As kids get older, it can be more of a challenge to find things to keep them mentally active. If it was up to them, their eyes would be glued to a phone, tablet, television screen all summer. You might be thinking, “Yeah, like I’m going to let that happen…” If so, good for you. But what now? There’s this little light up ball that might help called Sphero.
Product received for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Sphero Robotic Ball – More Than A Toy
Sphero is “the world’s first robotic ball that kids age 8+ can control from their smartphone or tablet”. Okay, okay, I know that’s not the most interesting description of this tech gadget but it will intrigue your tween/teen. My daughter couldn’t wait to try it out and, boy, did she go at it once we popped open that box.
There are a ton of free Sphero apps available for download on your iOS or Android devices. Using these, Munchkin was able to figure out for herself how to change the colors, how to move Sphero by means of a virtual joystick or by tilting her iPad Mini, and how to do a couple ‘tricks’. She’s still trying to figure out what she can do with Sphero in terms of playing games and teasing Speckles. Well, Speckles actually kind of likes it when Sphero goes crazy and she can chase it around. Speckles does not like it chasing her though…
Don’t Forget the Nubby!
The blue cover you see on the Sphero in some of the photos is called a Nubby cover. The flexible silicon cover protects it from scratches, gives more traction for driving over obstacles, and makes it float. It does seem to slow the Sphero down a bit but it still rolled fine across our wall-to-wall carpet home. Plus, it’s a bit more Speckles-proof with the Nubby on.
Sphero seems sturdy but it is still a tech device and I would not suggest throwing or bouncing it. It is, however, waterproof. It comes with a charging cradle and two plastic ramps. The amount of ‘play’ your kids will get out of it is dependent on them and their desire to try new things. They also have to be patient in trying the different apps. My daughter was so excited to use the pet app, thinking she could control the Sphero like a little pet. Turns out it just shows pet-related backgrounds so you can see the Sphero, for example, in a dog food bowl. Huh? What for? That was her reaction too.
With summer ahead and oodles of apps to try out, hopefully we’ll find something she likes. And, without her knowing it, she will be getting an intro in programming with apps like MacroLab and OrbBasic. I’m even kind of excited to take Sphero out to the pool and roll it across the water with the Nubby cover on.
Your Turn to ‘Go Sphero’
Sphero is definitely a unique item. It might be a great addition to your summer boredom kit for your kids to have fun and learn at the same time. You can find out more and see a video demo at gosphero.com. You can also get ideas and tips on their Facebook page or on Twitter at @gosphero. You might also find a tempting deal or two 🙂