘Hi’ which gets the kids really excited.
The Dash robot is the bigger of the two toys and it is the one that does most of the action. This is the real robot. It has distance sensors, 3 microphones, a speaker and various lights on its body plus a few taillights when things get risky. Basically, it can detect objects as obstacles, can also hear sounds and also is aware that you are moving some objects. In practise, this means that the child can use it for all sorts of things like delivering a message to a friend, play the xylophone (you need to get the Xylo app) or get round an obstacle course. Thankfully, it does not have a gender identity!
The Dot one is just one small sphere and its actions are pretty limited. It cannot move but it can make noises and has a few glowing lights and its main purpose seems to be to distract another younger child. But it also can be used to guard a child’s room. For example, Dot can make a noise and light up when the kid’s door is opened. Dot will also start to yawn when you ignore it for too long!
The Dash and Dot robot pack accessories.
A few fun items are included like bunny ears and a bulldozer to push objects out of the robot’s path. The best one of all is the cellphone mount which you attach to Dash and get him to start making his own videos as he goes round the obstacle course or the house. We also liked the building brick connector which allows the kids to add Lego bricks and also they program the robots to hold various things such as pencils, etc.
There are 4 apps so that your kids can start to learn how to control the robots. The Go app lets Dash do some simple actions and they can also be programmed to make animal noises.
The Path app lets the kids design an obstacle course for Dash to complete with various sound effects and changing colors too.
The Blockly app starts the actual programming.
This is a visual coding app. Obviously this is for older kids but they start with the programming basics and they can do a whole lot of commands by dragging and dropping a whole series of blocks from the categories on the left hand side of the screen. This is where the kids start to experiment with putting a whole chain of events into action. They are beginning to get the concepts of conditions, loops and events. Dash can be programmed to look in various directions, navigate an obstacle and also repeat an action with a time element built in before the next move and so on.
There were other questions we wondered about too. How would we get the kids’ interest when in the school setting, learning about programming and math is an uphill task? You just need toys which will teach kids practical hands-on experiences which will be much more effective than teaching them fairly abstract concepts. Watch the video below to see this great toy in action, just in case you have any doubts.
The pros of Dash and Dot Robot Pack
- Kids got excited and wanted to play with it again and again
- They learn the basics of problem solving, computer programming and coding
- Unlimited uses which sparks creativity. Lots of fun ideas and activities are included but there is no limit.
- Kids are put first in learning 21st century skills
- Ideal toy because it is also a learning device
- Kids can also start to program Dash to react to Dot and vice versa.
- The latest app update allows kids to record their own voice on Dash – they love that!
The cons of Dash and Dot Robot Pack
- There could be more apps with lots more content
- There is a limited range of vocabulary and speech function
- Kids who already code (Lightbot and Scratch) may not find these robots challenging enough for the over 8s
- More games needed for the under 8s
Overall Dash and Dot Robot pack review recommendations
Overall, we found that these toys were a wonderful way of teaching code to kids and were a lot more engaging than lots of other similar toys on the market. We also liked the way it gets kids into problem solving at an early age and how it gets kids into programming and code. We all had a lot of fun with the pack as well, adults and kids! That is why we gave it an overall rating of 4/5 and highly recommend it.