Amazon STEM Toys Selection

Dash and Dot - Robots that Teach Programming


Dash and Dot Robots with Christmas decor

Learn to code is becoming more and more essential and integral part of education curriculum and STEM movement worldwide. Dash and Dot are robot toys created for kids of age group five and above with aim to teach programming concepts to young kids in a fun and creative way. Dash and Dot were earlier named Bo and Yana, over period of time their names have been changed to Dash and Dot to represent binary 1 and 0 to align with their mission of building programming platform for kids around these toys.

As per the makers of Dash and Dot toys, Wonder Workshop, they wanted to build something that is not only educational by teaching kids programming concepts but also wanted helps kids do it in creative and simple way without going through fixed instruction set that generally comes with every toy on how to play. Dash and Dot are design to promote curiosity of kids and explore number of different ways to play with these lively robotic toys. The best part is that these toys can grow with your kids in their game play.

  • Children of age group 5 years to 7 years can drive it around with apps or dress it up and use lights and sound effects to transform these robots.
  • Children between age group 8 years to 12 years can build on coding concepts with Blockly app and work on weekly design challenges, solve mazes with robots, play robo soccer, or use it along with LEGO bricks to design something entirely new.
  • Older kids of age 12 years and above can get into complex robotics and programming concepts by using Open APIs and build custom apps.

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Dash and Dot - Smart Robots with lots of abilities

Dash Bulldoze Accessory
Dash and Dot are robots that can be programmed over Bluetooth using touch devices like tablets, iPads, or Android/iPhone/iPod devices. Both these robots comes with sensors and unique ability to be controlled using a touch device to do host of activities. While Dash and Dot offers a programming platform that can make robots do anything imaginable, it also comes with fun apps for younger kids to have hours of fun driving them around, or dressing and inviting them to a tea party with light and sound show. Older kids on the other hand can use Google’s Blockly language and Open APIs of these robots for doing complicated activities such as running around maze or a delivery robot.

Dash is three-wheeled motorized robot with lot of movements for driving around, a rotating head in four directions, sensors to ‘see’ objects in front and behind, and sensors to be able to receive signals from other robots.

Dot is a more like a younger sibling of Dash, it has limited ability in terms of movements, but paired with Dash it comes alive. It responds to how it is moved, and transforms with built in lights and sounds.

Both Dash and Dot comes with built-in microphones and speakers to respond to sounds, and host of LEDs for various light effects. Dash again has additional colored LEDs that act as ears and tails. Both have lively white LED eyes that appeal to kids as more than just a programming platform, but as a lovely toy too.

You can also add lot of accessories to Dash and Dot such as Smartphone mount to take pictures and videos while driving Dash around, a bulldozer bar, bunny ears, tow hook, Xylophone for music play, or bricks extension to make Dash and Dot into anything you like. You can also use LEGO bricks lying around in your home to give a makeover to Dash and Dot.

Dash and Dot - robots that will teach programming to your kids

Dash running through maze
Both Dash and Dot comes with 4 apps that can be downloaded for free from Android Play Store or iOS App Store. It caters to need of kids in different age group and game play can grow as your child grows. The toy also comes with free subscription to weekly challenges and monthly Wonder magazine for new and creative play ideas.

Google’s Blockly programming language is easy to use on touch devices with its drag and drop interface and use of “blocks” as instructions. It comes with simple commands such as loops, events driven programming, and movements to understand basic concepts and to build more complex logic as kids grow with it.

  • Go app connects to robots over Bluetooth and gets robots running in no time.
  • Path app is mainly for Dash, aimed at teaching sequencing and event based programming concepts, kids can draw path that Dash will take.
  • Blockly app is used to program Dash and Dot in easy to use visual programming touch app for conditional loops, and events driven programming concepts.
  • Xylo app allows composing songs and music that Dash can play while also moving around (requires Xylophone accessory).

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Dash and Dot - Dash or Dot - which one to buy?

Dash and Dot comes in lot of variants clubbed with different accessories such as Wonder Pack, Music Pack, Builder Pack and so on. All the accessories can also be purchased separately. The most popular variants are (in increasing order or their prices):

Dash playing Xylophone

While it is always tempting to go for complete pack that comes with all accessories allowing your kids to explore every possibilities offered by these toys, Dash alone would be a good place to start. Majority of game play and programming elements are built in Dash, while Dot sits in a corner. As and when your kids start to engage more and more, you can always buy additional accessories. If you want Dot as well, you should go for Dash and Dot Builder Pack.

Technical Stuff

Both Dash and Dot supports devices that are iOS 7.1 or newer for iPad devices and iOS 8.1+ for iPhone/iPod touch devices or Android 4.4+ devices. For complete list of compatible models, please visit here.

Dash has up to 5 hours of playtime while younger sibling Dot has just 3 hours. Both run on Lithium Ion batteries with easy to charge micro USB cable. It has Bluetooth connectivity to connect with devices for apps control.

Conclusion

Dash and Dot are definitely not the cheapest toys in the market that help your kids build on programming concepts, but they are definitely one of the coolest toys and with a growing community. You also get weekly and monthly challenges that can give you new ideas to play with them. Dash and Dot are also increasingly being used in schools. Dash and Dot are great toys and a worthy buy for your kids with educational value, it also makes an excellent gift for a special occasions.

If you are looking for robot with more advanced features and aimed at grown-ups for fun and play with educational value, check out our review of Sphero 2.0 and Ollie robots.

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STEM is acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in education. There is a growing need to integrate all these subjects so that students can better understand real-world application of these subjects. Learning through experience creates a lasting effect and produces better result. STEM toys and activities encourages kids to develop STEM skills in fun and creative way. Today you have a lot more options to choose from than ever before. Our mission is to help you find the right resources for yours kids so that you can play the most important role in the foundation of STEM's future, that of a parent.

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